Kongsberg Jazz Festival

Kongsberg Jazz Festival
Photo: kongsbergjazz.no
The Kongsberg Jazz Festival, also spelled Kongsberg Jazzfestival, is one of the largest and most famous jazz festivals in Norway, along with Moldejazz, Nattjazz, Oslo Jazzfestival and Trondheim Jazz Festival. It has been held each July since 1964. The festival was originally organized by the Jazz Evidence jazz club but eventually became an independent event.

The Kongsberg Jazz Festival aims to introduce quality music to a wide audience. Despite its name, the festival doesn’t focus solely on jazz. Its music program encompasses innovative and experimental music, traditional jazz and world music which has earned the approval of jazz connoisseurs and has commercial potential. Festival shows take place on several stages throughout the town of Kongsberg, attracting about 30,000 attendees every year.

During more than half a decade since its inception, the Kongsberg Jazz Festival has welcomed a lot of world-class jazz musicians including Anthony Braxton, Dee Dee Bridgewater, John Butcher, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Nigel Kennedy, Diana Krall, Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin, Charles Mingus, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Dianne Reeves, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Radka Toneff, McCoy Tyner, and many others.

However, the program of the Kongsberg Jazz Festival isn’t all about renowned international musicians. The organizers strive to discover new talent and provide a platform for emerging musicians, giving them an opportunity to perform in front of a wide audience. The careers of many now well-known Norwegian jazz musicians have been launched in Kongsberg.

Since 1996, the festival has been awarding the Kongsberg Jazz Award (also known as the DNB Award because of the sponsor, the country’s largest financial services group DNB ASA). It is presented to the most prominent Norwegian jazz artist of the year. Until 2011, the amount of prize money was 100,000 Norwegian kroner. In 2012, it was raised to 300,000 Norwegian kroner, which makes it the largest jazz award in Norway. The award ceremony is held on the last day of the festival. Along with prize money, the winner is given an opportunity to perform at the next year’s festival.

Kongsberg Jazz Festival

Photo: Thomas Hegna




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