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European Jazz Festival Network

Throughout the year, the length and breadth of Europeis animated with a fascinating tapestry of music and cultural festivals that provide a focal point to explorehistory, fashion, architecture andinnovation from around the world.

European Capital of Culture sponsored by the European Union is an annual project to unite Europe through culture whilst creating a legacy through developing cultural activities and infrastructure.

Festivals are a cornerstone of the jazz music industry. In 2011, music festivals accounted for 12% of the turnover of the industry, with €341m. The sector is tipped to grow as jazz begins to have a bigger impact.

X Jazz festival, started by Studnitzky, is the newest jazz festival and has quickly become one of the largest, attracting 14,000 visitors to 86 concerts.

X Jazz focuses on dance, collaboration and innovation and the festival is at the forefront of a cross between jazz and Berlin's famous electronica and techno scene. The festival plans to expand worldwide through satellite festivals, one of which has been established in Turkey.

Jazzfest Berlin, established in 1964, is Germany's oldest jazz festival and operates out of the historic Festspiele building.

Germany's most extensive jazz festival is Enjoy Jazz. Founded in 1999 and funded by the EU, the seven-week event takes place in Heidelberg, Mannheim and Ludwigshafen. It attracts 20,000 people, is 75% self-financed and has a business volume of €1.3m.

Elbjazz in Hamburg is arguably the fastest-growing jazz festival in the country, with 13,000 tickets sold to date for the June event. It was founded by legendary music promoter Karsten Jahnke and supported by Folkert Koopmans of Scorpio productions.

Although the event lost €1m in its first six years, it's now well-positioned to make ends meet as it has secured the Elbphilharmonie concert hall as a primary venue.

The European Jazz Network (EJN) co-founded by the EU's Creative Europe Programme, offers a well-coordinated circuit ofquality festivals across the continent. Established in 2011, the network has more than 130 festivals across the continent and due to popular demand is preparing to launch “Jazz Across Europe,” a creative tourism and information infrastructure for travellers and tour operators.

Jazz Across Europe : Kai Geiger Interview

Jazz Across Europe, a project of Jazzahead Bremen and the European Jazz Network started 5 years ago. The basic idea is someone who visits the Copenhagen Jazz festival is a potential visitor for the Torino jazz festival. And someone who visits the Torino jazz festival can go to enjoy jazz festival. The idea is to put a network of European jazz festivals together who are open and keen to work with tourism and set up a structure for innovative travellers and tour operators to get to know about festivals and locations. The tourism office as we'll as the lifestyle and sight seeing aspects of the city. Most of the concerts are at night time, we like to get them to stay longer in the city to visit other cultural institution sites and have a good time.

We start with 25 European festivals on the 1 st of January 2018 and get as many festivals onto the project over the next few years. We like to start with the well known festivals and the second step is important that the lesser known festivals to be discovered are part of the network. In little places likeFreiberg Austrian where you have mountains and a very nice exclusive jazz festival initiated by a fantastic musician. These aspects make Europe so outstanding.

Some of these locations only have festivals for two or three days like Einsbach at Lake Constance the area where Austria Switzerland and Germany comes together. You have the In tune festival in Austria, the Inzoni sound of the dolomites, a festival on top of the mountains in South Gerou. You do hiking tours together with musicians and stop on the footstep of a big rock and there is a concert. You have beach concerts in Sicilia. Some of them I know. It is a fantastic journey I will start to discover these places and within the next year we could be a good deliverer of information.

Long term there should be a internet website where you can orientate yourself by festival location, artist, time, region to plan. There should be a possibility to plan and get information on events, tickets, accommodation from best and local transport included.

We don't function like a tour operator, more information and links. Jazz travellers should do it alone. They are individuals. We like to give them the guideline so not to lose time.

Jazzahead asked me to take over because it is my passion. I did a large European cultural tourism project in the late 90s for the federation of European city tourism offices.

Once we reach 25 it will be a movement and more and more festivals will join. Then we would lie to include artists as well and the music industry; an information channel for art and culture lovers.

