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North Sea Jazz launches Groningen fest Rockit

The new festival, named for and headlined by 'Rockit' composer Herbie Hancock, will bring "future music" to the Oosterport on 11 November

By IQ on 17 May 2017

Herbie Hancock, Nice Jazz Festival 2010, Rockit 2017, Oosterpoort

Hancock performs at Nice Jazz Festival 2010

image © Guillaume Laurent

The Oosterport in Groningen, Netherlands, will this November be the venue for a new jazz festival, Rockit.

Rockit – named for a 1983 composition by Herbie Hancock, who will headline the event – is jointly organised by Mojo Concerts’ North Sea Jazz Festival and the in-house promoters at the Oosterport (1,850-cap. in the main hall), a music/performing arts venue and the long-time home of the Eurosonic Noorderslag conference.

Joining Hancock as the first confirmed performers are BadBadNotGood, Donny McCaslin, Shabaka and the Ancestors, Ben van Gelder and Reinier Baas, and Jeff Parker and Rob Mazurek.

Like the song ‘Rockit’ (a “groundbreaking mix of funk, jazz, hip-hop, dance and a touch of rock”), Rockit festival says it will focus on experimental programming, featuring acts “who are open to the unknown”.

“The first headliners … are artists who are open to the unknown, who wish to enter a new ‘galaxy’…”

“These artists and groups collaborate with hip-hop, pop and rock musicians, and integrate those influences into their own projects and records,” reads a press release. “For example, you can hear saxophonist Donny McCaslin on David Bowie’s Blackstar and Jeff Parker is a band member of the post-rock group Tortoise. […]

“Rockit has it all: hip, contemporary, stinging, pioneering. In short: future music.”

IQ spoke to North Sea Jazz’s festival director, Jan Willem Luyken, about artist fees, sponsorship, the Dutch market and the festival’s philosophy shortly after selling out once again last month.


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