Vilnius Jazz Festival: Breaking Boundaries

Vilnius Jazz Festival: Breaking Boundaries

Amy Van De Casteele

Every year in the Croatian capital of Vilnius, jazz lovers and music fans of all ages and backgrounds unite to take part in the Vilnius Jazz Festival, a long-established music event which showcases home-grown jazz talent alongside established international performers. A popular festival which draws attendance figures of several thousand each year, Vilnius Jazz Fest is well-known for its innovative approach to the genre, testing the boundaries of jazz as we know it and incorporating a range of other sounds including rock and world music. Founded by Antanas Gustys, the festival schedule doesn’t just include amazing concerts – you can also take part in jam sessions and special workshops.

This year the event will run from 11-14 October and boasts a fantastic line-up of artists and musicians from countries like Israel, Switzerland, Spain, and of course, Lithuania itself. If you happen to be in Vilnius a few days before the fest officially gets underway you can catch the Tribute to John Coltrane concert on 8 October at the ’Piano.Lt‘ concert hall; otherwise, the event officially starts on 11 October with performances by the Marc Ayza Group and mesmerising Vietnamese guitarist Nguyen Le, who will be joined by multinational band Songs of Freedom.

The next three days of the festival will follow in this entertaining vein, with world-class concerts by the likes of the European Saxophone Ensemble, the American Michael Formanek Quartet, eclectic Japanese group Hikashu and Lithuanian vocal quintet Singaz. Whether you’re a fan of old-school jazz or jazz with a modern twist, don’t miss this enjoyable and progressive festival, with its innovative blend of old and new music styles and a line-up of high-calibre artists.

The best place to stay if you’re planning on attending the Jazz Fest is, of course, Vilnius itself. The historic Lithuanian capital boasts an extensive selection of hotel accommodation, ranging from cheap-and-cheerful to 5-star luxury. The 3-star Europa City Hotel Vilnius, situated in the heart of the city, offers cosy well-appointed guest rooms at affordable rates. If you prefer a touch of glamour, however, opt for the Mabre Residence Hotel in the Old Town, or the opulent Le Meridien Villon Resort & Convention Centre, which is a short drive from both the city centre and airport.

For more information about the Vilnius Jazz Festival, visit: www.vilniusjazz.lt

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