My background is 25 years in cultural tourism. I was working as a tour operator for the last 7 years and chief editor of two cultural magazines and artistic director of a festival in Switzerland. I know tourism, festival management and editorial business. I was founder and creator of the International tourism fare in Berlin 2000 – 2006. I always look at how to get cultural institutions into the tourism market and get audiences to cultural institutions.

I work independent. They ask me if I can take over the idea because they did not know how to get it started. There is a friendship relation and not business. I believe in Europe and networks and have the passion to do it.

Berlin Jazz Festival Interview

There is the history of the festival which is a West Berlin institution and the history of the building which was formerly a theatre in West Berlin before the wall came down. It goes back before WW2 because there was an association in Berlin called the Freestate Assocciation to give access of the working class to the theatre. It was a private organisation and they built the theatre on Postdamer Platz in the East side of the town. The Association could not have access to the building so the city of Berlin gave this site for this building to be built in the 60s by Fritz Bornemann an important German architect of the time. The object of the building was that it is a democratic theatre. So, when you enter the main hall. From every one of the 1000 seats in the main hall you can see the stage, which is the main aim. And from outside you can see the people inside. It is a theatre of the public, before you even enter the theatre. Because it was an egalitarian working class association, if you bought tickets for the performances, you didn't get a seat in the front if you paid more. Their principle was that people with more money didn't necessarily get better seats. Beginning of the 90s after the wall came down, City of Berlin cut the funding. The building was sold to private investors and the association had to move out. The Berlin government then gave this building to the Festspiele. It was a festival agency since the 60s to get important culture into the city of Berlin.

Both of the stories collide here.

It hosts one of the most prestigious festivals in Germany, the Anten festive. Every year there is a jury selecting 10 pieces across all of Germany. Festival is existing 50 years same as the jazz fest which is having its 53 rd edition. It is opened at the time by Martin Luther King. It is also connected as it was West Berlin and happened during the cold war it was a big support for West Berlin and West Germany to bring in mostly African American jazz musicians. Berlin jazzfest was one f the first in Europe. There are three festivals, the jazz festival Berlin, the Muzik fest and the classical music festival in the Philharmonic hall and a festival for contemporary music. And we had a festival for performing arts called Immersive arts to break the situation between festivals and artists and to immerse. It has a strong online and virtual aspect.

Berlin Jazz Festival:

Nadine Deventer said,

There is the history of the festival which is a West Berlin institution and the history of the building which was formerly a theatre in West Berlin before the wall came down. It goes back before WW2 because there was an association in Berlin called the Freestate Assocciation to give access of the working class to the theatre. It was a private organisation and they built the theatre on Potsdamer Platz in the East side of the town. The Association could not have access to the building so the city of Berlin gave this site for this building to be built in the 60s by Fritz Bornemann an important German architect of the time. The object of the building was that it is a democratic theatre. So, when you enter the main hall. From every one of the 1000 seats in the main hall you can see the stage, which is the main aim. And from outside you can see the people inside. It is a theatre of the public, before you even enter the theatre. Because it was an egalitarian working class association, if you bought tickets for the performances, you didn't get a seat in the front if you paid more. Their principle was that people with more money didn't necessarily get better seats. Beginning of the 90s after the wall came down, City of Berlin cut the funding. The building was sold to private investors and the association had to move out. The Berlin government then gave this building to the Festspiele. It was a festival agency since the 60s to get important culture into the city of Berlin.

Both of the stories collide here.

It hosts one of the most prestigious festivals in Germany, the Anten festive. Every year there is a jury selecting 10 pieces across all of Germany. Festival is existing 50 years, same as the jazz fest which is having its 53 rd edition. It is opened at the time by Martin Luther King. It is also connected as it was West Berlin and happened during the cold war it was a big support for West Berlin and West Germany to bring in mostly African American jazz musicians. Berlin jazzfest was one of the first in Europe. There are three festivals, the jazz festival Berlin, the Muzik fest and the classical music festival in the Philharmonic hall and a festival for contemporary music. And we had a festival for performing arts called Emmersive arts to break the situation between festivals and artists and to immerse. It has a strong online and virtual aspect.

