JazzAscona is one of Switzerland's biggest jazz festivals, and it's proud to be the only such event outside the USA to be officially supported by the city of New Orleans. But how did it come into being, and what makes it so special?
Ascona Tourism took over the running of the festival in 1993, appointing Nicolas Gilliet to the post of artistic director in 2003, a role he held until 2019. The Festa New Orleans was renamed "JazzAscona – New Orleans & Classic" in 2004. Following 30-plus years of jazz experience, the festival reached an agreement with the New Orleans authorities in 2015, which saw the birth of "The New Orleans Experience – Music & Food from Louisiana". The festival split off from Ascona Tourism in 2018 to become an autonomous entity.
Anyone who's not yet attended JazzAscona should definitely make an effort this summer: for ten days, Ascona experiences a warm, "southern state" wind blowing through its alleys, bringing good vibes and a wealth of great music. The lakeside promenade and the village, decorated with a thousand lights, are a sea of happy souls carried away by the music, dancing, laughing or simply enjoying the relaxed ambience over a drink.
Even LaToya Cantrell, the Mayor of New Orleans, confirmed this during her visit to JazzAscona 2022: “Music on the streets, people smiling and dancing, the streets taking on so much colour... Yes, in Ascona I can really feel the New Orleans jazz vibes.”
A touch of New Orleans in Ascona: We're not on the Mississippi, but if everywhere sounds like New Orleans, then we want to taste New Orleans, too, including classic examples of Louisiana's lip-smacking cuisine. Louisiana has rhythm in its blood, and its cooking is just as vibrant: the dishes benefit from the same creative passion as the music. On the New Orleans Terrace, by the lake in front of the main stage, you can sample delicious dishes from Chef Landry and enjoy lunch and trad jazz every day. The Elvezia area is home to the Bottega del Jazz: a must-try for Ticino-Louisiana street food fusion. And the Eden Roc host Chef Desi Anderson.