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Montreux Jazz Festival ’23 pulls in 250k fans

Ticket sales for the long-running Swiss festival were among the best in history according to the event's organisers

By James Hanley on 17 Jul 2023

Lionel Richie at Montreux Jazz Festival 2023

Lionel Richie at MJF 2023

image © FFJM

Ticket sales for this year’s Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF) were among the best in history according to organisers, with venue capacity averaging close to 90% across the event.

Held from 30 June to 15 July, the Swiss festival pulled in around 250,000 fans to the shores of Lake Geneva for its combination of free and ticketed concerts.

Artists included Bob Dylan, Lionel Richie, Lil Nas X, Sam Smith, Simply Red, Iggy Pop, Generation Sex, Norah Jones, Seal and Joe Bonamassa, with co-headliners Nile Rodgers & Chic and Mark Ronson bringing proceedings to a close on Saturday at the 4,000-cap Auditorium Stravinski and 2,000-cap Montreux Jazz Lab, respectively.

“I’m particularly happy with this year’s festival,”festival director Mathieu Jaton tells Swiss Info, noting the spirit of sharing between artists and audiences gave the event a “feeling of collective euphoria”. The event enjoyed good weather apart from two “complicated” days of summer storms, he adds.

MJF reports that attendance figures were on a par with last year, meaning its ticket sale targets were met despite its budget of 28 million Swiss francs (€29m) being one of the highest in its 57-year history. Tickets for most shows were priced between 88 and 145fr, while admission for Bob Dylan’s sold-out show was 365fr.

Its free stages, meanwhile, offered festival-goers a selection of five or six successive performances each evening.

“We have to find a new and brilliant ID for ’24 and ’25, so that’s going to be a major challenge”

Due to major renovation work, 2m2c (Montreux Music and Convention Centre Congress Centre) will be unavailable for the next two years of the event, with a new 5,000-cap stage set to be introduced on the lake. The festival’s perimeter will be moved between the Fairmont le Montreux Palace and the Place du Marché, with the exact format to be announced by the end of the year.

“It is never business as usual at Montreux,” Jaton recently told IQ. “It was very clear when we came back in ’22 that we were going to bring in a lot of changes to transform the festival and take it into the future. And ’24 will be another challenge because we have to move the festival from the Congress Centre as [redevelopment] work will be starting just after the festival this summer.

“We have to find a new and brilliant ID for ’24 and ’25, so that’s going to be a major challenge. And then June ’26 is the 60th anniversary, so we have some nice years in front of us.”

A series of spin-off events will take place prior to MJF’s return from 5-20 July 2024. They include the second edition of Montreux Jazz Festival China (27 September-2 October 2023), the fourth edition of the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation Autumn Festival (4-7 October) and the third edition of the Rio Montreux Jazz Festival (12-14 October).

Plus, the second MJF Spotlight Sessions in Villars is set for February-March 2024, while the first edition of the three-day MJF Miami in Coconut Grove – which will comprise international programming mixed with well-known local artists – is planned for early March 2024.


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