More than 150 musicians and performers from Lithuania and abroad, among which world's most famous jazz and world music stars, about twelve different musical performances and concerts, other events and workshops, dozens of sailing boats catching the jazzy winds in their sails and, most importantly, thousands of like-minded people who love good music next week will be celebrating the 24th Klaipėda Castle Jazz Festival in Klaipeda, the seaport of Lithuania.
Nearly a quarter of a century ago, a one-day festival took place in the bohemian courtyard of Klaipeda Exhibition Hall. Today, with the motto "Good Music for Good People" Klaipėda Castle Jazz Festival is already a huge international event, an outstanding and vivid cultural phenomenon of the port city, a festival which makes the name of the city and Lithuania known abroad, a festival uniting and involving not only music but also other artists representing other forms of art.
Inga Grubliauskienė, the president of Klaipeda Castle Jazz festival is proud that the festival brought together a large group of like-minded people, volunteers, sponsors and music lovers. What’s more, the festival has gained the trust of international partners and managers representing the world's most famous jazz music stars, and has become a well-known and important attraction of the country's cultural tourism. Today, it is the only jazz festival in Western Lithuania attracting more than 30 thousand people from Lithuania and abroad annually.
"When I started to organize the jazz festival 15 years ago, I could not believe that this event would spread its wings and become so popular in Klaipėda. It’s good to know that Klaipeda has become visible the world jazz map due to great numbers of cultural tourists from foreign countries visiting the port city of Lithuania during the festival. This long-standing event has proved that we are in the right direction. I appreciate the opportunities provided by the festival not only to enjoy the world jazz stars in Klaipėda, but also the possibility for our rising musicians to participate in the festivals in other countries of the world. Good music for good people! Let it always be like that, "says I. Grubliauskienė.
The secret to success is its team
There are several reasons for the success of the festival: the audience and music fans of the festival creating its unique spirit, the festival's supporters understanding the benefits of the festival to the town, friends and partners of the city. However, one of the most important key reasons is a team of nearly 50 volunteers helping to organize the festival, contributing annually with all their hearts to the success of the festival for Klaipeda and its guests.
"Great, playful, very individual, passionate, sweet, clear and frenetic. It is all together the air, the earth, and the fire, and the water. This is what is jazz and Klaipeda Castle Jazz festival for me, "says Aušra Petkutė, a volunteer at the festival.
"Klaipeda Castle Jazz Festival has helped me to discover and reveal myself. I met a lot of people from all over the world, I watched and listened to the very best music of the world. As a part of festival’s team I realized what the word "euphoria" really means. This is what happens when you see the fruits of your work and when you are a part of this large project, "says Evelina Šreiberė, another volunteer at the festival.
Lina Lorenzo Ruiz, a volunteer, says that jazz festival is a new discovery full of great people, good emotions, high spirits and crazy music.
Roberta Burgan-Norkuvienė, a team member, agrees with the above stated ideas and adds that Klaipėda Castle Jazz Festival is more than just a music festival. For her, it is a place where she fulfills herself discovering new opportunities and hobbies and gets acquainted with a lot of different, interesting and funny people.
"I'm looking forward to the jazz festival all year round. The amount of live music and magical good energy charges my batteries for a long time. Jazz unites, jazz always makes you smile, jazz breaks any ice, "adds Julia Mažeikaitė, a volunteer.
"It's a new story every time, with its comic elements, full of romance, sometimes even with a dramatic plot, but it's always a happy ending," says Simona Jucienė, a member of the festival team.
At the same time, a volunteer Zarina Lukošiūnė notes that the team of organizers includes a lot of great people, a lot of love to music, creativity and a lot of notes for the melody of her soul. "My life is like jazz, full of colors and shades, improvisation and originality," she says.
"For me, Klaipeda Castle Jazz festival is first of all the interesting people that I met, extraordinary musicians from foreign countries, who I constantly have contacts and made friends with. As a part of the festival volunteer photography team, I have received an invaluable experience of seeing jazz "from within." Let the festival always remain as it is - full of free spirit of the free city, despite strong winds, "says Violeta Mačienė.
Variety of music styles
This year the jazz festival invites the music lovers to enjoy free concerts in the Cruise Ship Terminal on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 7-9, and offers to its audience a variety of different music styles and unique jazz and world music performances.
