Ten distinctive jazz music festivals take place in Estonia:
Festival Juu Jääb
Festival Juu Jääb is a cultural event on the tiny island called Muhu (neighbour island of Saaremaa) in West Estonia. International Muhu Future Music Festival JUU JÄÄB (since 1997) is an annual summer festival in Estonia, which brings together musicians and artists all around the world. Artists from USA, UK, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Mongolia, France, Finlad, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria, Faroe Islands, Italy, Nigeria, Denmark, Canada, Columbia, Sweden and of course Estonia have been taken part of the Juu Jääb Festival during last 20 years. The festival traditionally takes place in the end of June.
Jazzkaar is the biggest jazz festival in the Baltics, held in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia since 1990. It has been granted the EFFE quality label (2015-2016) among the finest festivals of Europe. In 2015 the Estonian music industry chose it as the Best Music Festival in Estonia. Jazzkaar is a ten-day festival in April presenting the hottest international and local jazz talents and filling the whole country with great sounds and activities. Combining an unique and versatile program with bold solutions, Jazzkaar creates a great jazz festival with the smallest budget in the Nordic. The founder and the artistic director of Jazzkaar Festivals is Anne Erm. In addition to the annual spring festival, Jazzkaar also organizes a Christmas Jazz festival and the concert seasons Winter Jazz and Autumn Jazz. Christmas Jazz is a two-week international intimate and serene-sounding festival during the Holidays in end of November and beginning of December. Winter Jazz (January-March) and Autumn Jazz (September-October) are concert seasons that present local artists, their new projects and intriguing musicians and bands from Europe. Jazzkaar is a ten-day festival in April.
International festival JazzTime was founded in 2004 by Sillamäe Music School. Throughout its history JazzTime has hosted different participants – from the very young musicians, who are just starting their careers, to such masters as the famous pianist and composer Raimond Pauls. Bands from Estonia, Scandinavia, USA, Japan, France and Russia come to share with the audience their love for music, as well as their contribution to it. The patron of the festival is maestro Raimond Pauls, artistic director is Toivo Unt and festival director Vladimir Vysotsky. The festival is traditionally held in May at Sillamäe.
Christmas Jazz is a two-week international intimate and serene-sounding festival during the Holidays in end of November and beginning of December. The Festival organises numerous concerts with varied programs at churches, clubs and concert halls. Lineup in 2016 includes Take 6 (USA), Wayne Krantz Trio (USA), Bill Laurance (UK), Kristin Asbjornsen (Norway), Ryley Walker (USA) and many more. Christmas Jazz is organised by Jazzkaar, the biggest jazz festival in the Baltics, held in Tallinn since 1990. In addition to the Christmas Jazz festival, Jazzkaar also organizes annual spring festival Jazzkaar. Christmas Jazz takes places in end of November and beginning of December.
Sõru Jazz is an Estonian jazz festival that celebrates the arrival of summer after a long bleak winter with quality music and wonderful people, in the picturesque island of Hiiumaa. The concerts take place in the boat huts of Orjaku, Kalana and Sõru, where the melodies of music intertwine with the sound of waves crashing against the shore. Festival traditionally takes place in June on the weekend before Midsummer’s Eve.
Student jazz (Tudengijazz), established in 1982, is one of the oldest and uniquest international festivals in Estonia. It is dedicated to jazz music students and their fresh ideas. The festival brings together young musicians from all over Estonia as well as from different European countries to play and share their music. Musicians have great opportunity to make international connections and get the feel of a real festival experience. Festival takes place during spring time, when students are about to accomplish their studies and are ready to come out with fresh and exciting music.
Festival has very intruiging history, it first took place during the time when jazz music was not allowed in Estonia. Since 2011 festival is organised by the Estonian Jazz Union. With its help, festival became a high quality festival, that gives artist and listeners always full festival experience.
Viljandi Guitar Festival
The focus of the Viljandi Guitar Festival is to promote improvisational and cross-stylistic guitar playing skills, introduce guitarists from Estonia and abroad to develop international cooperation in the field of guitar studies. A very important part of the festival is workshops and master classes given by the performers of the festival – this culminates with the concert of the Festival Guitar Orchestra. The festival also gives out the Tiit Paulus Young Guitar Player’s Prize. The festival takes place yearly in October.
Every summer, on the second weekend of July, a jazz festival called Jazz Võsu takes place at one of Estonia’s most beautiful beach resorts – Võsu. Festival keywords are summer, high-level musicians, beautiful gardens, good food and a magical atmosphere. Being one of the largest recreation center in northern Estonia, Võsu is the ideal setting for musical gourmet festival.
Võsu Jazz is the nominee of West-Viru County´s Action of the Year 2016 and winner of Vihula Parish´s Action of the Year 2016.
Additional Estonian jazz festivals: