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Copenhagen Jazz Festival

Copenhagen Jazz Festival
Photo by alberto.quaglia

Jazz is not for everyone. It’s one of those genres that are perceivable only for those who appreciate real music, with no artificial sound effects and so on. Copenhagen Jazz Festival is the best ever event for such music-fans.

The festival is more than 30 years old, and it has managed to win the hearts of many during those years.

The artists performing at the festival range from world-known names to local potentials. You can finally be presented at the concert of your favorites performer, and you can discover a new talent at the same time.

This is what makes the festival unique. It’s not about how famous you are, but how good you are. If your music is worth it, then you will be able to have your own concerts at the festival.

For beginners, those who are just beginning their path to jazz fame, it can be a one-chance-in-a-lifetime. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to get noticed and receive access to much wider audiences.

Despite this, the festival audience adds up to around 250.000 visitors annually. Not a bad start, isn’t it? There is an absolute age variety in the city during the festival. Jazz attracts not only 35+ music fans, but the youth as well.

Some of the most famous performers that have participated in this festival over its existence are Sonny Rollins, Oscar Peterson, Ray Charles, Niels-Henning, Keith Jarrett, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, and so on.

The History

Jazz Festival
Photo by virtualwayfarer

The history of this festival starts in second half of the 20th century. The city of Copenhagen was starting to be filled with jazz. The music was coming from almost everywhere, cafes, bars, Danish homes, etc.

Finally in 1979 the first Jazz Festival took place in Copenhagen. Of course, at first there were only a few venues with a limited number of artists, but people loved and that was the most important thing.

Gradually, the event spread itself and became one of the major events in whole Scandinavia. It remains one of the most beloved festivals. In addition to this, the number of artists has considerably grown, all parts of the city become a participant during the jazz days.

The Dates

If you are planning to visit the festival, leave the first week of July free. This is the date of Copenhagen Jazz Festival.

The festival lasts 10 days . . .10 days of truly magnificent music.

In 2012 the festival took place from 6th to 15th of July. The performers list included Brad Mehldau, Wayne Shorter, Jan Allen, Francois Moutin, Joe Lovano, Anoushka Shankar, and many others.

The Venues

Dancing at the festival
Photo by SwingShoes in Copenhagen

The annual Jazz festival unites around 100 venues in the city of Copenhagen. These venues together host 800-1000 concerts each year. This is quite an astonishing record.

To imagine that almost everyone in Copenhagen those days somehow encounters a jazz concert!

Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2012 included 110 venues in general.

Some venues are cleverly placed in or around historical sites of Copenhagen, promoting the Danish heritage once more.

Jazz concerts take place not only in big music halls, but small cafes and bars as well. The organizers have managed to bring the festival everywhere.

By the way, when you leave your home or hotel, you don’t even have to find the festival, as it will find you much quicker.

The Tickets

Tickets for Jazz FestivalAs there is a variety of venues in all over the city, some venues might be available only with tickets. This kind of concerts usually present world famous artists.

But there are ones that require no admission fee. Most of those venues are open-air and located in parks and gardens.

These concerts are usually not extremely significant in the context of the artists’ fame, but this doesn’t mean that they are no worth visiting. In fact, the most relaxing time and pleasantly surprising discoveries are hidden in these concerts.

The tickets for those few concerts can be purchased online. Some tickets might also be available at the entrance. However, if you really want to attend a specific concert, it’s better not to test your luck and get safe with a pre-ordered ticket beforehand.

The Program

If you just got inspired and need to know more details about when? where? and how? You can download the program of the upcoming festival (if it’s already released) to your smartphone and study it in detail.

The program usually comes out in May, and can be purchased at supermarkets, libraries, in a word, wherever there is paper.


Jazz Festival in Copenhagen
Photo by fonzi74/gbCrates

Although the performers and the music are different and unique in their own ways, they have to be related to one general theme, that is, classic jazz elements. This, however, doesn’t mean that performers are bound to any specific rules.

They are free to experiment as much as they want, moreover, their experiments, if successful, can be the start of a brand new trend in music. The only thing is that they should not get too carried away with experiments, otherwise they might blow something up.

Despite this, there could be some exceptions for performers that represent genres other than jazz, just to keep the variety fresh.

Besides performers and fans, the festival can turn into a fantastic event for volunteers as well. As any good thing, the festival also needs the help of people who are eager to realize it through their honest and dedicated work.

Every year there are around 200 volunteers taking part in the festival. Next year you can be one of them. Great time . . . guaranteed.

Quick Facts

  • First festival – 1979
  • Hosting city – Copenhagen
  • Dates – first week of July
  • Duration – 10 days
  • Venues – over 100
  • Concerts – 800-1000 annually
  • Tickets – few concerts with admission fee, other free of charge
  • Visitors – 250.000 annually
  • Famous performers – Sonny Rollins, Oscar Peterson, Ray Charles, Niels-Henning, Keith Jarrett, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, etc.

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