Copenhagen Jazz Festival – celebrating live music since 1979
Copenhagen has been among the world’s few jazz capitals since a long list of American jazz icons moved to the city in the 1960s. Here, you can read more about Copenhagen’s – and its biggest jazz festival’s – storied modern tale as a sprawling hub for live music
Every single summer since 1979 Copenhagen Jazz Festival has been taking over Copenhagen as one of Europe’s most important international music events based on eminent artistic quality and a sharp focus on new departures in both Danish and international jazz. The festival envelops the Danish capital, offering af sumptuous musical feast to the 250.000 guests who join us year after year. Enjoying live jazz on the city’s streets, in its clubs, cafés and concert halls, and at open-air night venues – all in the very heart of historical Copenhagen.
Copenhagen’s legendary status as one of the jazz capitals of Europe grew in the 1950s and 1960s, when a whole host of leading American jazz icons had their creative base in the city. Among those who have called Copenhagen home are Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Ben Webster, Stuff Smith, Ed Thigpen, Thad Jones and Kenny Drew. Each and every one of them has drawn inspiration from Denmark’s jazz scene and the era’s most important jazz club: Jazzhus Montmartre. This was also the time when some of Denmark’s best musicians had their international breakthrough, musicians like Alex Riel, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Palle Mikkelborg.
Copenhagen’s unique jazz history is a key factor in the exceptionally high level of the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, something that can be experienced at the many free open-air stages strategically located throughout the historical city centre. Together with Copenhagen’s record number of cafés and music venues, these stages create a unique atmosphere, bringing the city alive with jazz from early morning to late at night. People don’t only come for a fantastic musical experience, but for the unique atmosphere throughout Copenhagen when jazz takes over the city.
The festival audience can listen to top international jazz names at the stunning Royal Theatre, Copenhagen’s Opera House and Jean Nouvel’s architectural world-class Koncerthus – as well as along the harbour front, where they can take a dip in the clear waters to the sound of Danish and international jazz. Copenhagen Jazz Festival also proudly presents music at the border of jazz and other genres as part of the programme ‘Something Else’. And everyone’s welcome to take their kids to the beautiful parks to the east of the city where thousand of children and their parents flock every summer to enjoy a packed programme of live jazz, circus, painting workshops and singing – all part of the ‘Jazz for Kids’ festival programme.
Copenhagen Jazz Festival takes a pride in reaching many – and new – audiences, with tailor-made programmes for pensioners and teenagers, kids and their families, as well as catering for jazz aficionados and enthusiasts. Visitors can look forward to Copenhagen as a friendly and creative city where it’s safe to wander around accompanied by jazz night and day. A modern and open-minded metropolis that can be experienced at its very best during Copenhagen Jazz Festival.
Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2023 takes place from June 30 to July 9 at more than 120 venues throughout Copenhagen. Follow the continual updates here at Jazz.dk