Subject: Jazz Festivals
Hi Anne,

I love going to Jazz festivals in Europe, because they combine two of my favorite hobbies, and for some reason Europeans seem to appreciate Jazz much more than Americans.

I have been to the July festivals in Umbria, as well as the July festivals in the south of France: Grande Parade du Jazz at Cimiez, in the Greco-Roman ampitheatre above Nice, (shown in the film, Round Midnight.) as well as the smaller festival only 30 minutes or so away almost on the beach at Juan les Pines. (Very close to the heavy hitting hotels on the Cap d'Antibes.) Both French festivals are great fun. The Umbria festival is my favorite, however, as it is spread out over locations all over the exquisite hill towns of Umbria, and runs for about 10 days. Some of the events are free, while in France, everything is fee based, and pretty expensive. The biggest concerts are held in Perugia, and the entire atmosphere of the town is of a giant party of music. They also have a winter festival in December, which is only a few years old, but supposed to be quite amazing. I have never been to the North Sea festival in the Netherlands, but that is probably the biggest one in Europe, and may be my next target. It also looks to be a gas. The Montreaux festival has become less of a jazz festival, and more of one celebrating pop and smooth jazz. Another well known festival in France is in Vienne (near Lyon) and is also in the summer, as is the San Sebastion festival in Spain. Most, if not all of the festivals are in July. There is not much in August, or even the rest of the year.

Jazz Times Magazine publishes a useful issue each spring that has all of the festival information for the coming year. There are many web sites which have details as well. Umbria always has a web site, where one can book tickets, hotels, etc. If you want any of these URLs or have any other questions, please email me back. I know of some great, inexpensive places to stay in Umbria.

Lastly, if you love music, I would urge anyone who hasn't already done so to see an opera in one of the great venues in Italy, such as La Scala, or my personal favorite, the outdoor colosseum in Verona. It is all about music, beauty, and passion, and there is no place like Italy, amongst Italians, to experience such a powerful, memorable art form.

enough of my babbling - thanks for the interest Jonathan Chimene, Chicago