Since 2011, Leuven Jazz has put itself on the Belgian and international jazz calendar as a city-wide festival on jazz and jazz experience. Started as a jazz weekend, it has evolved into a 10-day festival, with many partners.
What makes Leuven Jazz:
The city is one big playground. We play indoors and outdoors, in small and large venues. We offer intimate sessions but also mass events, all at walking distance, easily accessible and approachable by the jazz fan.
We give extra attention to close encounters that bring jazz (artists) nearer to the audience: in living rooms and student houses, in streets and on squares, in the city centre and the city boroughs.
In the next years, we wish to strengthen the regional outreach with concerts in neighbouring villages and the eastern part of Flemish Brabant. Thus, we wish to offer the public and the artists extra opportunities to encounter.
- We give opportunities to young talents, creativity and discovery. On many stages, we consciously invite young musicians and new trends.
We do this in close relations with our steady partners: B-Jazz International Contest (integrated into the festival since 2015) and the jazz department of LUCA School of Arts (with theme ensembles, big band and masterclasses by (international) top artists).
Where and whenever possible, we invest in unique creations such as a carte blanche to Jef Neve, the relaunch of André Brasseur and a drum special with Antoine Pierre, Lander Gyselinck and Mark Schilders. For the 2020 edition, we also planned ‘She’s on the Jazz’ with drummer Isolde Lasoen and a circus-jazz special with Tuur Florizoone. Both projects were reported due to Covid.
- In all our artistic choices, we strive for a balance in gender, age, origin ...
International top musicians have been present at the festival since the very beginning. In recent years, we welcomed stars such as Fred Hersch, Archie Schepp, Richard Galliano, Sons of Kemet, Stefano Bollani, Dave Holland, Cinematic Orchestra, Avishai Cohen, Mulatu Astatke …
Each edition also has a specific focus. In recent years, we focussed on drums (2018), piano (2019) and women in jazz (2020).
- The festival does not only offer concerts but also includes other disciplines. Numerous partners take jazz (music) into their programme: jazz documentaries and movies at Cinema ZED, a mixture of live music and visual arts at M museum, record fairs, jazzy carillons, live Radio Scorpio …
Each edition is paired with a specific beer selection and we also tickled the taste buds with a unique festival praline.
- Leuven Jazz is accessible and for all generations. It is never too early (or late) to discover the pleasures of jazz.
Quite evidently for a student city like Leuven, the festival opens itself to students, both as an audience as well as on stage.
Each edition also has a special family programme, even for the very small, and we don't leave out the older generations, p.eg. with concerts in retirement homes and neighbourhood centres.
To give everyone the chance to discover the festival, more than half the programme is completely free. The paid concerts are deliberately kept at reasonable prices.