Jazz à Juan & Jammin’Summer: Antibes Jazz Festivals
Every summer, two incredible jazz festivals rock Antibes and Juan les Pins. While welcoming the greatest jazz figures since 1960, the Antibes Juan-les-Pins festival retains a double attraction. Firstly through its rich line-up, true to authentic jazz, but also and above all because it remains a real laboratory where everyone can see that jazz is still a living musical style: high quality opening bands, (free) “Off” fringe concerts, hotel bars and streets carried away by Brass bands…
Here are all the details you need to attend and have an exceptional time at these festivals:
Jazz à Juan
This festival is known for top performers from the A-list, and this year features such jazz royalty as Winton Marsalis and John McLaughlin. This international jazz festival takes place every year in the historic setting of the Gould pine forest.
The oldest jazz festival in Europe, “Jazz à Juan” is an integral part of the culture and heritage French and features the best jazz musicians in the world. Since its first staging in 1960, it has gained international fame and luster. Artists from around the globe perform here every year to celebrate and enrich the jazz music scene. It is a prestigious event to enjoy jazz music.
Created in 1960, the festival has established itself over the decades as one of the legendary events where the memory of jazz is elaborated, but also and above all where its eternal renewal is affirmed. “Jazz à Juan” remains an international benchmark in the field.
There is plenty to be discovered: a musical style which is varied, pleasing and always at a human level, on a famous site between beach and stars. Performers throughout the world see the Pinède Gould as the equivalent of what the Scala of Milan represents to opera singers: a confirmation and an exceptional opportunity to perform to the public, the ideal cocktail for a legendary place.
The Jazz à Juan festival features every type of jazz, from latin jazz, jazz-rock, modern jazz, blues, electro, and even jazzy gospel. Over the years, the Jazz a Juan festival embraced new and different styles of jazz to entice a new audience. The festival truly adds to the colorful history of jazz.
“Juan-les-Pins isn’t just a scene, it’s mythical for me, like Carnegie Hall for the classic. When you step onto this stage, you are in the footsteps of giants.” – John McLaughlin
The Jammin Summer Session returns every summer from mid-July to the end of August. 125 jazz musicians perform in more than 30 free concerts. These concerts are much smaller-scale and with less famous musicians than Jazz a Juan, but they are free.
On the Place Nationale in Antibes and the Petite Pinède in Juan-les-Pins , international artists will perform all the different currents of jazz: classical, gospel, hip-hop, rock, electronic, vocal, gypsy, latin-jazz…
The Seaside Location
The festival’s home is La Pinède, the famous pine grove (with hundred-year-old pine trees) in the town of Juan-les-Pins, which is part of Antibes, on the French Riviera. The relaxed ambiance complements the funky groove of jazz rhythm. The stage is set on a beautiful natural backdrop, the Mediterranean Sea.
At night, the scene gradually transforms as the lights of Juan-les-Pins, Golfe Juan, and the nearby Cannes becomes visible. There are boutiques for souvenirs and numerous restaurants and cafés around the square. Small bars and places for snacks are also present within the vicinity.
The Walk of Fame
Every summer, stars from all over the world perform at “Jazz à Juan” and “Jammin’Summer”, the birthplace of jazz in Europe, and leave the imprint of their hands, which you can discover sealed all along this “Walk of Fame”. Boulevard Edouard Baudoin in La Pinède park testifies to the popularity of Jazz, as behind the seaside stage, handprints of more than 50 musicians who performed in the festival dot the sidewalk. Some of the jazz legends who performed and had their prints sealed into the boardwalk are: Al Jarreau; BB King; Georges Benson; Pink Floyd; Ray Charles; Stevie Wonders; Stéphane Grappelli; Eddie Louise; Dee Dee Bridgewater; among others.
Guided Tours for Jazz à Juan
Throughout the summer, you can explore the history of jazz in Juan-les-Pins during the guided tours organized by the Tourism Office.
In honor of the Jazz à Juan and Jammin’Summer festivals, our guides invite you to explore the Jazz in Juan-les-Pins in a festive atmosphere. You will discover mythical places, the exhibition installed for the occasion, as well as the Walk of Jazz Giant along the Gould Pine Grove.
A free concert awaits you at the end of the visit in the Petite Pinède. (Jammin’Summer Session)
Tour Details: Departure from the Juan-les-Pins Tourist Office
Advance booking compulsory at the Tourist Office or via phone at +33 (0)4 22 10 60 01 or email [email protected]
Tour Price: Adults: €7 (couple €12) / Reduced price (8 to 16 years-olds & students): €3.50 / Under 8: free
The History of Jazz à Juan
The first «Jazz à Juan» festival, in 1960, was created as a tribute to Sidney Bechet, a famous musician who loved Antibes. It was the event that sparked many other festivals which quickly spread across Europe.
Claude Nobs, inventor of the great Montreux event, said himself: “If I hadn’t passed through Antibes, Montreux wouldn’t exist.” The concept was revolutionary. For the first time, the general public could discover the main artists of the great saga which jazz had already become, with the heroes on stage in person, and the most beautiful natural décor one could wish for. It was certainly a bit of a gamble, but one which more than lived up to its promises.
As early as 1960, the remarkable concert by Charles Mingus took place, then the start of the love affair between Ray Charles and the pine grove, the revelation of Miles Davis in 1963, the memorable duet between Ella Fitzgerald and a cicada… In 1968, after the Coltrane shock, while heated debate was raging back and forth, there was the irresistible free-style period, before Jazz Rock and fusion were at their height in 1976, then the impressive collection of pianists in 1981 (Petrucciani, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett).
This was followed by the revelation of Al Jarreau, the extraordinary duet between Stanley Clarke and Miroslav Vitous in 1984, another duet by Sarah Vaughan and Michel Legrand, the performances by Carlos Santana and the great Jessie Norman… Not forgetting, of course, the fabulous concerts by three of the most faithful returning artists: Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz and Sonny Rollins.
Jazz à Juan represents a wide diversity of styles and programmes but also musicians: newcomers who have become famous names, trend-setting iconoclasts, classical and modern, all members of the great jazz family…
No other festival has done more for the recognition of improvised and culturally mixed music from all over the world: in Juan, Africa has warmed the hearts of the audience, the “Som do brasil” has danced with Cuban Latin-Americans and Tito Puente converted France to the magic of mambo, then John McLaughlin and Shakti opened the Passage to India…
These landmark concerts now contribute to European jazz history while also building the future, as illustrated by the recent performances by Roy Hargrove, Richard Bona, Thomas Dutronc, Norah Jones and Jamie Cullum. Since 1960, the jazz saga has flourished in Juan thanks to the immense diversity of the artists: newcomers or famous names, innovators or iconoclasts, classical or modern.
Video of the Jazz à Juan Jazz Festival
Jazz à Juan & Summer’Jammin 2022: Event Details
Event Type: Music Festivals
Timing: Jazz a Juan goes from July 6th to 19th, 2022 and Summer’Jammin goes from July 7th to August 19th, 2022.
Tickets: Get tickets for Jazz a Juan here. The Jammin’Summer concerts are free and on a first-come basis.
Location: In the park La Pinède Gould, seaside in Juan-les-Pins, Antibes. Some Jammin’Summer concerts also happen at the Antibes bandstand at Place Nationale .
For more events, check out our complete Monaco & the French Riviera events calendar.