Nik West - a bassist/vocalist and “funk groove” music star from US, is a rare gem of XXIV Klaipeda Castle Jazz Festival. The credits of 29 year- old popular bassist, singer, and songwriter Nik West include work with such artists as Lenny Kravitz, John Mayer and Prince, special guest appearances on American Idol, numerous photos on magazine covers and prestigious awards. No surprise, she was the one who inspired Algis Kriksciunas to picture her on the symbol of 24th Klaipeda Jazz Festival”, says Inga Grubliauskienė, the president of Klaipeda Castle Jazz Festival.
The united performance of Furat Qaddouri and his accompanying musicians from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon will invite you to enjoy the true romance of Arabian Nights. Perico Sambeat (sax) and Viktoria Pilatovich (vocals) - a Spanish duet with a Lithuanian flavor will appear on the stage of Klaipėda Castle Jazz Festival together with one of the most expressive jazz orchestras in Lithuania Klaipeda Jazz Orchestra. Tevet Sela, a composer and sax virtuoso from Israel, Nabil Khemir, a Tunisian inventor of a hybrid instrument RayJam, exotic Cubans from Havana Libre will hypnotize the audience with the rhythm of jazz during the main concerts of the festival.
On stage of the festival the music fans will enjoy a Swedish musical sensation Gunhild Carling, also known as a true "one – woman band”, famous for her unique talent to play three trumpets at the same time.
Other “jazzy” events
Klaipėda Castle Jazz Festival is also packed with various other events or projects, seminars, exhibitions, master classes, and unique art products specially designed for the event.
Special "jazzy exhibitions” held at Baroti Gallery became more than a tradition of the festival. This time the gallery will exhibit the works of a painter, the author of many installations and scenography, the participant and curator of many exhibitions and art projects Audrius Grazys.
The third time in a row “Music Heals” seminar,hosted by a music teacher, an experienced music therapy specialist Linas Švirinas will take place in St. Francis Cancer Support Center. During the seminar the participant will enjoy the performances of “The Joy of Music”, an ensemble, uniting hearing impaired Klaipeda musicians, a young singer Jakaterina Kosmakova, and mentally disabled adults from Klaipeda social service center “Dane”. The third seminar “Music Heals” will also invite its participants to listen to the poetry of most famous Lithuanian and foreign poets recited by a well-known actress Eglė Jackaitė. The listeners will hear extracts from Egle’s poetry evening “The Jazz of Feelings”.
This year the festival will invite all young as well as experienced and inexperienced musicians from Klaipeda to Stasys Šimkus Conservatoire to a free Master Class taught by one of the most renowned bass players from Poland and a truly jazz music revolutionary performer Wojtek Pilichowski.
Traditionally, on June 8-10, Klaipeda Castle Jazz Festival and Lithuanian Yachting Union welcome the strongest cruising yachts to participate in Lithuanian ORC Championship “KLAIPEDA JAZZ . Besides, the third “jazz” yacht parade will also be held on Friday evening in the Dane River.The festival will also pay a tribute to young sailors and on Sunday at noon, the children in Optimist Class yachts will compete against each in “jazzy” regatta in Dreverna.
The Economic Impact of the Festival
Nearly three quarters of the funds necessary to organize Klaipėda Castle Jazz festival come from private donations. The festival is also included in the list of the events representing Klaipeda city and the Municipality of Klaipeda has donated almost one quarter of the necessary funds for the organization of 2018 festival. According to various international studies, one euro that is allocated from the budget for a big festival returns from four to six euros or more. According to surveys, on average, about half of the city dwellers spend up to 15 euros on various purchases, and almost one quarter up to 30 euros during massive events in Klaipeda. Thus, considering that an average viewer spends only about 10 euros on various purchases, in the three days of the festival, the private sector receives an estimated revenue of 300,000 euros from the audience of at least 30,000 people. The amount spent is greatly increased if a guest arrives from the outside the city and additionally uses other business services. It should be noted that during the festival Klaipėda hotels are almost 100 percent booked.
One of the most highly rated events
According to the survey data of Klaipėda city residents (carried out by the market research and public opinion polling company Eurotela, and Klaipeda University Centre for Studies of Social Change in 2016), Klaipėda Castle Jazz Festival is one of the most popular cultural events in Klaipėda. Good music for good people - June 7-9 at the Cruise Ship Terminal. More: www.jazz.lt.