Visit Auvergne

Everything You Need to Know About the Sancy Snow Jazz Festival

What could be better than a jazz festival set amidst the cloud- and snow-capped vales of Auvergne? Every year in midwinter, talented artists from around the globe pack up their instruments and descend on the lofty massif du Sancy for the Sancy Snow Jazz Festival. Here, beneath the shadow of Auvergne’s highest mountain — the puy de Sancy — they move like troubadours among the masses, lifting hearts with musical magic and banishing the winter blues.

First created in 1989 by Mont-Dore residents, the Sancy Snow Jazz Festival has since risen to become one of Auvergne’s most popular musical festivals, drawing thousands of people every year. “What I love most about Sancy Jazz is the quality of the programming but also the very friendly atmosphere,” Bruno Chatard, the festival’s president, told me. Chatard, a classically trained musician himself, added that the original purpose of the event was to provide high-quality entertainment in an area that — at the time — lacked cultural spaces.

Dedicated to the New Orleans, Dixieland, and Swing jazz forms, the festival usually runs for about a week and takes place in a number of different bars, restaurants, and auditoriums across Bourboule, Mont-Dore, Besse, Chambon-sur-Lac, and other villages in the Sancy communauté. Over the years, it’s featured dozens of heavily accoladed and internationally renowned performers, such as Grammy Award winners Cécile McLorin Salvant and Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown.

The 2024 programme, which includes fifty concerts, can be found here. Most of these shows — thanks to partnerships with Sancy’s office of tourism and other local sponsors — are free to attend.

For more on the Sancy Snow Jazz Festival, click here.