A beautiful twelfth edition of the Jazz Festival of the Briancon Valley. Atmosphere of celebration, beautiful lights, viewers swaying to the rhythms of music. We offer you some pictures of a small selection of concerts we had the chance to wait.
A music festival in the mountains
The festival takes place every year for two weeks, straddling the months of January and February, in the extreme north of the Hautes-Alpes department and therefore also in the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region. The communes of Briançonnais host the various concerts of the festival, as well in the valley of the Guisane where is the big ski resort of Serre Chevalier that in the beautiful preserved valley of the Clarée but also in Briançon, Villard-Saint-Pancrace or Puy Saint-André; and even lower along the Durance to L'Argentière la Bessée ...
Briançon sub-prefecture nevertheless remains the epicenter of the festival thanks to places like the theater of Briançonnais, the MJC, the library or many bars and places more sympathetic than the others.
Some non-exhaustive video captures put end to end of some concerts among the fifty or so events of the 2018 edition
A professional organization of volunteers
The association "Décablés" organizes with talent the event for a dozen editions (2018). They are volunteers who are often active in the local community, cultural and sports sector. People of all ages, good will who do not take themselves seriously but who run a devilishly effective organization while remaining terribly relaxed. The places of representation are always perfectly prepared, the punctuality and the reception of the public always in point; catering service (bio, local) very friendly (Jazz à Manger) and drinks at the big parties. Do not hesitate to propose your energy and time by becoming a volunteer, for example for Altitude Jazz Festival 2019.
Jazz festival for all tastes
The organization, over the years, very pertinently and intelligently, diversifies the angles of access to the music:
- The event is divided into classic evening concerts in large halls to enjoy at least three groups of musicians from 19:00 to more than midnight, for 15 euros the evening (2018).
- More intimate concerts, often free, are scattered all over the North of the Hautes-Alpes, in all kinds of rooms: mountain refuges, lodgings, bars, libraries, contemporary art center, communal halls, jam sessions etc. ..
- A "Master Class", led by Johannes Hagenloch this year 2018, allowed amateur musicians to perfect themselves. The group of forty musicians, renewed each year, is called the "Briançon Jazz Band" and plays for the public's delight in different places.
- The festival also comes out of the rooms to play outdoors, on the ski slopes or hiking, for example. And even in the sky, musicians suspended under paragliding sails. The "Jazz Routes" also offer a musical bus ride along the alpine valleys.
- Conferences, films at the excellent art and test cinema l'Eden or talk show allow you to continue to be passionate and interested in music.
5 reasons to come
- A varied program for all audiences: jazz has different styles and the festival offers the most eclectic programming possible: classical jazz or experimental but also more festive groups offering dance music. Jazz Fusion, Manouche, Rock, Blues, Acrobatic (sic!), Free, Soul etc .. will allow you to find your happiness or introduce you to new music. About fifty events, mainly concerts, by edition of the festival, offers a wide choice to the public.
- A scenography always well worked: the concert halls are still very artistically arranged. Sound, lights and scenery create a particularly successful atmosphere.
- New talents to discover who live alongside more established and reputable groups.
- A way to combine music, parties and fun mountain activities, skiing mainly.
- A cool and efficient organization, attentive to the public, always welcoming places (cloakrooms, parking, ticketing etc.) for both spectators and artists.
5 bad reasons not to like
- To stay polite, jazz is painful?
Jazz can appear, sometimes with reason, to some, like an elitist and difficult music; almost serious. The festival's programming proves the opposite. The website Altitude Jazz Festival, very well thought out, provides access to news sheets for each group with sound clips and videos. A description and a heading "in the style of" will allow you to make your choices in concert and find music to your liking or even, why not, try discoveries musically disruptive.
- It's far from home?
The north of the Hautes Alpes has the chance, unlike other mountains, not to be disfigured by highways, as for example the beautiful Val d'Aoste in Italy.
Access is nevertheless easily from the south. Marseille and the major cities of Provence, by the N94, are about three hours.