 

Sebastian Studnitsky (XJazz) said …

Jazz means being curious, being open to everything that is happening, to develop and to move to new directions. We thought it was the time to mount a festival that has a focus on digging into the corners of the genre to see what is going on between jazz and electronic music and what is going on between jazz and new classical music, jazz and minimal music and sophisticated song writers. We wanted to really open up the genre, something which is already happening between the musicians. The jazz musicians play a bebop beat and then afterwards they go to a techno club. The techno DJ's are collecting blue note records, there is so much cross over happening in the scene but not so much in the structure – the market, the press, the festivals which are staying in boxes – this is jazz, this is electronic music.

We wanted to open it up a little bit so we put together this festival. We are doing this festival in a very small neighbourhood in Kreuzberg, former Western Germany, but the geographic direction is East. It is a neighbourhood where you find all these electronic clubs like Waterberg. There is another club called Berghein which is not in Kreuzberg but is very close. It is a centre of the European electronic scene. So we decided to make a festival there to reach the audience because this is where the young crowd come to go to the electronic clubs. This is how I imagined jazz having been back in the 60's. It was the hippest thing. The hip young cool people went to a jazz concert. Now we have this vibe in the electronic scene so we wanted to bring it together.

From the first year we became the biggest jazz festival in Berlin. This year we expect 15 000 people. We do 70 concerts in 5 days. 3 main days, one warm up day and one chill out day. We play in 10 venues, most of them are electronic venues and indie-rock venues but we also play in a church. We are not going to jazz clubs we are going the other way because we are looking for that confrontation. We try to do electronic music in the church and a bebop jam in a techno club – that kind of stuff.

All that brought us a quite young audience which was quite remarkable for Germany because the average age for a jazz audience is something like 60. And at our festival it was 30 – so we were able to get a young audience and the interesting thing is these young people are super interested in jazz and super open. Somehow we can really feel there is a boom for jazz. If you go to a hip coffee place somewhere in the hipster areas, 90% play jazz in the background and all the hipsters with the beards are collecting jazz records. There is quite a hype and we managed to connect to this scene.

Besides the philosophy of opening up the genre a little bit, we also have a focus on the Berlin scene, which means also the international scene. Because, Berlin is so full of international musicians who are either staying here regular, temporary or a lot of people come here to produce their records, or their bands are from Berlin or they have friends here and stay for the summer. So, we are trying to show that scene. And it is quite smooth for us. If you look at the line-up it looks international but 70-80% of the musicians just live around the corner. They look international but actually they just moved to Berlin like two months ago. We managed to programme a quite international line-up without needing almost any airport shuttles!

There are so many connections between Berlin and all the countries. There are so many young musicians who come here to study or who come here for one or two years, a little bit like the European version of New York and we are trying to show all these threads, from Berlin but also to Berlin.

The organisation behind this we do it for the love and actually for fun. It is a non-profit organisation. The core team is doing everything without any payment. Which is tough but we are creating a creative energy.

We have the X Jazz festival in Berlin but it is now getting bigger. It is more like a network. We call it, X Jazz live, which means we are programming concerts in Berlin two or three times a month. We are also spreading it throughout Germany. We start with promoting and organising concerts under the brand X Jazz. Also we have a booking agency it is called X Jazz booking and this is where the whole idea is coming from. We had a booking agency and then started programming the festival with our friends and family and became quite big. This booking agency X Jazz booking we do international booking for German artists but also booking for international artists coming to Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

From the first year we had the idea to always have a focus on one partner country. It was Iceland in the first year, Israel and Turkey, and Poland this year. Focus means we are inviting 5 or 6 bands from the country and most of the time there is collaboration with the cultural institute sponsoring. And we also try and organise an X Jazz festival in the partner country so we get two or three events in Iceland, Israel, Italy, Poland, and Finland and two weeks ago we did the most successful festival in Istanbul and Ankara. We are spreading the brand and doing something international.

With people building walls, this idea of connecting countries is more important than ever. It turns out that most of the countries we picked turned out to be political delegates, Turkey we did our festival during the election which was quite an operation. Poland and Germany also. It is very interesting and so nice to see how easy it is to cross a border with music. You put musicians on stage from different countries and immediately do it.

In each festival in Berlin and the partner countries we have one band called Ensemble X where we put together musicians from both scenes and they rehearse together and this is the creative heart of the collaboration.

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