Le Guess Who? wins the 11th EJN Award for Adventurous Programming for its celebration of sound without barriers



We are very happy to announce the winner of the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming 2022: Le Guess Who? festival in Utrecht, Netherlands. The Award, this year reaching its 11th 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 the audience.

The Award winner was selected through a two-phase process: in the first step all of the 170+ EJN member organisations from 34 countries were asked to indicate a potential award winner (not necessarily an EJN member). Later on, a selected jury of EJN members and other respected music professionals met online in May 2022 to choose the winner out of the resulting list of 19 nominated festivals, clubs and concert venues.

Comment from the Award Jury 2022: “Le Guess Who? is an inspiring and courageous festival with broad horizons. The fact that this event does not claim to have a specific jazz aesthetic - but “A Celebration of Sound” as it presents itself - and features a very open program was a decisive factor in the jury’s decision. The Utrecht (NL) based, highly eclectic, musical event is a true playground for explorers of new artists and music. The festival chose some inspiring musicians who co-curate the program giving their inside perspective into their scenes. The line-up is incredibly diverse and inclusive, also when it comes to gender. The COSMOS program sheds important light on the musical program by creating numerous transdisciplinary bridges between the public, the artists and the cultures. They invest in educating the public and work together to include small communities and celebrate diversity. This year, the festival celebrates its 15-year anniversary and it has managed to establish a strong musical concept, even in trying times.”

The 2022 Jury was composed by: Alessandra Bossa (Italy, artist), Kaja Draksler (Slovenia, artist), Marieke Meischke (Netherlands, So What’s Next?), Matthieu Jouan (France, CitizenJazz), Murat Sezgi (Turkey/Germany, Bozcaada Jazz Festival), and Nadin Deventer (Germany, Jazzfest Berlin, 2021 Award winner).

Bob van Heur, Artistic Director of Le Guess Who?, comments: “It is always an honour to receive a prize that values the creative. And we are even more honoured that our peers have chosen Le Guess Who? to receive this prize in an especially challenging year. So with this, we would like to acknowledge all who have helped in making Le Guess Who? possible. First of all the artists who were willing to travel mid-pandemic and have supported our vision for all these years; the audience whose continued support regardless of the many changes gives us the confidence to keep pursuing our mission. Without them there would not be a festival like Le Guess Who?. And we are very excited to learn that we are the first ‘non-jazz’ festival to win this prize, which we consider a tribute to the progressive attitude of EJN and the innovative legacy of jazz in general. Thank you!”

The 11th EJN Award for Adventurous Programming will be celebrated during the European Jazz Conference 2022 starting today in Sofia, Bulgaria, together with all the EJN members who nominated and later on selected the winner for the award this year, and with a video intervention from Le Guess Who?’s Artistic Director, Bob van Heur.

Le Guess Who? 2022
As one of the most forward-thinking festivals, Le Guess Who? returns 10-13 November 2022 for its 15th anniversary edition. Dedicated to boundary-crossing music & culture from all over the world, Le Guess Who? platforms underrepresented sounds that are rarely heard in other places; sounds that have the power to enrich lives.

Across four days Le Guess Who? takes over the city of Utrecht, with over 150 artists performing in pop venues, theatres, churches, warehouses, and clubs. Throughout the years, Le Guess Who? has grown to become a leading international festival, known for its unparalleled presentation of genre-challenging music. For more information, visit www.leguesswho.com.

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 skillfully succeeds to create visionary and fascinating musical programmes for the audience.

Previous winners of the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming have been: 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.

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

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 180 organisations (festivals, clubs and concert venues and national/regional organisations) in 34 countries and it is one of the 28 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.

Europe Jazz Network’s website: https://www.europejazz.net/

Photo: Sons of Kemet live at Le Guess Who? 2021 © Jelmer de Haas