Jazz as a Part of Modern Lifestyle – Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland
“Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There's not some trick involved with it. It's pure, and it's real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.” - Tom Petty
There is a truth behind Petty’s words. Music is magical. If you read our blogs, you probably know that we already visited Montreux. Well, the music is what drove us back here once again. To be precise, The Montreux Jazz Festival is what brings us back in this picturesque town on the Lake Geneva.
There is something about this city that seems to be enchanting to musicians. If you take a walk alongside the water, you will come across the statue of Freddie Mercury. This genius lived in Montreux for several years while recording “Made in Heaven,” his last album with the group Queen in the Mountain Studio, which used to be at the Montreux Casino.
Also, you must have heard of “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple – another song related to Montreux.
So, what is so special about this place and why is music so significant to it? Let’s dive into “all that jazz” and find out.
Why is Montreux Jazz so great?
The Montreux Jazz Festival is the second largest annual jazz festival in the world after Canada's Montreal International Jazz Festival. It is held every July on the Lake Geneva shoreline. This celebration of music started back in 1967. At first, the focus was strictly on jazz, but in the 1970s, the festival began broadening its scope, including blues, soul, and rock artists. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Deep Purple, Santana, Van Morrison, B.B. King, and Etta James are just some of the names that played on Montreux Jazz stages.
Apart for the vibrant and colorful program, featuring some of the most popular artists today, such as Cigarettes After Sex, Dua Lipa, London Grammar, John Newman and many others, Montreux Jazz presented a new, 150 meters long terrace constructed on the water.
Great part of the festival are free concerts that happen in the park, and anyone can come to listen, which is excellent as you can explore new artists and genres and it is fun for the whole city.
It is not all about the music
Even though the majority of people come to the festival to listen to the music that is not the whole story. When the festival happens, the entire town turns into the jazzy global village. Here, you can meet people from all around the world.
For starters, there are numerous little stands selling everything you can imagine, from jewelry, clothes, and toys to musical instruments. At the same time, you can find an artists who practice face painting, spray painting or play instruments whose name you cannot even pronounce, right there on the spot in front of you, where you can witness their talent.
Also, numerous food stands with national cuisine from various countries are there to make sure everyone is well fed. Our girls love Thai food the most, so that is what we usually eat.
There is one thing you should be aware of, Switzerland gets really hot during the summer, and since Montreux Jazz happens in July, you can count on the hot weather. On the other hand, you will notice after a short time that people here usually don’t have air conditioning, so you will have to come up with a way to make the day bearable for yourself.
Our recommendation for you is to visit festival’s activities during the day, such as piano competitions, workshops, lectures and so on. You can enjoy good music, learn something new, have fun and save yourself from the heat.
How to visit Montreux Jazz with kids?
It is possible to bring your kids to the festival and still have fun, believe us. There are many things children can do. Our girls especially loved kids’ disco club and karaoke. Also, the festival offers free daycare for children under nine years, where you can leave your kids for four hours and have fun on your own, while they enjoy their playtime play or sleep. This daycare service works until early morning hours which means you can have a night out without worrying.
However, if you don’t like leaving your kids in daycares, avoiding evenings and weekends might be the best idea. During this time the place gets seriously crowded, so having your kids with you and watching that something bad doesn’t happen, can be tricky. It is manageable, but it is not the easiest thing in the world.
If you would like to see what does the festival look like, you should watch the Montreux Jazz video on our YouTube channel. Also, some fantastic photos are waiting for you on our Instagram page. Follow us, hit subscribe, like and share and listen to some beautiful jazz music today.