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Picture Credits: Soundwave


Every cool cat knows that summer is the time of the year when some of the world’s finest jazz fests take place! During the sunny season, Europe houses a wide variety of events that showcase jazz and jazz-influenced acts.

Let’s take a look at some of the coolest festivals that present hot live music in incredible locations.


Wolfi Jazz (Wolfisheim, France, 23-29 June)

Wolfi Jazz

Credits: festicket.com

Organized in Wolfisheim – about 10 km west of Strasbourg – since 2011, Wolfi Jazz takes place in an impressive 19th Century military fort.

In addition to its music and location, Wolfi Jazz is also known for its founder. In fact, its director is composer and conductor Nicolas Folmer, whose latest album Sphere has received positive reviews.

For a week, from today until 29 June, Wolfisheim becomes a little heaven for jazz lovers who have the opportunity to see some of the country’s top jazzmen and women, as well as world’s renowned artists, up close and personal.

People like Pat Metheny and his Unity Group, Ibrahim Maalouf and local heroes Electro Deluxe and Ben L’Oncle Soul & Monophonics.

If you want to experience jazz like never before, you don’t want to miss Wolfi Jazz!


Nišville International Jazz Festival (Niš, Serbia, 14-17 August)

Nisville Jazz

Credits: Kontrapress.com

Nišville International Jazz Festival is one of those events that fall under the “hidden gems” category.

Taking place in a Turkish fortress that has stood in Niš – Serbia’s third largest city – since 1723, the festival takes this impressive stronghold back to its post-Byzantine days by installing a choice selection of emperors and empresses each August. This time however, the sultans of swing are the most influential in the world of jazz.

Attracting some 100,000 visitors each year, the festival has managed to secure everyone from the saxophonist Grace Kelly to legendary soul star Solomon Burke in the past, as it fills two full programmes of music inside the fort on the Earth and Sky stages.

That’s not all though. Its third arena, the River stage, takes things beyond the walls with musicians playing in an intimate amphitheatre down by the Niš wharf.

For those who like to get their hands dirty, there are always a number of workshops on offer too. But whether you’re tinkling on a piano, strumming a guitar or whetting a reed instrument, the teachers aren’t your run of the mill tutors. Instead, the coaches come straight from the festival’s line-up.

At the moment, Tania Maria and the Grammy-nominated Brussels Jazz Orchestra have been confirmed as act of Nilsville 2014.


Colours of Ostrava (Ostrava, Czech Republic, 17-20 July)

Colours of Ostrava

Credits: moravskoslezsky.denik.cz

Colours of Ostrava is a multi award-winning summer festival that turns Czech Republic into the perfect music destination. This summer, it will turn the heat up again when it will return to post-industrial background of Dolní Vítkovice – a site peppered with former blast furnaces, mines and ironworks.

Jazz, world music, rock and pop, as well as alternative music, are mixed together for this four-day celebration. The lineup includes rock, pop, world music and alternative music icons such as Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, The National, Angélique Kidjo and MGMT.
Even though Colours of Ostrava showcases a variety of different genres, jazz music and jazz- and fusion-influenced sounds are very much present. The list of jazz and fusion-influenced acts features Hidden Orchestra and Guillame Perret & The Electric Epic, among others.

And that’s not all.

In fact, there will also be an accompanying programme of theatre, workshops, discussion and film, along with plenty of activities for children.

Here you can get a ticket for the festival, which will also get you money off several tourist spots around the city as well.


Soundwave (Tisno, Croatia, 17-21 July)

Soundwave Croatia

Credits: blog.hostelbookers.com

Despite not being an all-about-jazz music festival, Soundwave is definitely worth checking out if you want to discover new frontiers of jazz and fusion-influenced sounds.

Pairing hand-picked, sun-kissed music with the picturesque beaches and boats of Croatia’s Tisno, Soundwave 2014 will twinkle more than its renowned disco ball, which hangs about the sea front’s live stage and glimmers in the moonlight.

Join some 3,000 curious revellers who will head to the secluded shores of central Croatia, between Split and Zadar, for another selection of unbeatable live bands and music that joins the dots between jazz, electro, reggae and hip-hop.

The five days and nights of partying are complemented by choice stage locations such as a secluded beach stage and after parties at an open-air nightclub, plus all the golden weather, clear waters and soft sands your imagination can dream up.

And the daily pirate ship soirées, Soundwave’s notorious boat parties that set sail each day with a collection of DJs and live bands, are the icing on the cake.

On 20 July, the ship will be all about the horns, stomps and claps typical of a brass band. The Manchester-based Riot Jazz Brass Band will brings its explosive sounds to Soundwave in Brass Band on a Boat (20 July from 1pm). Following the footsteps of popular contemporary brass ensembles like of Hot 8 Brass Band and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Riot Jazz have quickly established themselves as one of Europe’s coolest brass bands.

If you’re looking for more cool summer jazz fests you can find check out the jazz festivals map or the summer jazz fests guides.