In 1964, the legendary Ella Fitzgerald soulfully sang at the fifth Jazz à Juan festival. Often referred to as the First Lady of Song, Ella was 47 at the time and already had an extensive 30-year career behind her. That night, the cicadas at La Pinède Gould were reportedly so noisy they almost drowned out Ella’s beautiful voice. Far from letting this affect her performance, the Queen of Jazz decided to improvise a song in honour of the insects attempting to steal her thunder. The piece of music is now known as ‘The Cricket Song’ and is one of Ella’s greatest live tracks.
Now celebrating its 59th year, the Jazz à Juan festival is widely recognised today as Europe’s oldest and most prestigious festival. For ten magical nights next month (12 – 21 July 2019), Juan Les Pins will be transformed into the stunning open-air, Mediterranean sea-view concert space, hosting two to three performances at sunset each night.
The festival line-up has evolved over the years, crossing the borders between jazz, rock and pop, and every day there is a parade of marching bands through the streets of Juan-les-Pins, Vallauris or Golfe Juan. Headliners this year include Jamiroquai, Diana Krall and Electro Deluxe, who follow in the footsteps of music greats including Charles Mingus, Ray Charles, Miles Davis and of course, Ella Fitzgerald. For residents of Parc du Cap, the festival is a convenient five-minute stroll down the hill, or on some evenings can be gently heard from your balcony or rooftop terrace.
In celebration of the region’s musical heritage, we have rounded up some of our favourite music events in the South of France for music lovers and entertainment enthusiasts alike.
Antibes: Les Nuits Carrées 27th – 29th June
Set in the impressive 16th Century amphitheatre of Antibes’ Fort Carré, live music is performed nightly with genres spanning hip-hop, jazz, electronic and rock, all in celebration of the independently spirited.
Cannes: Nuits Musicales du Suquet, 18th – 23rd July
Established in 1975 by French classical pianist Gabriel Tacchino, Nuits Musicales is a classical music festival that takes place in the Notre Dame of Hope church in the old town of Le Suquet in Cannes. Music from some of the world’s greatest soloists will be presented, as well as chamber music ensembles and original artist collaborations.
Vence: Nuits du Sud, 19th July – 2nd August
Nuits du Sud aims to highlight music from all walks of life and all cultures, and even hosts a talent competition each year to find the best emerging young music groups. This year attendees will enjoy performances from international artists like Eagle Eye Cherry, Sister Sledge and Lucky Peterson.
Antibes: Sacred Music Festival, 13th – 29th September
Celebrating its 28th year, some of the finest chamber music, sacred voice recitals and concerts from choirs, orchestras and soloists will be showcased in the exceptional venue of the Cathedral of Antibes and Saint-Bernardin chapel.
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