Photo credit: Nada Žgank

For almost 60 years, Slovenia’s capital has played host to the Ljubljana Jazz Festival, one of the oldest jazz festivals in Europe. In addition to the established names, Ljubljana Jazz Festival also presents rising artists from all over the world and from diverse musical projects, while always putting a special emphasis on Slovenian musical creativity.

This year’s 59th edition, organised by- and located at Cankarjev dom – Cultural and Congress Centre (CD), will be held between the 27th and 30th of June and will have an even bolder programme with an even larger representation of the Slovenian musicians then before. In fact, »The 59th Ljubljana Jazz Festival will have a record number of the local artists,« says one of the artistic directors, Bogdan Benigar (Jazz and World Music Director at CD).

Around 130 musicians from 14 different countries will participate at the festival. The main novelty of the festival is its two-part programme: seven concerts will be held in the halls of the CD, while its adjacent park is for the first time promised as a  special place intended for ten young ensembles who will get their opportunity to present themselves at one of the most prominent jazz festivals in Europe.

Among the foreign ensembles, performing in the CD’s halls, the visitors will have a chance to enjoy a diverse and rich programme. For example, a trio assembled by the bassist Dave Holland (known after his collaboration with Miles Davis), Zakir Hussain (the leading Indian tabla player), and Chris Potter (one of the leading American saxophone players); a concert of Dhafer Youssef (Tunisian oud player); and the Portico Quartet (one of the main ensembles of the younger generation from Great Britain).

»The festival’s new format will offer not just a creation of new audience and new music, but also a creation of new jazz community,« notes Edin Zubćević, artistic co-director of Ljubljana Jazz Festival and also artistic director of Jazz Fest Sarajevo. The CD’s park, offered to Slovenian musicians of different generations will for a place to present themselves and their musical style. »The 59th festival is not planned as an old man who is watching television, but rather as someone who is riding a bicycle and is gaining new opportunities in music,« adds Zubćević.

Ljubljana Jazz Festival is organised by Cankarjev dom – Cultural and Congress Centre, the leading cultural centre in Slovenia, that also hosted the European Jazz Conference in September 2017. The proof that the Ljubljana Jazz Festival trumpets alongside world-renowned jazz festivals is its recent win of the 7th European Jazz Network (EJN) Award for Adventurous Programming.

The jury explained the reasons for the award going to Ljubljana Jazz Festival: »For its progressive programming that embraces the whole art form with an emphasis on European jazz while exemplifying the values of EJN such as geographical diversity and gender balance.« The EJN Award will be celebrated in Ljubljana during the Festival, as well as during the 5th European Jazz Conference taking place in Lisbon, Portugal, at Centro Cultural de Belem between 13 and 16 September 2018.

Ljubljana Jazz Festival – a necessary visit for any congress guest staying in Slovenia’s capital between the 27th and 30th of June 2018.