The Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige 2013 is now history – and an extremely successful part of the 31-year old festival’s history, as president Klaus Widmann explains: “For me it was one of the best festivals we have ever organised – the music, the venues and the weather, the audiences… I am very pleased.” Over 70 concerts and performances attracted some 20,000 visitors.
Over 200 musicians from numerous European countries, as well as from other continents, played at the 10-day jazz festival, which ended on Sunday with numerous concerts up at mountain huts and inns. The venues chosen for the concerts this year were once more special places throughout South Tyrol – very often in the open air and free to the public. “Holding the concerts mostly in the open air is always a gamble – what will the weather do? Nevertheless, hearing the music at special places such as Sigmundskron Castle, the fortress of Franzensfeste or up in the mountains is simply a wonderful experience”, says Widmann. The opening night at Sigmundskron was itself an adventure: it had poured down until midday but, despite the cool evening temperatures, around 1,000 guests eventually turned out for the concert.
Altogether 20,000 people visited the festival concerts. “It was remarkable that, this time, even more tourists came here especially for the festival or for individual concerts”, states Widmann. Professional interest is also increasing from year to year: “I saw that there were more journalists from the specialist press, but also a more specific audience coming to the jazz festival”, he says. For instance, for the solo appearance of accordionist Richard Galliano in Sterzing, numerous listeners travelled specially from various northern Italian cities. “But also many other different – and sometimes quite demanding – concerts saw audiences coming specifically for the music on offer.”
On the music as the key to success: “We developed a very personal musical concept for the Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige that clearly differentiates it from other festivals and raises the overall profile of the festival. On the one hand we look for artists who are developing new projects in various genres beyond the mainstream and who are the possible trendsetters of tomorrow. On the other we try and bring as much of jazz’s musical variety as possible to South Tyrol; there should to plenty to try out and discover, in terms of both scenery and music”, declares Widmann, referring to the festival slogan “New Sounds, Beautiful Views”.
The artistic level of the musicians and projects is very important for Klaus Widmann: “This year too, my expectations were largely met – most projects were as good or even better than we had imagined”. Among the particularly successful projects, apart from the opening night, he cites the project of the Musikkapelle Schabs local band with the German jazz musicians Schriefl, Himpls and Rummel at the Franzensfeste Fortress, the formidable appearances by the musicians’ collectives “Coax” and “Tumult” and the concert evenings at the Museion, but also many other smaller concerts that attracted an enthusiastic public.
In Widmann’s words: “We had a wonderful jazz festival and I want to thank everybody who participated – from the musicians and the audiences to the numerous volunteers without whom such a diverse festival held simultaneously at so many places would not have been possible.” The next – 32nd – edition of the Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige begins on Friday, 27 June, and ends on Sunday, 6 July 2014.