This summer, the South of France offers you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a mix of both traditional jazz alongside modern international music during the longest-running jazz festival in the world. Nice Jazz Festival (17th – 21st July) and Jazz à Juan in Juan-les-pins (12th – 22nd July) present a diverse selection of jazz on-stage in the beautiful streets of the South of France.
This year, Nice Jazz Festival acts include artists such as:
- Massive Attack
- Young Fathers
- Rag’n’Bone Man
- Gregory Porter
- Jack Johnson
Make sure to check out the complete line up – and prepare be blown away by the quality of acts on show!
What can you expect at these festivals?
Frommer’s, the international travel guide, described the Nice Jazz Festival “the biggest, flashiest, and most prestigious jazz festival in Europe”. The festival is held in the beautiful gardens between the Place Massena and the seaside, with two stages offering different experiences. The Theatre de Verdue is intimate, with a holding capacity of just over 2000, and the huge Massena Stage has a standing audience of 6500.
Prices for the festivals are far from unreasonable, with the Nice Jazz Festival costing 39€ a day and 135€ for a six-day pass. Other discounted rates are available for teenagers and seniors. Be sure to look at all ticket prices here.
Our Top Jazz Festival Tips
1) Headliners often enter and exit through the side entrance on the Massena stage, providing a great photo opportunity.
2) Doors open at 6:30 and the acts begin at 7:30 – plenty of time to get yourself a good spot before the music starts.
If you want to be right at the front and enjoy the sun as it sets over the palms, aim to arrive at 5:30. Queues into the venues can be quite large, so if you don’t mind being further back, you can walk straight in while the music is ongoing at around 8:00. It’s the biggest square in the city, so there’s plenty of space!
3) Bring a light blanket or wrap to lay down on the grass between acts.
4) Bring empty water bottles that can be refilled in the fountains.
History of French Jazz Festivals
The Nice Jazz Festival dates back to 1948, after World War II servicemen introduced the South of France to jazz. It was the world’s first jazz festival! The legendary Louis Armstrong headlined the first festival, and following a 23-year hiatus, the festival returned in 1971. Where great musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald, Pharoah Sanders, T-Bone Walker, and Stéphane Grappelli all performed in this emotional reunion of jazz.
In 1974, the Nice Jazz Festival moved to Cimiez, where it remained here in the scenic ruins of a Roman Coliseum and the Matisse Museum for 37 years. However, in 2011 the festival moved back to its origins to the Place Messena and the Theatre de Verdure, to enable lower ticket prices and the beautiful seaside views.
Jazz à Juan was established in 1960 and, despite their rooted tradition for jazz, the early 2000s welcomed a ‘Révélations’ evening to combine the modern and traditional musical styles along the beautiful streets and seaside of Nice.
Both festival locations are close by to the Le Mas Candille, and a perfect opportunity to witness jazz at its traditional finest amidst the vibrant atmosphere in the ‘golden hour’ of France. Have you got your hotel sorted? Be sure to look at our luxury hotel rooms and suites for the perfect stay in the South of France.