If you’re visiting the French Riviera this summer, take some time out to visit Antibes during the annual Jazz a Juan, the longest-running Jazz Festival in Europe
From July the 10th to the 19th, Antibes comes alive to the sound of jazz music at the oldest jazz festival in Europe, Jazz a Juan. The festival, which is held every summer in the Gould Pine Grove on the Cote d’Azur features some of the greatest artists and jazz musicians in the world.
Juan Les Pins in Antibes is known as the European capital of Jazz, and this year’s International Jazz Festival promises to be as exciting as all that have followed before it. The first of its kind was held more than half a century ago, in 1960, and every year since, Antibes has celebrated its love of jazz music.
Interestingly enough, Antibes has loved jazz for much longer than that. In the 1920s, this beautiful spot on the French Riviera was the meeting place for American intellectuals and modernists such as Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald. This was the ‘Jazz Age’, and to this day Antibes celebrates those halcyon days and the great musicians that played the music we still love, such as Louis Armstrong.
This 10-day jazz festival has always boasted an all-star line-up, since the very first time it opened, with Charles Mingus and his troupe entertaining music lovers. The names of famous jazz musician that roll off the tongue, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis all followed the likes of Louis Armstrong to the south of France to play during the festival. Audiences were filled with the most famous creative of the time, including Hemingway and Picasso, who came to enjoy the sounds of the likes of Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis and Jack DeJohnette.
Today Jazz à Juan still draws the crowds, who come here to the seaside festival to listen to the biggest names in the industry in Juan-les-Pins. The festival is legendary, and is known for having made jazz history time and again. Every year Juan les Pins is full of music, with concerts on the main stage as well as in the streets of the town as many different bands and soloists show their mettle.
Since 2003, Jazz à Juan Revelations came into being, an evening where jazz musicians share their passion and their music, keeping jazz up to date and on the radar.