Montreux Jazz Festival – Montreux, Vaud, Switzerland

The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music

Since 1967, the Montreux Jazz Festival has been Europe’s leading jazz event, but it has never locked itself into just one format, presenting blues, reggae, funk, soul, rap, rock, and pop as well as its namesake style.

Always ahead of the curve, the festival features both new and known talent, exclusive jams, and the finest sound system and halls, with the big-time acts performing in the principal venues and the lesser-knowns toughing it out on the streets – no surprise that the latter can be just as enjoyable. Beginning as a three-day event, the fest has grown to sixteen days, adding much to the strong musical tradition of this ever-popular town that sits on the banks of the lovely Lake Geneva.

Since the 19th century, artists, writers, and musicians have been attracted to this resort city with its distinct French accent and worldly atmosphere, ambitiously compared to that of Cannes.

You’ll understand why Lake Geneva is called the Swiss Riviera when you see the palms, cypresses, and mag­nolias that flourish here (thanks to the mountains that pro­tect the city from the harsh winter winds) and the cafés that line the marvelous lake­side walks.

Cannes can only covet the Château de Chillon, just down the coast and within sight of Montreux. Switzerland’s most important and most photographed castle, parts of it date back 1,000 years. It moved Lord Byron to write his famous poem The Prisoner of Chillon, and has undoubtedly lent inspiration to the music making that brings Montreux alive each July.

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