The inhabitants of Grenoble, Lyon and the agglomerations of Auvergne Rhône-Alpes will not take more time by car, either by the pass of Lautaret, or by the highway passing by the Tunnel of Frejus, remains then 30 minutes of road by the easy Montgenèvre pass.
Our friends living in northern Italy (Turin, Milan etc.) will also join the festival easily and quickly thanks to the motorways of Piedmont then the Montgenèvre pass.
The High Speed Train (TGV) arrives in Oulx station in Italy and allows to join the festival from Paris in 4:30, plus 30 minutes bus shuttle. Finally Turin airport 2 hours drive allows you to come by air from all major European cities.
- It's expensive ?
False. It is possible to attend the festival without spending a euro, thanks to the free concerts. Numerous concerts are indeed free to access. Paid concerts cost between 25 and 15 euros. The evenings of three concerts cost only 15 euros. Possibility of buying packs of three evenings for less than 30 euros.
- There is not much going on?
Still wrong, more than 50 concerts and events over the fortnight. Not a day without several concerts.
- Difficult to lodge?
The tourist destinations of Serre Chevalier and Briançonnais offer a large number of accommodation solutions, from the most luxurious to the most classic and affordable. If your budget is tight forget the tent, the cold does not allow camping in the Alps in winter, but the couchsurfing works well. Briançonnais have a reputation for being rather welcoming.
An intelligent, authentic and varied tourism policy
Most local municipalities, intelligently, financially support the festival. This boosts Briançonnais, a tourist region, in the off-season between the rush of Christmas and the holidays of February.
The idea of proposing a festival of music as complete and varied allows to leave the too narrow canvas of the "ski holidays / raclette / dodo". Winter sports, repetitively promoted by the local tourist offices with the help of postcards of snowy tracks without real identity and easily interchangeable from one mountain range to another.
The current clientele looking for at least as much the outdoors and thrills offered by the "society of leisure" (skiing, ice waterfalls, paragliding etc...) that authentic moments made of sharing, conviviality and culture.
The Altitude Jazz Festival offers the territory a cultural identity other than the simple and classic visits of the local heritage. The festival seems to perfectly fulfill this role. It seems surprising to us that the local tourist offices (Facebook of Serre Chevalier Briançon tourism for example) and local media do not relay more this event.
As you can see, we are fans of the Altitude Jazz Festival whose atmosphere reminds us, with nostalgia and in a certain way, the Festiventu in Corsica. Jazz (whose etymology comes from Jaser ?, Jasmine? Jezebel?) Mixed music, open to the world, cosmopolitan, alive, finds its place beautifully in Briançonnais country. The north of the Hautes Alpes cultivates, thanks to the Festival, its spirit identity of enlightenment linked for example to the Republic of Escartons, to characters such as Aristide Albert and to its past and present humanist traditions: "the past answers of the 'future' (inscription on the ramparts at the entrance of the city Vauban)!
Links and thanks (Info, contact, records etc ...)
- Altitude Jazz festival http://www.altitudejazz.com
- Krakens https://www.facebook.com/FANFARE.KRAKENS
- Oriental Living Room https://orientallivingroom.wixsite.com/musique
- Possible(s) Quartet - Songs from Bowie https://www.possibles-quartet.com
- Centre d’art contemporain de Briançon Exposition Mur-mur(e)s et métamorphoses Expo photos Eric Stern, sculptures Cédric Rouzé
- Grizz-Li http://grizz-li.com/
- « Briançon Brass Band 2018 » Altitude Jazz festival Master-Class 2018 Johannes Hagenloch des Old Fish Jazz Band
- Théâtre du Briançonnais http://theatre-du-brianconnais.eu
- Causerie avec Raphaël Imbert Jazz Supreme http://www.raphaelimbert.com
- Bibliothèque de Briançon https://bibliothequebriancon.wordpress.com
- Six-Ring Circus http://www.six-ringcircus.com
- Impérial Orphéon https://compagnieimperial.com/imperial-orpheon