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53ʳᵈ Montreux Jazz Festival: “This was our song”

What a year! Launched in the most beautiful way by Elton John’s historic concert at Saussaz Stadium, the 53rd Montreux Jazz Festival brought together nearly 250,000 people under a sunny and radiant sky.

Montreux Drone

“Blown away”, “moved to tears”, “like a dream”: if you met a member of the Festival team on 29 June 2019, they’d have said something like that. Elton John’s concert at the Stadium La Saussaz wasn’t just historic because it was a one-off but also because of the artistic quality of the superb show. The popularity of this concert – hundreds of people watched from surrounding balconies, gardens and vineyards – set the tone of a radiant Festival where unique moments and spontaneity made memories across all stages.

Magical moments at the Jam Sessions

The jam sessions at La Coupole at the House of Jazz were pure magic from 11pm until 5am. We saw Janelle Monáe (picture) standing on the tables to sing, then singing “Juice” with Lizzo and Jon Batiste. We saw Rag’n’Bone Man singing the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter”. We saw Chilly Gonzales mastering synthesizer and piano at the same time. We saw Bon Iver, Matthieu Chedid (-M-), Charle Winston, Ibrahim Maalouf, Kamaal Williams, Lolo Zouai, and the young musicians of the Montreux Jazz Academy.

Janelle Jam Session

Perfectly planned tours are flavor of the moment but the Festival is – more than ever – somewhere where spontaneity and improvisation are encouraged and showcased. These special moments once again illustrate the privileged relationship that the Festival has with its artists. In Montreux, they find a timeless bubble far from the hectic pace of their tours. Musicians meet up here, taking the time to appreciate their stay and to honor the legends who have played here before them.