Sainte-Adresse may have been the capital of Belgium during the First World War, but more recently - since 1997 - it has become the capital of all types of jazz for the Pentecost weekend. It has become a resounding success. But 15 years ago, only a few enthusiasts headed up by Martine Lajarige and Jean-Paul Bravard (adopted Sainte-Adresse inhabitant) believed it was possible.
The original objective was to liven up the coastline and convert it into a score, with the waves forming a musical stave entirely dedicated to jazz music.
The baby’s first steps were timid - no sound systems, groups playing in bars, and six hard-working volunteers working countless hours. At the time there was a contest. The tendency was for “classical and traditional” jazz. Ten groups were selected and played before a prestigious jury: Marc Laferrière, Daniel Huck, Philippe Adler and
Bob Quibel, originally from Le Havre and travelling companion to the famous and unforgettable Claude Bolling! “Sainte-Adresse Dixie Days”, as the festival is called, was on the right track. Two years later the City of Le Havre joined the event, contributing logistic and financial support. As a result, the Dixie Days gathered momentum with four stages facing the sea. Just like the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish, suddenly the number of volunteers went from six to thirty, and the number of concerts - free in most cases - reached forty.
The growing baby decided to widen its horizons, stopped the contest and chose to change the rhythm, opening up to other styles. As a result, Martine Lajarige and Jean-Paul Bravard, the souls of the festival, received prestigious groups capable of turning many organisers green with envy, including headliners such as: Rhoda Scott, Irakli, les Gigolos, Marc Fosset, Lionel and Stéphane Belmondo, Marc Leferrière, Pierrick Pedron, Daniel Huck, Christophe Dal Sasso, Tchavolo Schmitt, Bob Mintzer, Angelo Debarre…
You can’t do better than that!