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49th Montreaux Jazz Festival: Serene Edition

July 2015

In this summer heat, the particularly smooth 49th edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival has sparked great enthusiasm among audience and artists.

A balanced budget and an attendance of 240,000 festival-goers have set the course for steady sailing towards the 50th anniversary of the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2016.

High Turnout And Balanced Books

Throughout 16 days of electrifying music, one central feature of the 49th Montreux Jazz Festival was the unwavering sunny skies, as faithful as the audiences whose estimated turnout was 240,000, on track with the 2013 trends. Thanks to the 92,000 tickets sold and a very positive balance sheet, the festival’s accounts are in the black. The three main concert halls as well as the concerts at free stages were constantly full. For 2015, the Festival can proudly affirm that since modifying its structure in 2013 its re-worked organisation has been warmly adopted by the public.

No Dark Clouds Over This Eclectic Blend Of Music

A peaceful, cool, festive atmosphere reigned over the stages, concert halls and lakefront with the finest summer weather imaginable. The public proved receptive to the programming of the 49th edition, further reaffirming the festival’s multi-faceted identity with a mix of musical genres and generations: unforgettable and savvy duos won over and wowed audiences; major productions contrasted with artistic groups in intimate performances; the new generation of artists was out in force for the Montreux Jazz Lab.

Continuity In Its Singular Spirit

This 49th edition is also a testament to the fact that Montreux’s musical heritage still echoes in today’s music. The festival is an amazing, fertile rendezvous for artists, a familiar place for all generations to come together, create, and improvise: Santana inviting John McLaughlin to join him on stage; the beatmaker Fakear welcoming the young English artist Rae Morris to collaborate on a piece of music during his concert at the Montreux Jazz Lab.

The jams sessions, which rule the night until 5am, welcomed artists such as Avishai Cohen, The NPG Hornz, the musicians of Dianne Reeves or the jazz band of the Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga duet, and a match-up of the Kooks and alt-J. Steve Lukather (Toto) said it best: “This is exactly why I love Montreux, because I can meet all my friends.”

Quincy Jones, who was present for almost the entire festival, regularly introduced the public to his fellow artists and rising stars who were dear to his heart. During these 16 days, many artists talked about the hospitality - a legacy of the Montreux Jazz Festival’s founder - which seems to flow naturally on this site. Claude Nobs’ Chalet in Caux is a reflection of that spirit; this year, more artists stayed in Montreux for several days, taking advantage of the site’s rich history to enjoying a bit of peace in the middle of their tours. Sam Smith, on discovering concert archives there, decided, as had Marvin Gaye in his time, that he wanted his concerts to be recorded, saying “I want to be part of this”.

Winners Of The Montreaux Jazz Competitions And Prix Du Public UBS

Young talented artists from all over the world have been recognised through piano, guitar, and voice competitions organised by the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation: Brazilian Pedro Martins won the Socar Montreux Jazz Electric Guitar Competition; the Chinese artist Dai Liang aka A Bu won the Parmigiani Montreux Jazz Solo Piano Competition and Russian Alina Engibaryan shone during the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition. Last but not least, the Prix du Public UBS was awarded to Amiyna Farouque, a young indie folk singer from Sri Lanka, who will perform on the Music in the Park stage on Friday 17 July at 6:15 pm. The top three placing competitors of each competition are invited to participate to the second Montreux Jazz Academy, a music residency for young artists, which will take place from 5 to 11 October 2015. Yaron Herman is musical director and Al Jarreau will be among the mentors.

Looking To The 50th Anniversary

The preparations for the upcoming event coloured the discussions during this 49th edition, giving free reign to imagination. Certain artists have already voiced their interest in participating, and the festival is currently working on activities and artistic projects to celebrate this symbolic milestone on the road to a future enriched by its half-century old musical tradition.


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