The town is characteristic of the bastide in the area – central village square with the town hall the main feature, with the village shops clustered along the four sides of the square.
Wide arched pavements allow dining out of doors in the summer, when music is piped around the square.
JAZZ IN MARCIAC
The town convent (now the town hall and cinema) and church steeples are lit up at night.
The town is also home to many restaurants, including “Le Monde A L’Envers” (The World Upside Down), run by London chef Victoria Heath.
The fabulous destiny of Marciac displays the story of the city, from its foundation in 1298 to the birth and the development of Jazz in Marciac festival.
A great emphasis is placed on jazz in the town, which is taught as a regular subject in local schools.
This event takes place at the end of July and the beginning of August. This festival founded in 1978 by jean Louis Guilhaumon, welcomes more than 200,000 visitors a year and it’s one of the major Jazz festivals in Europe.
The Jazz in Marciac festival always had a strong selection of artists among those; Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Coleman, Oscar Peterson, Gerry Mulligan, Herbie Hancock, John Zorn, Lionel Hampton, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Sonny Rollins, Diana Krall and the Buena Vista Social Club.
During the 2 weeks, the medieval center of town hosts this fantastic free event under a giant tent, capable of entertaining between 5,000 and 6,000 people.
A marquee (“le chapiteau”) capable of seating 6,000 is erected on the rugby field, with concerts hosted there every night for the duration of the festival, and free music from 11:00 till 20:00 every day.
Stalls selling a variety of related and non-related merchandise are erected in and around the center of the village square, where free concerts are given during the day.
Other musical events take place around the town at the same time, such as the “Atelier de Jazz”.