Every July, Getxo comes alive to the sound of swing, jamming, and some of the finest modern jazz musicians thanks to its popular Getxo Jazz festival.
The Getxo International Jazz festival signals the start of the jazz festival season in Euskadi-The Basque Country. The first few days in July host a series of concerts held in different settings involving major figures from the international jazz scene. The aim is to provide the best of world jazz, while at the same time showcasing young talent.
The main venue is Muxikebarri – Getxo’s Art, Culture and Conference Centre located at Avenida Basagoiti, 77. Other sites for gigs are the square in Algorta, Plaza de la Estación, and Ereaga Beach. Besides the concerts featuring leading jazz performers, the festival promotes concerts by young musicians through the group competition, which is open to all those European ensembles that play jazz in any of its styles or tendencies.
It also holds concerts in the traditional section called Tercer Milenio [Third Millennium], which supports the country’s own performers, Concerts for all the family, and an open-air Concert for a younger audience. The programme is rounded off with other formats, including Jam Sessions, the lively Street parades, and an Exhibition on the world of jazz.
This means the festival is divided into the following components:
- Group competition and concerts by guest performers. At Muxikebarri (Avenida Basagoiti, 77). Ticketed.
- Tercer Milenio. In the square Plaza de la Estación in Algorta. Entrance free.
- Concerts for all the family. In the square Plaza de la Estación in Algorta. Entrance free.
- Concert on Ereaga Beach. Entrance free.
- Jam Sessions at The Piper's Irish Pub (Avenida Basagoiti, 47).
- Exhibition at the Romo Kultur Etxea cultural centre (Plaza Santa Eugenia, 1).
- Street parades.
Getxo Jazz has been graced by leading national and international jazz performers, with such famous names as Branford Marsalis, Michel Camilo, The Manhattan Transfer, McCoy Tyner, John Scofield, Chucho Valdés, Lee Konitz, Archie Shepp, Paquito D’Rivera, and Dee Dee Bridgewater.The first Getxo Jazz was held in 1975 as a small, low-budget event held in the Old Port - Puerto Viejo and organised by the San Ignacio Festival Committee. Despite the amateur nature of the organisation, dedication and tenacity saw the festival grow and become more successful from one year to the next. An interesting fact is the performance at the festival of a young Sting, who at the time was a member of the group Last Exit, and the performance by Tete Montoliu.
Ten years later, in the 1980s, Getxo Jazz began to acquire its own identity. In 1985, it became part of an umbrella project rolled out by the Getxo Culture Centre, and 1986 saw the launch of the nationwide Group Competition. It began to receive more funding, which led to the appearance of global jazz masters, such as Art Blakey, Tony Williams, Freddie Hubbard...
In 1989, it opened up to the whole of Europe, becoming the Festival de Jazz de Getxo Europar Jazzaldia. This specialisation responds to the fact that this continent hosts a huge variety of jazz of the highest quality that is rarely performed, whereby it is generally quite unknown. The festival provides a blend of established artists and unknown performers, with quality always being the main consideration.Over the years, the festival has gone from strength to strength: the Group Competition has also welcomed young European performers, with some of the foremost US jazz musicians also performing on our festival’s main stage, with other sections and formats also being organised. With a trajectory stretching back 45 years, Getxo Jazz is now a fully consolidated festival.
The website http://www.ikuslab.com/ hosts videos of some of the highlights of the concerts held during Getxo Jazz.