Think of Vienna and you might not automatically think of Herbie Hancock or Natalie Cole. Or Dave Brubeck. Or Liza Minnelli. Or John Scofield. But those are just some of the big names that have appeared at the Vienna Jazz Festival – Jazzfest Wien.
- Jazz event now approaching its 30th year
Prestigiousfestival that features both global stars and regional talent
- Often dips into other genres, too, such as soul and blues
- 2021 dates: TBA (likely late June to mid-July)
- See also: Events in Vienna | Blues Festival
An annual event since 1991 (but skipped a year in 2020), Jazzfest Wien ranks as one of Europe’s top jazz festivals
Back in 1991, the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis arrived in Vienna, setting a precedent for top names that continues today. And the venues match the stature of the performers, with concerts typically held in the Vienna State Opera House and the old town hall (Altes Rathaus), as well as in more traditional jazz and music clubs.
(Vienna itself has a small, but vibrant, jazz scene and history. Multiple Grammy winner, Joe Zawinul, was born here, for example.)
It’s still early for the 2021 lineup, which you’ll eventually find online at the official festival website.
To give you an idea of the kind of performers to expect: Herbie Hancock, Paolo Conte, Manhattan Transfer, Bryan Ferry, Beth Hart, and others were all slated for the 2020 event until the Coronavirus intervened.
And here a few stand-out names from the 2019 event: Bobby McFerrin, Jamie Cullam, UB40, Gilberto Gil, Omara Portuondo, Chilly Gonzales, and Jamison Ross.
2021 dates and tickets
The 2021 jazz festival likely runs from late June to mid-July, with tickets to the individual events eventually available through the links provided at the festival website. Precise dates should appear here when I get them or just check the official website.
Prices depend, of course, on the concert. If you want a flavour of the festival without buying a ticket, a couple of outdoor performances are usually free.
The occasional free concert continues a tradition in Vienna of making culture accessible to all. For example, standing tickets at theatres and opera houses can cost as little as a cup of coffee, the two top orchestras have at least one free open-air performance each year (e.g. the Summer Night concert), and the huge open-air Donauinselfest music festival is also completely free.