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The Montreux Jazz Festival reinvents itself for the 55Th edition!


The 55th Montreux Jazz Festival is set to go ahead, from 2 to 17 July 2021. Taking into account the current guidelines of the Swiss authorities and the uncertainties surrounding this year’s summer season, the Festival has completely reimagined its format. In a Festival first, a stage will be constructed entirely on the lake, with a maximum capacity of 500 seats. Three other stages with a smaller capacity, located in the event spaces and gardens of the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace hotel, will host jazz concerts, jam sessions, workshops and more.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is today able to reveal its 2021 plans, which can be adjusted and adapted based on the Covid-19 situation. The format of the 55th Festival will be more intimate, based around its core values of conviviality and musical excellence, set among the lake, mountains and Belle Époque architecture of Montreux.

Despite a difficult and evolving situation, it is with passion and enthusiasm that the Montreux Jazz Festival team is preparing the reunion of the artists and their public, in full respect of the measures that will be in place this summer. The plans revealed today represent the core of the 55th Festival, and allow for a certain degree of flexibility. Depending on how the situation develops, the Festival may be able to step outside this framework, for example by utilising other iconic areas of the town, or working with particular artists on bespoke projects.



For this year’s 55th Festival, a stage will be built 25 metres from the shore, like a peninsula presiding over the lake.  This stage will be ticketed and feature an eclectic and contemporary range of artists. Surrounded by the stunning backdrop of the lake and the Alps, two artists each evening will play to a tiered terrace that can accommodate a seated audience of up to 500.

In the daytime, from midday onwards, this area will be freely accessible to the public, offering catering options and chill-out spaces. The infrastructure will be used not only during the Festival, but for tourist activities throughout Montreux’s summer season.

Festival founder Claude Nobs always dreamed of a stage on the lake. Artists and festival-goers have also floated the idea, but it has never come to anything – until now. In a year when everything seems impossible, we wanted to do Claude Nobs proud and channel his favourite saying: “Nothing is impossible.” 


On this stage, groove is king. Dedicated to jazz and soul music, the second ticketed stage for this year’s Festival, with a seated capacity of 300, will be located in the grand Salle des Fêtes at the Montreux Palace. In the truest tradition of the Festival, it will showcase jazz fused with different influences, with a fresh and contemporary feel.


Open until 2 a.m., the free Palace Gardens area will host a small stage dedicated to impromptu acoustic showcases, which audience members can enjoy standing or seated on deckchairs. Chilled DJ sets, a beer garden, a cocktail bar and food stalls will ensure a summery festive vibe in this idyllic spot with breath-taking scenic views.


The Grand Hall of the Montreux Palace will host the unmissable musical discoveries offered by the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation. This will include jam sessions every evening, the Montreux Jazz Talent Awards concerts from Thursday to Saturday, and workshops, creating a hotspot for creativity and unexpected meetings.


The line-up will be announced in May, along with access and ticketing details. A precise date will be announced later.

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The format of this edition will be adapted based on the evolution of the health situation, in compliance with the decisions made by the competent authorities. Contact tracing will be in place for each Festival zone (the Montreux Palace, Lake stage area and the Gardens). It will not however be necessary to reserve places for the free activities and zones, which will remain open until they reach maximum capacity.