The 57th edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival came to a close last Saturday 15th July after sixteen days of incredible music that forged unforgettable memories for the artists and audiences alike. Some 250,000 festival-goers came across the event with the free stages drawing huge crowds every night while ticket sales were among the best in Montreux’s history, with venues approaching an average capacity of 90% over the 32 evenings.
There was a collective feeling of jubilation across the whole of Montreux Jazz Festival 2023. Artists came with the desire to surprise and entertain, and even the festival’s most grandiose venues felt intimate – with crowdsurfing, moments of improvisation, spontaneous encores, emotional speeches by artists and audience sing-alongs at every turn.
This year artists took more pleasure than ever in bringing the party atmosphere off the stage and into the audience. Chilly Gonzales managed the feat of crowdsurfing with a seated audience and Juliette Armanet, Chris Isaak, Idles and Seal all performed in the crowd with Seal singing amongst his fans for over 30 minutes. Jon Batiste went one further, turning his show into a marching band at the end of his performance and walking down the stairs of the Auditorium Stravinski and into the street with his orchestra and dancers. In a moment that will go down in Montreux Jazz History, euphoric festivalgoers continued to sing along with the band for almost an hour.
The festival’s jam sessions once again delivered a spectacle of unique encounters and unrepeatable performances. Sofiane Pamart and Chilly Gonzales improvised an incredible 4-hands performance behind the piano, while Jacob Collier and Jon Batiste pushed back the jam sessions’ end time late into the night with a frantic version of “Can’t Stop Til You Get Enough”.
Back on stage after weeks of enforced vocal rest and following several days of rehearsals at the Casino de Montreux, Sam Smith put on a masterful show. Chilly Gonzales, Tamino, Juliette Armanet, Loyle Carner and Swiss artists Bastian Baker, NNAVY and Hermanos Gutiérrez have all become firm favourite of the festival over the years, delighting audiences once again. Bob Dylan offered what was perhaps his best Montreux concert ever in an intimate atmosphere free from all distractions including mobile phones – an experience praised by all those in attendance.
A SPECIAL CONCLUSION
Closing the final night, Mark Ronson gave a typically Montreux performance with a specially curated one-off set for his first headline show since 2019. Produced in association with Swiss Haute Horlogerie Manufacturer Audemars Piguet, Ronson hand-picked a selection of his favourite musicians to perform alongside his protégées Lucky Daye and Yebba.
Blending funk, hip-hop and rock, there was a jubilant energy throughout a set that closed with the chart-topping hit “Uptown Funk”, followed by the legendary Amy Winehouse collaboration, “Valerie”. Commenting on the festival, Mark Ronson said: “For us and what we love, this is the most important festival there is.”
In the Auditorium Stravinksi, Nile Rodgers & Chic put together a stellar show. Showcasing a journey through Rodgers’ impeccable songwriting catalogue, the performance much of the hitmaker’s classic work including Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” and “Material Girl”, David Bowie’s “Modern Love”, “Cuff It” by Beyoncé and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”. The disco explosion was a perfectly fitting end to the festival which had the crowd in raptures.
FREE STAGES A HUGE SUCCESS
The free stages were more popular than ever. Their packed programme offered keen festival-goers a selection of five or six successive performances each evening with many of the concerts and performances generating impressive queues that formed well before they were due to begin.
Music fans around the world had access to a record 47 concerts broadcast live and 1.1 million views on the Festival’s Youtube channel. The three most popular artists were Lovejoy, The Rose and Iggy Pop, reflecting the festival’s intergenerational programming.
“The first time I came here, I was 22 and had no idea what this festival was. I was blown away by the beauty of this place. I was very inspired by all the extraordinary artists who had performed here. I came back two years in a row, without working, to have an amazing time. I had so much fun and saw so many concerts. I just want to say thank you to Montreux for welcoming me and my friends back. This is the first time we’ve presented this show at a festival.”
– Sam Smith, on stage at the Auditorium Stravinski
“I’ve always dreamed of playing at Montreux Jazz Festival. Looks like tonight a dream came true.” – Jacob Lusk of Gabriels, on stage at the Montreux Jazz Lab
“One day I dreamed about it and today I realize it: I’m going to sing in Spanish at one of the most important summer festivals.”
– Maluma, on Instagram
September 27 – October 2, 2023
2nd Montreux Jazz Festival China
4th edition of the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation Autumn Festival
3rd edition of the Rio Montreux Jazz Festival
2nd MJF Spotlight Sessions in Villars spotlighting emerging pop artists
Early March 2024
1st edition of the three-day MJF Miami in Coconut Grove, with international programming mixed with well-known local artists
July 5 – 20, 2024
58th Montreux Jazz Festival
As a reminder, the Montreux Convention Center (2m2c) will not be available during the 58th edition of the Festival due to major renovation work. The Festival will remain in Montreux, with a similar capacity and an identical duration of sixteen days. The Festival’s perimeter should be moved between the Fairmont le Montreux Palace and the Place du Marché.
The exact format will be announced by the end of the year.