After a year’s absence, The Nice Jazz Festival roared back last night, with a triumphant opening night filled with stars. Enthusiastic music-lovers were treated to 6 amazing concerts on 2 stages, starting with Trombone Shorty, a festival favorite who wowed the crowd, and culminating with the mythic jazz-great Herbie Hancock.
Tight security caused a bit of an entry bottleneck at first, with the line wrapping around the block, but once the first concert was underway everyone relaxed to the beat, and the lines quickly abated. I recommend arriving around 8:15pm – you will miss a little of the first concert, but you will get right in, plus avoid the heat as that’s just when the sun dips behind the palms… perfect!
Inside, the Ville de Nice has made lots of little tweaks to increase the space and ease the flow, and so even though there was a healthy crowd last night, there was still plenty of picnic tables and grassy space between the two stages to relax. Bring a wrap to spread on the grass, which will also soften your seat if you are seated on the steps at the Verdure stage. To stay hydrated, bring an empty plastic bottle that you can refill in the drinking fountains. Wear comfortable shoes or flip-flops; one stage has seats but the other main stage is standing room only. And my best tip: after each set, the headliners on the Massena stage often pop out the side entrance behind the right side of the main stage to meet the fans, so that is where to hang out if you want to get an autograph or a quick selfie.
The quality and number of food stands seemed to be taken up a notch from previous years, and although the food truck lines were slow, the music was great, and nobody seemed to mind.
The Nice Jazz Festival is one of the best music bargains on the Riviera, with 6 concerts a night for a ticket price of just 39€, and only 29€ if you are 16-25, over 65, a student of any age (bring proof!), or coming with a large family. Teens 10-16 are 14€, and kids under 10 are free. The ticket booth is on the other side of Place Massena, or buy online here.
The Nice Jazz Festival only goes through this Friday, July 17-21, so don’t drag your dancin’ feet: click here for the line up for the rest of the week.
Welcome back, Nice Jazz Festival… we missed you!
UPDATE: After the Jazz Fest is over, the music continues with Nice Music Live, with a week of stellar concerts on the Jazz Fest stages.