Jazz Middelheim is the “grande dame” among Belgian jazz festivals. Ever since 1969 it has presented a sample of what lives and moves in jazz. The unique concerts and the idyllic Park den Brandt, provide a unique setting that inspires visitors across generations.
Just like jazz itself, the festival has evolved over the years. Jazz Middelheim is curious and challenging. It brings jazz in all its facets – from swinging big bands to avant-garde combos – and big names from other genres who are known to a wide audience. That way, the festival also attracts an audience that is not so familiar with jazz.
The Jazz Middelheim stage deliberately makes room for young and promising musicians and challenges them to develop further. We organize master classes led by an international top musician, stimulate new projects and give an artist in residence the space he needs to show himself from different sides. Thanks to the strong connection with the VRT, these unique projects reach an even wider audience so the impact of Jazz Middelheim on the Belgian jazz scene cannot be underestimated. If the port of Antwerp is the foundation for the economic and social dynamics of the region, then Jazz Middelheim is the foundation and beacon for musicians, music lovers and bon vivants; and a safe haven where international jazz artists like to dock.
During recent editions Jazz Middelheim welcomed a.o. the following stars: Jean “Toots” Thielemans, John Zorn, Jamie Cullum, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Werner, Archie Shepp, Robin Verheyen, Cassandra Wilson… but also Patti Smith, Ludovico Einaudi, Van Morrison…
WHAT JAZZ MIDDLEHEIM STAND FOR
1. Exclusive concerts and unique musical creations or collaborations developed for Jazz Middelheim.
2. Creativity, discovery and young talent are paramount in a healthy field of tension between tradition and innovation. We explicitly make room for young musicians, promising projects and new movements. Jazz Middelheim wants to play an active role in the development of the jazz of tomorrow; as a breeding ground, a catalyst or an inspiring meeting place.
3. To make jazz known to a wide audience by means of a pleasant and accessible festival with a mix of classical jazz and more popular genres.
4. Enjoying music, summer, meetings and being together… in a green oasis with the best possible technical and culinary facilities.
5. Experiencing jazz for all generations, with the whole family. Jazz Middelheim offers sufficient seats on the site so that those who are a little older can enjoy themselves quietly and children’s entertainment for the youngest so that the parents can enjoy the concerts.
6. Jazz and Music – the organisation behind Jazz Middelheim – has a strong social commitment. The principles of diversity, solidarity, ecological awareness and sustainability are embedded in the policy, both internally and at the festivals and concerts.
Jazz Middelheim, a festival for everyone, from young to old.
At Jazz Middelheim we want everyone to feel welcome and at home. Therefore we provide – just like the previous years – children’s entertainment at the festival. This way you can enjoy the concerts undisturbed while your children are being entertained by the guides of vzw Freetime.
Of course, the festival grounds will also be accessible to wheelchair users, and anyone needing assistance can bring a companion free of charge. People who have difficulty walking, or who simply want to take a breather, can use one of the many chairs on the site.