The 12th EJN Award for Adventurous Programming goes to A L’ARME! festival



We are very happy to announce the winner of the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming for 2023: A L’ARME! festival in Berlin, Germany. The Award, this year reaching its 12th edition, is bestowed each year by the Europe Jazz Network (EJN) to a European promoter who succeeds in creating visionary and fascinating musical programmes for its audience.

The Award winner was selected through a two-phase process: in the first stage all the 190+ EJN member organisations from 35 countries were asked to indicate a potential award winner (not necessarily an EJN member). After this, a selected jury of EJN members and other respected music professionals met online in April 2023 to choose the winner out of the resulting list of 18 nominated festivals, clubs, and concert venues.

Comment from the Award jury 2023: 

“For the second time, in its twelve editions, the EJN Award goes back to the city of Berlin, and to one of its most audacious musical encounters: A L’ARME! festival. A relatively young event, started in 2012, with an independent character and a strong personal commitment by its two creators, the festival established itself as a reference point in Europe for avant-garde jazz, experimental and improvised music. At the intersection between radicalism, quality and energy, its programme makes little or no compromises, and includes premieres, commissioned works and a ‘handpicked’ selection of artists that often work across genres. 

It is a festival that is not afraid to take musical risks and guides its audience through a highly curated ‘dramaturgy’ for each festival day. It also developed an innovative and distinct aesthetic, both in its visual presentation and in the way stages are set up and different media are being used in the performances. All these elements made it the perfect choice for this year’s award. Huge congratulations to A L’ARME! festival, winner of the 12th EJN Award for Adventurous Programming!”

The 2023 Jury was composed by: Kornelia Vossebein (Stadtgarten Köln, Germany), Judyth Babin (Manag’Art, France), Nick Dunston (artist, US/Germany), Marina Fernández (Plataforma Jazz España, Spain), Bob van Heur (Le Guess Who? - 2022 Award winner, the Netherlands)

Comment by founder & artistic director Louis Rastig and executive director Karina Mertin: 

“Ten years spent working as cultural producers in Berlin has rewarded us with an electrifying artistic growth. We’ve been lured beyond our comfort zones toward the difference of other creative energies thriving here. Receiving recognition from the Europe Jazz Network’s esteemed jury is a tremendous honour that also validates our belief in improvisation & experimentation. Our ethos of embracing hybrid modalities, challenging the status quo, and working towards what we do not yet know has transformed A L'ARME!, a niche summer jazz festival, into a whole cultural project that extends into contemporary art and social issues.

As a pacifist „statement festival“ with full focus on the personalities behind the music, we are grateful that we can offer a platform for extraordinary artists to engage new audiences where staid hierarchs can be flattened, categorical assumptions rethought, and empowering social relations imagined. 

A L’ARME! is only deserving of this award because of the efforts of others. Heartfelt thanks to the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe for their trust in the form of funding. This gratitude extends to our audiences for their openness as well as to all our partners. Sincere respect and awe are also felt toward the inspiring artists whose work is the reason for our being. Thank you!“

The 12th EJN Award for Adventurous Programming will be celebrated during the 9th European Jazz Conference in Marseille, France, between 14 and 17 September 2023, with the EJN members and many other professionals from the creative music sector in Europe and beyond.

About A L’ARME! festival 2023
10. - 12. August, Berlin

Welcome to a state of emergency: A L’ARME! is a call to disobedience. A signal indicating it is time to face new challenges and leave our routines behind. In times of upheaval, the festival applies the anarchic character of jazz to other fields and genres. Three days at Radialsystem in Berlin offer an interdisciplinary variety of protagonists, all taking part in an awakening that is centred not only around music, but also around art and performance. All strong statements that could stand alone, and yet when they are brought into a polyphonic dialogue, they become even more impactful. In this way, A L’ARME! remains true to its subversive impetus in its eleventh year: to challenge, inspire, and open the audience’s eyes and ears. 

About the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming
Each year, since 2012, EJN the Europe-wide association of promoters, presenters and organisations who specialise in creative music, contemporary jazz and improvised music, awards a European promoter who exemplifies the values of EJN and skilfully succeeds to create visionary and fascinating musical programmes for the audience.

Previous winners of the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming have been: Le Guess Who? festival in the Netherlands (2022), Jazzfest Berlin by Berliner Festspiele in Germany (2021), Victoria-Nasjonal Jazzscene in Norway ex-aequo with Porgy and Bess in Austria (2020), JazzFest Sarajevo in Bosnia Herzegovina (2019), Jazz Festival Ljubljana in Slovenia (2018), Tampere Jazz Happening in Finland (2017), Manchester Jazz Festival in the UK (2016), Moers Festival in Germany (2015), Jazz em Agosto in Portugal (2014), Bimhuis in the Netherlands (2013) and 12 Points Festival in Ireland (2012).

In addition to the Award for Adventurous Programming, EJN established two other awards: the EJN Award for “Music & Community” (first edition in 2018), highlighting outstanding projects of social inclusion through creative music, and the “Zenith Award for Emerging Artists” (first edition in 2019), in collaboration with 12 Points Festival.

About the Europe Jazz Network
Europe Jazz Network (EJN) was created in 1987 as a Europe-wide non-profit association of live music promoters and presenters. Currently EJN includes 191 organisations (festivals, clubs and concert venues and national/regional support organisations) in 35 countries, and it is one of the cultural networks supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union for the period 2022-2024.

EJN's mission is to encourage, promote and support the development of jazz and creative improvised music within the European scene and to create opportunities for artists, organisers, and audiences from all different countries to meet and communicate.

Photo: LISA CAY MILLER & VICKY METTLER at A L’ARME! festival, by (c) Carlos Juica