The Festival’s history

History of the Festival, from its beginnings to today

In 1983, two young and passionate dreamers, Daniel Thentz and Emmanuel Gétaz, created the Cully Jazz Festival. Since then, it has become one of the biggest Jazz festivals in Switzerland.

A brief history


For two days, Cully vibrates to the rhythms of Jazz. Although the programme is modest, the event is a success.


The Festival’s budget is doubled, and a couple of famous local jazzmen perform in the Salle Davel which is packed for the occasion with an enthusiastic audience.


The word « Festival » appears on the poster. For the first time, international musicians participate in the four-day-long event.


The OFF Festival is born. The organisers, all volunteers, are determined to take up a new challenge: to transform Cully into a meeting place for Jazz lovers during an entire week.
In the years that followed, the IN and OFF Festivals continue to grow. The IN Festival is dedicated to major Jazz movements. The salle Davel can accommodate 300 people and welcomes acoustic trio or solo acts. The OFF Festival has a completely different aim, offering free concerts in a casual atmosphere in several cafés and caveau or wine cellars.

1 November 1995

a fire destroys the Salle Davel and forces the IN Festival to move to the Place d’Armes next to the lake. Thanks to the support of the Lavaux-Cully Jazz Foundation, the 14th edition still takes place in March 1996. The paying 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 to present the latest musical trends. The club also houses a restaurant and two bars.


A second stage in the newly rebuilt Salle Davel is added, the Next Step. From now on, the venue welcomes new creations and acoustic concerts. After the concerts, DJs keep festivalgoers dancing late into the night.


The Salle Davel, dedicated to new and innovative musical projects, is renamed the « Next Step ».


The Cully Jazz Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary. With a budget exceeding 1 million francs, a volunteer committee of 11 people, 200 staff members, a permanent office, annual sales of over 10’000, over 42’000 visitors over 9 days, and extensive media coverage, the Festival has become a major event. The same year, Emmanuel Gétaz leaves the Festival, entrusting a solid team with the continued growth of the Festival.


The Cully Jazz Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary, a great feat for one of Switzerland’s most intimate yet influential Jazz festivals. The Festival continues to welcome more than 40’000 visitors every year.


The Festival can pride itself on maintaining nearly balanced accounts, reflecting a wonderful 2008 edition, and excellent attendance, despite the rather gloomy weather. The Festival’s venues have never been so full! This gratifying result encourages the committee to develop new ideas.


This year, the Festival is determined to improve the visitor’s and adds a new facility, le Salon, situated on the shores of Lake Geneva.


The Festival is still in great shape and proud to be the first spring event in Cully. It inaugurates new facilities (a redesigned Chapiteau) and increases its commitment to environmental issues. The Festival never stops growing.


This year’s edition is outstanding, thanks to an excellent program as well as beautiful weather conditions which attract a huge number of visitors. The audience is enthusiastic and weekend attendance rates reach 50’000 – a new record. This splendid 29th edition allows the committee and the organisation team to look forward to preparing and celebrating the Festival’s 30th anniversary in 2012.


The exceptional musical encounters and the artists’ generosity brings the 30th edition to a magnificent close. However, due to disastrous weather conditions, only 45’000 festivalgoers attend as opposed to 50’000 in 2011. This drop in attendance causes significant losses in the food and beverage sector, which are fortunately covered by the financial reserves of the Festival without having to ask for the support of the Lavaux-Cully-Jazz Foundation. This year, Cully Jazz has inaugurated new venues for the OFF Festival: the Venoge, Cully’s first floating caveau, the Caveau Weber, dedicated to world music, and the Salon, an ideal place to relax on the shores of Lake Geneva.


The Cully Jazz Festival’s 31st reaches its peak on Saturday 13 April 2013. Thanks to a brilliant program, rich in discoveries, the Festival sells 12’500 tickets and attracts over 50’000 visitors, as opposed to 45’500 in 2012. Despite April’s changeable weather conditions, the Festival ends financially strong.


Under radiant sunshine and with a host of talent coming from all four corners of the globe, the 2015 edition of Cully Jazz Festival was not only beautiful but also set a new record, with 14’300 tickets sold. The event attracted a total of 65’000 festivalgoers, thus equalling the number of visitors in 2014.


From the Chapiteau to the Temple, via Next Step, le Club and the village wine cellars, more than 55’000 festivalgoers attended the 9 day-long Festival, despite the changeable weather.  A first at this 34th edition, the new Club stage welcomed artists from some of  the finest current jazz formations. In total, 12 concerts at the Festival IN were sold out and 13’300 tickets sold.


From 13 to 21 April 2018, nearly 150 concerts, including more than 100 free concerts, animated the stages, cellars, cafés, streets and the shores of the lake. The program, both demanding and accessible, attracted more than 70’000 curious, reckless festivalgoers, lovers of live music and a friendly atmosphere. The IN Festival was an exceptional success with more than 15’000 tickets sold and 17 full concerts.


Following the coronavirus pandemic, the Cully Jazz Festival has been forced to give up its 2020 edition, which was scheduled to take place from March 27 to April 4, 2020. Thanks to institutional help, the support of its sponsors and the immense generosity of its public, the Festival can look to its future with serenity. The organisation team is closely following the evolution of this pandemic and hopes that the health and safety conditions will guarantee the holding of a next edition in 2021.

Thank you for living the dream with us!