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Successor sought for Belgium’s Jazz Middelheim

The Antwerp authorities are looking for a new partner to stage a jazz festival in the city after the organiser of the event went bust

By James Hanley on 27 Nov 2023

Jazz Middelheim

Jazz Middelheim

image © Maarten Mellemans

The City of Antwerp is looking for a new promoter to come forward to run a new jazz festival in the Belgian city following the demise of the long-running Jazz Middelheim.

First held in 1969, Jazz Middelheim hosted artists such as Van Morrison, Jamie Cullum, Patti Smith, Ludovico Einaudi, Jean “Toots” Thielemans, John Zorn, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Werner, Archie Shepp, Robin Verheyen and Cassandra Wilson.

It was most recently staged in 2022, but Jazz en Muziek – the non-profit organisation behind the festival – went bankrupt at the end of last year.

Jazz en Muziek also staged Gent Jazz Festival, which was rescued by Greenhouse Talent. However, Greenhouse reportedly had no interest in taking on Jazz Middelheim and no new partner has been found for the event.

“There is clearly an audience for jazz. That is why we do not want to let go of the tradition of a summer jazz festival in the city”

Nethertheless, Nieuwsbld reports the local authority is still hoping to host another jazz festival in the city and has launched an appeal for collaborators, initially for 2024 and 2025. The city will then review the submitted proposals based on its established criteria.

“Jazz Middelheim’s formula worked extremely well,” says alderman of culture Nabilla Ait Daoud. “The success of the festival speaks for itself: there is clearly an audience for jazz. That is why we do not want to let go of the tradition of a summer jazz festival in the city. We are open to new ideas for the concrete implementation of the festival.”

Ghent-based Greenhouse successfully relaunched Gent Jazz Festival from 5-15 July, pulling in around 40,000 visitors across 74 concerts by acts including Ludovico Einaudi, Norah Jones and Herbie Hancock.


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