EJN Staff Exchange Programme

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Previous participant: Simona Jovcheva

From: Skopje Jazz Festival (Macedonia)
To: Jazz Fest Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
27 October - 05 November 2017

My EJN staff exchange started on October 27th, three days before the XX1th Jazz Fest Sarajevo.

During this three days, I met the whole organisation team, their office and the new location of this year’s festival edition – Dom Policije (which actually was their venue 10 years ago). I also learned the history of Jazz Fest Sarajevo and get familiar with this year’s details around the festival preparation. Last but not least, I saw the beauty of Sarajevo in autumn and met their divine culture.

The festival team has largely completed their preparations when I arrived in Sarajevo. Althought, I helped them with the phase that was happening in that moment – final preparations of the venue, mostly the backstage space. These days before the festival we also took care about purchasing groceries about the musicians together. I should note that the venue where XX1 Jazz Fest Sarajevo was happening – Dom Policije, was completely renovated by the Jazz Fest Sarajevo team a few months before the festival (due to the non-use of the space for a long time). Finally, when the festival began (October 31 - November 5), my main task was the sale at the pop-up shop, selling the musicians merchandise.

My stay in Sarajevo was very helpful to see the similarities (and differences) between Jazz Fest Sarajevo and Skopje Jazz Festival. One of them, unfortunately, is not having a static place to host the festival over the years.

I must say that this staff exchange between festivals is a brilliant idea and that should definitely continue in the following years. It’s huge because a few very important things like: taking a closer look at another organization that is in the same field as yours, changing valuable experiences by talking and helping the team where they need help, seeing how they solve situations during the festival, inspiration to bring some fresh ideas to the office and ideas how to improve my work at the Skopje Jazz Festival, meeting new people from many other festivals around the world and enjoying a “new” city for a couple of days to the fullest.

My opinion is that to get more out of it, this staff exchange should last longer (of course, some time more before the festival), because three days before the festival is already late to do something more substantial to help the team.