Cully Jazz Festival


History of the Festival, from its earliest days to the present

Two young and passionate dreamers, Daniel Thentz and Emmanuel Gétaz, created the Cully Jazz Festival in 1983. In only a quarter of a century, it has become one of the biggest Jazz festivals in Switzerland. Here is a short history:

1983. For two days, Cully resonates with the rhythms of Jazz. The line-up is modest, but it is a big success.

1984. The budget of the Festival has doubled and a couple of famous local jazzmen perform in the Salle Davel. The large audience is delighted.

1985. The word “Festival” appears on the poster. The first foreign musicians are invited to the event, which lasts for four days.

1986. The OFF Festival is born. The organisers, all volunteers, are determined to take up a new challenge: transform Cully into a meeting place for Jazz lovers for an entire week.

Throughout the next years, the IN and OFF Festivals continue to grow. The IN Festival is dedicated to welcoming all varieties of Jazz. The Salle Davel can accommodate 300 people and allows trio or solo concerts without the need for amplification. 

The OFF Festival has a completely different goal: making jazz available free of charge to everyone in various cafés and wine cellars, in a very casual atmosphere!

November 1st, 1995. A fire destroys the Salle Davel and forces the IN Festival to move next to the lake. Thanks to the support of the Lavaux-Cully Jazz Foundation, the 14th edition takes place in spite of the accident, in March 1996. The ticketed concerts are now organised under a heated tent. 

The same year, the ruins of the Salle Davel become the Urban Jazz Club, the Festival’s Acid-Jazz venue. Tastefully decorated, it offers a unique and original atmosphere where DJs come and present the latest musical tendencies. The club also has a restaurant and two bars.

1999. Addition of a second stage in the newly rebuilt Salle Davel. From now on, the place welcomes new creations and acoustic concerts. DJs keep things going into the wee hours. 

2001. The Salle Davel, dedicated to innovative, cutting-edge artistry, is renamed "Next Step".

2002. The Cully Jazz Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary. With a budget exceeding 1 million francs, a volunteer board of 11 persons, 200 staff members, a permanent office, more than 10,000 tickets sold every year, more than 42,000 visitors over 9 days, and extensive media coverage, the Festival has become an essential event. 

This is also the moment Emmanuel Gétaz chooses to bow out and leave to a solid team the mission of continuing to grow the Festival.

2007. The Cully Jazz Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary. The most intimate of the major Jazz festivals in Switzerland is hitting its stride, and continues to welcome more than 40,000 visitors each year.

2008. The Festival can pride itself on producing nearly-balanced accounts, reflecting a wonderful 2008 edition, and an excellent frequentation in spite of the rather unfriendly weather—never before have the venues been so close to capacity! This rather gratifying result allows the committee to develop new ideas.

2009. This year, the Festival is determined to improve the visitor experience, and thus expands its facilities with the Lounge, on the shores of Lake Geneva.

2010. Still in great shape, still happy and proud to be the biggest Spring event in Cully, the Cully Jazz Festival keeps on growing. It inaugurates new facilities (a totally reworked Chapiteau) and increases its commitment to the environment.

2011. This year’s edition is outstanding, thanks to an excellent line-up as well as beautiful weather. The huge audience is charmed and generate record week-end attendance rates. This very good 29th edition allows the committee and the organisation team to look forward to preparing and celebrating the 30th birthday in 2012!

2012. The 30th edition bows out with an exceptional artistic outcome, punctuated by musical surprises offered by the artists... Because of disastrous weather, only 45,000 festival goers rise to the call of Jazz. In comparison, 50,000 had showed up in 2011. This drop in attendance induces important losses for F&B, which are fortunately able to be met by the financial reserves of the Festival without having to ask for the support of the Lavaux-Cully-Jazz Foundation. This year Cully Jazz inaugurates new spaces for the OFF Festival: the Venoge, the first floating wine cellar, the Caveau Weber, dedicated to music from abroad, and the Salon, ideal place to relax on the shores of Lake Geneva.