What is the Montreux Jazz Festival exactly?
If you’re like me, you’ve occasionally seen or heard live performances from the festival on video or CD — and you have the impression it’s a far-flung gathering of musicians socializing over jazz in some elite location in Switzerland.
Well, now I’m here, and the first thing that I can report is that it’s not just a jazz festival — it’s dedicated to all kinds of music ranging from rock to soul to EDM. It’s also not necessarily all that elite. Take for example this year’s Montreux Jazz Festival 50, which hosts an incredibly robust free program over its two-week stretch in this month of July. You could attend from 2pm to 5am many days and see many performances and then dance until you drop for free admission.