Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival

Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival
Photo: jazzvitoria.com
The Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival (Festival de Jazz de Vitoria-Gasteiz) is an annual music festival held in the Spanish city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of the Basque Autonomous Community. It is one of the largest jazz festivals in Europe and the only Spanish festival that is a member of the International Jazz Festivals Organization (IJFO), an umbrella organization that unites 16 leading jazz festivals worldwide.

The first jazz festival in Vitoria-Gasteiz was held in 1977. Initially, it was a quite modest event that ran over two days and featured mainly local musicians. World-class jazz musicians began to participate in the festival in the early 1981, helping to transform it into an event of international significance. Artists that have performed at the Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival include Jaco Pastorius, Sara Vaughan, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Muddy Waters, and Oscar Peterson.

Since 1995, the Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival has been a week-long festival packed with live concerts and other music-related events such as jam sessions and workshops. In 1999, the organizers held a series of concerts titled Jazz of the 21st Century, providing an opportunity to perform for jazz musicians who came to Spain for the first time. Attendees had a chance to see Esbjörn Svensson (Sweden), Thomas Chapin (USA), Gonzalo Rubalcaba (Cuba), Noa (Israel), and other artists.

Alongside concerts and jam sessions, the festival holds an educational program for music students and professional musicians. It features lectures, seminars and workshops conducted by internationally renowned musicians, including Joe Pass (guitar), Herb Ellis (guitar), Ray Brown (double bass/cello), Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Pat Metheny (guitar), Fred Hersch (piano) and professors from the prestigious Julliad School in New York City that is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading performing arts schools.

The main venue of the Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival is Mendizorrotza Stadium (Estadio de Mendizorroza), a stadium and sports center with a capacity of over 19,000. Many concerts are held in the main city theater of Vitoria-Gasteiz and in the city streets and squares. Thousands of jazz lovers come to the picturesque Basque Country because they don’t want to miss one of the major summer music events.

Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival

Photo: jazzvitoria.com



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