Nattjazz (Bergen International Jazz Festival)

Nattjazz (Bergen International Jazz Festival)
The Bergen International Jazz Festival, commonly known as Natjazz, is one of the largest jazz festivals in Norway. It is held annually in late May, running concurrently with the Bergen International Festival (Festspillene i Bergen) which helps it attract a large audience of music lovers from all over Norway and abroad.

The inaugural Bergen Jazz Festival took place in 1973. Back then, most jazz festivals showcased mainly traditional jazz but the organizers of Nattjazz decided to take a different route. Since its inception, Nattjazz has been focused on contemporary and ethnic jazz, although it encompasses other jazz styles as well.

Most concerts at the festival are held indoors but occasionally there are outdoor concerts too. Since 2013, Nattjazz has been held at USF Verftet, a converted sardine factory comprising four stages with different capacity. The main stage of the festival is Røkeriet (The Smokehouse) with the capacity of 1250 spectators. Other stages include Sardinen (the Sardine; capacity 400–500) and Studio USF (capacity 140). The program of the festival features over 60 concerts that run over 10 days. Sometimes Nattjazz hosts joint events with the Bergen International Festival.

Over the years, the Nattjazz festival has brought to Bergen many renowned musicians from all over the world including Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Van Morrison, James Brown, Pharoah Sanders, The Band, Dexter Gordon, Art Blakey, Al di Meola, Diana Krall, St Germain, Macy Gray, Gipsy Kings, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Reggie Watts, Gotan Prokect, and others.

However, it doesn’t feature exclusively established international musicians. There are many local musicians from the city’s rock, pop, jazz and electro scene. Nattjazz isn’t about great names. It is about introducing its audience to exciting performers regardless of how famous they are.

Since its first edition, Nattjazz has been committed to exploring the potential of new collaborations by getting unexpected combinations of musicians playing together. The Bergen Jazz Festival attracts music lovers thanks to unusual duets, new projects and musical experiments that can’t be witnessed anywhere else.

Nattjazz is regarded as one of the most important contemporary jazz festivals in Europe. It presents a carefully selected line-up of the most talented national and international musicians and continues to surprise and inspire every year.


Photo: Oddbjørn Steffensen




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