International Jazz Festival in Bansko
The International Jazz Festival in Bansko is the biggest summer musical event in Bulgaria. The enormous popularity which the festival enjoys among specialists and fans across the world has turned it into one of the foremost international cultural happenings in the Balkans.
The quaint old town becomes a meeting place for emblematic figures of today’s music world. The concerts are free for the public and the festival is organised with the aid of sponsors.
Traditionally, the programme features styles and groups representing almost all jazz trends. The evening concerts draw huge crowds to the open-air stage on Nikola Vaptsarov Square in downtown Bansko. Throughout the festival week jazz is also played during the day on various smaller stages in the large resort complexes and restaurants.
Ever since its foundation in 1998, Bansko Jazz Fest is held every year from August 8 to 13.
Visit the Bansko Jazz Festival website for more information.
The Beginnings of Bansko Jazz Festival
The following text is taken from BanskoJazzFest.com. Click the link to visit their website.
About 20 years ago the manager of the festival, Dr. Emil Iliev – a well-known dermatologist, acupuncturist, a doctor with an enviable practice in Bulgaria and Germany, opened a clinic in Bansko. The clinic welcomed guests from different European countries. Here they learned about a healthy lifestyle, underwent treatment or simply relaxed – but they also wanted good entertainment. A series of concerts were staged with the participation of well known Bulgarian chamber musicians, as well as jazz performers like Camelia Todorova, Vassil Petrov, Lyudmil Gergiev, Vili Kazasyan, Pepi Slavov, Rumen Toskov - Rupeto, Mitko Shanov etc. For these artists the scenic Pirin mountain town was a discovery and their common dream was to start a jazz festival. Dr. Iliev convinced the then mayor of Bansko that the town could host an international jazz happening. At least for a week. Jazz in Bansko? At a time when work in the field is at its busiest? It seemed impossible. Then.
Now we recall this story with a smile.
Bansko has changed its appearance in the last decades – hotels, ski runs, endless construction. The jazz festival is definitely one of the reasons to expand the main livelihood of the locals. According to the latest statistics, a huge percentage of the town’s population is engaged in tourism and related activities. And during the festival days thousands of music buffs from different parts of the world head for Bansko.