Discovering Altitude Jazz Festival in France
The Altitude Jazz Festival is born 14 years ago and was originally thought as a way to create some “cultural ski offer” to tourists, right before the main french ski holidays.
That was the idea of both former tourist office director and former mayor of Briançon, friends with Fulvio Albano from the Torino’s Jazz Club. So they made it, with a little money. There was only one week, and just a few gigs, with a very jazzy music, curated by Fulvio.
Right after this first edition, they wanted to separate it from politic and they decided to give it to an association of young volunteers. And then we came and we took it back as our own project.
This is a long time ago. And the story has changed a lot back since. Year after year, the festival slowly evolved, trying different forms and durations.
Briançon has a special atmosphere. It’s not only a turistic place. People live here all year long too. Because we are quite far away from big cities, people have to create things if they really want it to happen. That is in our culture, some kind of “do it yourself”. That’s why we have so many volunteers and a very motivated audience. Because this festival is made by all of us, for all of us. If we don’t do it, nothing is going to happen. That’s the main idea…
So the idea to organize a massive party of two weeks, in a quiet moment, in a middle of the snowy mountains is very excited. I mean, out of all the difficulties of the organization!
So, for 6 six years now we run a two-weeks festival, with about 50 gigs. Half of the gigs are onstage and each day in a different place around Briançon. The other half are free in the bars and restaurants.
The music we program is about jazz music but with many other styles around like blues, electronic, afrobeat, éthiopic-jazz, swing, etc etc… There ‘s a little everything for everyone.
With Simon and Sam, we choose the bands and the musical atmospheres we want. Whatever our personnal musical tastes, we try to set a very eclectic line-up, focused on discoveries and musical creativity.
We have between 40,000 and 50,000 € to organize 50 gigs, it’s not very much, and all of the musicians are legally paid. One important thing is that we all prefer to make room for “small” bands than dedicate half of this money to one big headline.
Great memories are the music bring up in the mountain: musicians to create surprising gigs on the slopes, on the lifts, playing with the ski-resort equipments… Or to bring bands to play in very remote mountain huts, 3 hours walking or skiing to reach it, with a very motivated and open-minded audience…
Personally, I go very oftenly to Turin to see some gigs but iy’s more about indie-rock stuffs.
But it’s all about networking.