• Isabel

Why the Montreux Jazz Festival isn't just an event but a lifestyle!

Updated: Jul 12

Claude Nobs, that's a name anyone talking about Switzerland should know!


Claude Nobs is the Visionary, Creator and Founder of the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival!


In 2016, it was the 50th Festival. For this anniversary they took all the posters of the previous years and put them together as the festivals' poster

This man made magic happen in Switzerland! He is one of the main reasons if not, THE reason why Artists come to Montreux. To emphazise how much he means to the Swiss and its cultural development, a whole street is named after him "Avenue Claude Nobs"


With his passion and love for music he wanted to make a Festival where all the big artists can enjoy the beauties of Switzerland and share their love for music not only with each other but the people in Europe / Switzerland.


There are a few stories of how Claude Nobs started this festival. The story I was told, made Claude Nobs one of my personal business idols, so this is the one I will believe and share (please do, correct me if I'm wrong, I wish to keep the truth alive.)


From Switzerland, he flew over to the biggest record label company at the time, to the US with no appointment.

He walked to the reception and asked to speak to the director of the company.

The receptionist laughed at him and asked him to leave.

Not taking no for an answer, he walked into the staircase of the building and bumped into, as luck wanted it, the director of the record label company.

He simply said, hi I'm from Switzerland and am organizing a new Jazz Festival and would like some of your artists to come perform over there.

With luck on his side once again, the director had a bond to Switzerland, invited Claude to chat and the rest is history!


What's the Montreux Jazz Festival? in a nutshell:


First of all, to the surprise to most people who hear the name "Montreux Jazz Festival" it has very little to do with Jazz! Don't be fooled by a name ;) Every style of music is performed at this festival! Whoever your favourite band or singer is, I can guarantee they have performed here!

Created in 1967.


Happens every year first two weeks of July (started off with a few days, then a week and now two weeks of festival madness!)


The festival happens at day and night!


Its initial location was at the Montreux Casino, but after it got burned down in 1971, during the festival, they relocated it to just a few hundred meters further down the lake side of Montreux, where the famous Stravinsky Hall stands today. (The Casino is rebuilt, and from the burning down the famous song "smoke on the water" was created from the band Deep Purple, but I'll get to that on another blog post explaining more about it's history.)


Claude Nobs wanted to share his passion for music with the rest of us, so the festival is free to attend and you have free live music in the park which you can listen to all day and night.



Free live music at the music in the park at night

Free live music at the music in the park daytime

Concerts take place in various locations, the most famous locations where you can buy tickets to watch concerts are the Auditorium Stravinsky and the Miles Davis Hall (renamed 2M2C).

Inside the Auditorium Stravinsky

Inside the Miles Davis (2M2C)

As the festival is along the lake, you can stroll around over 2km and you'll find a bunch of food stalls or random street artists and it's up to you where you want to spend your money.

Aside from going swimming in the lake, there are so many bars, jam areas and night clubs, free to enter where you can truly enjoy the festival!



The boogie relax area with scenic views!

Walk along the lake side, grab something to eat, have a drink or find a souvenir at the Jazz Shop

“ You know we have no curfew (at the festival). We have endless concerts sometimes.” Claude Nobs, 1996 Billboard Interview

During those two weeks, the city does not sleep! 24/7 for 2 weeks of festival madness for music lovers from all around the world!


At this festival, like minded people will be drawn to go there so be ensured to meet people who will make you feel at home.


On one of my next blogs I'll go into further detail about the festival and the legends who have attended over time. You'll get insights into what it's like working there or simply attending as a visitor!


To get more of a feeling about the festival, check out some footage on youtube and I can assure your heart will start smiling! Best of 2013 !


Enjoy and make sure to come over and check out this unique festival! 29th June-14th July 2018!