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 edition
- Prestigious festival that features both global stars and regional talent
- Often dips into other genres, too, such as soul and blues
- Next dates: check locally
- See also:
An annual event since 1991 (but skipped recent years for obvious reasons), Jazzfest Wien ranks as one of Europe’s top jazz festivals. It’s not a weekend at a single site, but a programme of performances across anything up to four weeks and usually held in early summer.
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 taking place 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.)
You’ll find the next lineup online at the festival website, once details become available.
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 a recent event until fate intervened (thanks, COVID!).
And here a few stand-out names from the 2019 event that was the last to go ahead: Bobby McFerrin, Jamie Cullam, UB40, Gilberto Gil, Omara Portuondo, Chilly Gonzales, and Jamison Ross.
Dates and tickets
I don’t have details yet for the next jazz festival. Last time I checked, it looked like the event would be skipping 2023, too.
Tickets to the individual events typically become available through the links provided at the festival 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.
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