The inaugural Jazz Fest Sarajevo was held in 1997. The first edition was a success, so it was decided to turn the festival into an annual event. The festival takes place in the first week in November. Its main goal is to promote modern jazz related and improvised music in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The festival is an independent and not-for-profit event.
Jazz Fest Sarajevo offers a rich and diverse program which features both famous musicians from all over the world and up-and-coming artists whose career is just beginning. The Sarajevo Jazz Festival is open for musicians from different countries including, but not limited to, the United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Norway, Turkey, etc.
Since the festival’s inception, it has presented hundreds of musicians from more than 60 countries. Famous jazz musicians who have given concerts in Sarajevo include Joe Zawinul, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, John Scofield, Richard Bona, Nils Petter Molvaer, Reggie Workman, Vienna Art Orchestra, Jon Hassell, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Biréli Lagrène, Steve Coleman, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Richard Galliano, Henri Texier, Louis Sclavis, Aldo Romano, Arve Henriksen, John Patitucci, Django Bates, Jeff Ballard, Victor Bailey, Al Foster, Kenny Wheeler and more.
Along with concerts held in several venues across the city of Sarajevo, the festival hosts various workshops and masterclasses. In 2012, the organizers even launched a special educational program named Music Meeting Sarajevo. The program is designed for music students and young musicians from the Western Balkans region (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo). It is a five-day conference that features workshops, discussions, concerts, lectures and jam sessions.