JazzAscona: a hot, successful 35th edition

Monty Alexander

JazzAscona 2019 has had its final celebration on Saturday night, closing a successful edition that featured more than 220 concerts in ten days. A positive 35th edition, both in terms of music as well as visitor numbers, with a stable attendance of 45,000 guests.

Guido Casparis, President of JazzAscona, expressed his satisfaction: “We are happy, the festival’s outcome was positive. We were able to confirm the success of last year’s edition, which we didn’t take for granted. In particular, the attendance on free-entry days was exceptional, on some days it was higher than over the weekend. We’ll take some time to evaluate things. Thinking ahead, finances permitting, we might go ahead and offer 10 free-entry days”.

This edition was certainly also characterized by the hot weather. “We started the festival with our traditional day of rain – continues Casparis – and were suddenly hit by a heatwave (on Thursday, at midnight, the thermometer at the Ascona lungolago was only slightly below 30 degrees), which unsettled the routines of our festival goers; many chose to postpone their visit to the piazza till later in the evening, penalizing some of the artists who performed earlier”.

The heatwave also took its toll on some of the visitors and artists, who suffered from heat-related sickness. Three musicians ended up in the emergency room on Thursday and Friday.

Nicolas Gilliet, the festival’s artistic director, highlighted how, alongside Othella Dallas, Leroy Jones, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and Ashlin Parker with his Trumpet Mafia project, one of the stars of this edition was, without doubt, Monty Alexander. “We’re extremely pleased to have been able to offer a free live performance by a talent of his level to JazzAscona visitors”.

Beyond the success of individual groups and artists, Gilliet also underlined the consensus around this edition’s program, as a whole. “Our visitors really let themselves go to the sound of the music, maybe more than other years. I saw so many smiles along the lakeside. This 2019 edition will also be remembered for the success of our musical choices. We’re obviously super happy about this!”.

The dates are already set for the 36th edition, from June 25 to July 4, 2020.