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Montreux Jazz Festival Newbie

I will be in the Montreux area with my fiancée and her parents this year (2015) during the Jazz festival. The dates will be Mon. July 6 through Th. July 9th. We are staying in an house through airbnb in Yens - just west of Lausanne. We will have a car. I have a few specific, and a few general, questions about the fest. I usually don't over-plan but I want to make a good impression on my future in-laws and I hope to avoid making any obvious mistakes or missteps. We do have tickets to one of the shows at night, which I'm excited about. That night we might be out a little later since there could be after-shows to see and maybe a few more drinks to imbibe (soda for the designated driver).

The website says they have parking on the outskirts of town with shuttles to take you in and out. Any advice on those? Such as make sure you don't miss the last shuttle because its earlier than you think or something, or show up early because the lots fill up fast.

How accessible is the free music? Will I need to plan our presence at the various offerings or does it lend itself to wandering from stage to stage?

Any general tips, tricks, warnings, advice for a first time MJF goer?


Posted by
16834 posts

Never been there, but I do see last years festival transport guide.
You might think of leaving the car in Morges and taking the train to the festival. Looks like midweek there will be a bus leaving at 2:30 am to Geneva that stops in Morges. The last train from Morges to Yens is 11:30 pm, thus leave the car in Morges if you are staying late.
In Switzerland, taking public transportation is always a good option.

Posted by
3336 posts

I have never been to the festival itself but I have spent a good deal of time in Montreux during the festival. The remote lots are not that far from the town center. Depending on the schedules of when you want to see the concerts, keep in mind that you'll probably be driving at night going home. The main highway that connects the towns along the north side of Lake Geneva is wide, modern, and very well lit and maintained. Get GPS navigation to negotiate the side roads that you will most likely need to take to get back to your rental house once you get off of the highway. Sometimes they are not well lit and it can be difficult to navigate.
That said, the highway around the north side of the lake can be extremely congested, especially during peak rush hour. Even this far from Geneva, you have people commuting there from all areas around the lake.
If it were me though, I'd ride the train. It isn't far from Yens to Montreux - about an hour or so by train. Montreux is an extremely compact town and the train station is an easy walk to the main venue.'s quite hilly so if you aren't able to walk up and down hills, you could consider taking a cab down to the venue and then back up to the train station after.
When we were there, we passed several of the remote lots during the day and they were not full. We saw shuttles running frequently and they looked quite nice. I'm sure that the lots fill up in the evening.

Posted by
2580 posts

Yes, train station to concert venue is a short walk, but as noted it's downhill towards the lake (on the way) with some cobblestones. A consideration for us older folks. The train station is a bit rundown and perhaps a little scary, they have special lighting in the restrooms to discourage junkies from shooting up. The Fairmont seems to be the base for most activities fest-related, you could eat or dink there before or after.