Today Jazz Middelheim (13 – 16 August, Antwerp) fills the last two open spots on its main stage: Kris Defoort invites and the Conservatory project Pete Agora’s feat. Joe Lovano complete the bill. Earlier, STUFF., John Zorn/Laurie Anderson/Bill Laswell, Anouar Brahem, Avishai Cohen, Portico Quartet, MIXMONK, Stefano di Battista and Joe Lovano trio were announced. This makes it the first major summer festival to present a full programme of international headliners without making any concessions because of the pandemic.

The festival also announces that there will be no second stage this year. “There are practical problems for which we could not find a realistic solution, despite the cooperation of the Antwerp city services.” Says Bertrand Flamang, festival director. “The consequence is that we have to limit the number of visitors per day and cut costs, which unfortunately makes the second stage unfeasible. Some of the projects announced for the Club Stage will be given a place on the main stage, and we will certainly not leave other musicians out in the cold.”

The festival confirms that these adjustments will ensure that Jazz Middelheim will definitely be able to take place in a safe and comfortable way for all attendees. The organisation is looking forward to a vintage edition with one stage and an unusually interesting programme with new sounds, adventure, a window on the world and a classic jazz day as a finale.

The organisation of Jazz Middelheim calls upon all culture fans – individuals and companies – to show their love for culture this summer and fall and to go to concerts, theatre, film… en masse. Bertrand Flamang: “By buying tickets and participating, by attending en masse, you support our sector in the best way. Action brings life! And you also give yourself a moment of relaxation, emotion and pleasure.”

Conservatory project Pete Agora’s trio feat. Joe Lovano

The concert of Pete Agora’s trio feat. Joe Lovano is part of the collaboration between Jazz Middelheim and the AP University College Antwerp/Royal Conservatory Antwerpen. Every year, a number of students get the chance to prepare a concert accompanied by a leading international musician, in this case Joe Lovano. In this way, the students are stimulated and given the opportunity to learn from a jazz great in a kind of practical master class in a small group and to enter into dialogue with him, both in class and on stage.

Three conservatory students Lars van de Voorde (piano), Jef Manderveld (bass) and Jesse Dockx (drums) form a permanent trio in which improvisation and interaction are central. For this project they were intensely coached and challenged by Joe Lovano for a few days. The result of this collaboration will be a unique concert at Jazz Middelheim.

Kris Defoort invites

Last year pianist Kris Defoort and his trio made a big impression at Jazz Middelheim. This year the programmers gave him carte blanche – a month before his opus magnus ‘The Time of Our Singing’ premieres in De Munt – to do his own thing at Jazz Middelheim. Because improvisation is the essence of his work, he invited two other masters of improvisation under the title ‘Kris Defoort invites’: Han Benninck (drums) and Wolter Wierbos (trombone). In the past these three musicians have sporadically performed as a ‘pas de deux’, but now they will perform as a trio for the first time.

Experience Jazz Middelheim from the front row at home and on the road. Listen live on Klara and via the Klara-app to almost all concerts. On and the Facebook page of Klara jazz lovers can find videos and interviews.

Tickets cost €39 (August 13, 15) and €44 (August 14, 16), and can be purchased exclusively at On 13 August, there will be standing room only in the tent. On 14, 15 and 16 August, there will be unnumbered seats in the tent.

Attention: all ticket buyers will have to present a corona pass (Corona Safe Ticket) to enter the festival grounds! This is the only way to make sure that all visitors can enjoy Jazz Middelheim in a safe way. More information about the corona guidelines:



Jazz Middelheim ‘Back to Live’ is made possible with the support of Flanders State of the Arts.