Jazz Fest Sarajevo is bestowed with the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming 2019



The Europe Jazz Network (EJN) is pleased to reveal the winner of the 8th EJN Award for Adventurous Programming. The Award goes to Jazz Fest Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, this year marking its 23rd edition.

The Award winner was selected through a two-phase process: firstly all the 140+ EJN member organisations were asked to indicate a potential award winner (not necessarily an EJN member) through a nomination system, and secondly a selected jury of EJN members and other respected music professionals chose the winner out of the resulting list of 21 nominated promoters (festivals, clubs or concert venues).

This process was introduced last year in order to expand the scope of the consultations about the Award winner, that beforehand was selected only by a jury, now engaging the whole EJN membership and harnessing the great professional knowledge inside the Network. This process makes the choice of the winner even more representative of what Network members consider to be some of the best practices in live music programming, a sector that is flourishing in Europe, deeply committed to the development of new musics and their promotion to local audiences and communities.

Jazz Fest Sarajevo started in 1997, only 18 month after the end of the war and the siege of the city. Despite very difficult conditions in the country, during all these years the festival managed not only to survive but to establish a reputation as an international event of the highest class, with innovative and challenging music played in front of an ever-growing audience and with a special attention to premieres and concerts by national and European rising stars. In addition, the festival has played an essential role in revitalising the cultural scene of the city bringing together fragments of a society affected by the challenges of the post-war reconstructions.

The EJN Award 2019 for Adventurous Programming will be celebrated during the 6th European Jazz Conference taking place in Novara, Italy, between 12 and 15 September 2019 as well as during a public ceremony held at the 23rd Jazz Fest Sarajevo, taking place this year between 7 and 10 November 2019.

Comment from the Award Jury 2019
“Jazz Fest Sarajevo is an icon of creativity with an adventurous, open-minded approach, producing a full-hearted event which stays in the memory of each musician or visitor forever. It seems very fitting this year to give the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming to a festival that brilliantly managed to combine inspiring music and the creation of a strong community around it. It's a unique experience born from a simple idea during the war and is now getting well-deserved international recognition in times of peace. We commend the festival for keeping courage in extremely hard conditions in order to fulfil the core idea behind it: better life for all.”

EJN Award Jury 2019: Nadin Deventer (Jazzfest Berlin/Berliner Festspiele, Germany), Jan Bang (Punkt Festival, Norway), Emily Jones (Cheltenham Jazz Festival, UK), Danielle Oosterop (Oosterop Music Management, Netherlands) and Bogdan Benigar (Jazz Festival Ljubljana/Cankarjev dom, previous EJN Award winner, Slovenia).

Comment from Edin Zubčević, Founder and Artistic Director of Jazz Fest Sarajevo
“When we started the festival, it was an adventure itself. From the very beginning, we have regularly challenged the audience with the programmes we presented and it has became not just an adventure, but a never-ending Odyssey for the sake of promoting European and global musics. We are honoured, humbled and thankful to all our colleagues from all over Europe who have voted for Jazz Fest Sarajevo.”

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 an 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: 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, since last year EJN established as well the EJN Award for “Music & Community”, highlighting outstanding projects of social inclusion through jazz and creative music. In 2018 the first EJN Award for Music & Community was given to Banlieues Bleues Festival in France for their “Actions Musicales”.

More info on the EJN Awards: http://www.europejazz.net/activity/ejn-awards

About Jazz Fest Sarajevo
Jazz Fest Sarajevo was conceived in 1996, several months after the siege of Sarajevo with the first edition in the summer 1997, as an international music festival and a meeting place of different musics based on jazz and improvised music. Its programme promotes various music, regardless of its genre, origin or social background.

Beside hundreds of concerts, Jazz Fest Sarajevo has organised numerous workshops, master classes, talks and other educational programmes with some of the greatest artists of our time. High level of production and the programme attract audience from Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also from the region and from all over Europe.

The Festival promotes different cultures and a spirit of cosmopolitanism and its educational programme for young musicians from the Balkans is contributing to the development of civil society and the process of reconciliation in a context of post-trouble society.

Jazz Fest Sarajevo’s website: https://jazzfest.ba/e

Photo (c) Jasmin Brutus/Jazz Fest Sarajevo