The JazzAscona festival is one of the main international events dedicated to classic jazz and New Orleans’ Beat. From its establishment in 1985 to this year’s edition, here are some of its milestones.

1975–1984 Hannes Anrig founds and directs the “Festa New Orleans” in Lugano.

1985 The festival moves to Ascona.

1986–1990 Ascona becomes one of the European capitals of traditional jazz.

1987 The Mayor of New Orleans, Sidney J. Barthelemy, visits Ascona for the first time.

1990 The festival invites the famous American jazz promoter, George Wein.

1993 The Ascona Tourism Office becomes owner of the festival.

1997 Karl Heinz Ern is the new artistic director.

1999 Fort the first time, the festival’s balance exceeds 1,000,000 Swiss francs.

2001 The New Orleans "Palm Court Jazz Café” moves to Ascona for the festival.

2003- 2015 Nicolas Gilliet is artistic director. The festival comes of age, widens its music offer, and experiences a quality improvement.

2004 New name: «JazzAscona – New Orleans & Classic».

2006 JazzAscona and singer Lillian Boutté raise more than 200,000 Euros to help New Orleans musicians recover from hurricane Katrina. 

2006 The first Ascona Jazz Awards are conferred.

2007 JazzAscona and Radio Swiss Jazz establish the Swiss Jazz Award.

2009 Celebration of Ascona’s 25th jazz anniversary

2013 A new formula with five free entries out of nine. 

2014 For JazzAscona’s 30th anniversary, a crowning event dedicated to Louis Armstrong.

2015 “The New Orleans Experience – Music & Food from Louisiana”: JazzAscona signs a collaboration agreement with New Orleans.

2016 The Radiotelevisione svizzera di lingua italiana, covers the festival with more than 40 hours of live radio broadcasts.

2017 Is one of the most rainy editions: the festival is alive and the audience chooses bluesman Randolph Matthews as artist of the year.

2018 10 days and not a drop of rain bring luck to a festival that offers a wide selection of R&B and funk. JT& the Ka-nection win the audience award. We look back to the unforgettable concert by Franco Ambrosetti, winner of the Swiss Jazz Award 2018.

2019 The memorable performances of Monty Alexander as well as the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra are among 2019’s main events, an edition that will go down in history also because of the heatwave and as the last one under the artistic direction of Nicolas Gilliet, in charge of the musical programming since 2004.