There are several key features in the programme that are present every year.
On the one hand, presenting the historic roots of jazz: standard, blues, bebop, swing, Dixieland, boogie-woogie... Over the years more than twenty big bands have played Bansko. Besides the traditional participants from the Big Band of Bulgarian National Radio with conductor Yanko Miladinov, which usually opens the event, former guest performers include the big formations of Vili Kazasyan, Georgi Borisov, Angel Zaberski, Big Band Blagoevgrad, several orchestras from Germany, including IKS Big Band, Kelag Big Band from Austria. The 10th edition of the festival featured the possibly most unusual orchestra in the festival’s history - SHAPE International Big Band, part of the NATO official orchestra. The 16th edition also hosted the Elmhurst College Jazz Band with conductor Doug Beach from the US.
On the other hand, the contemporary face of “free music". Although quite different in nature, ethno-styles also have a permanent place in the festival. “Krakatau Band” from Indonesia, “Yehya Khalil Band” from Egypt, our own “Bulgara”, as well as Stoyan and Elitsa, who performed on stage fom the premiere of “Drumboy” . The 9th festival edition gathered Vlatko Stefanovski , Miroslav Tadic and Theodosius Spassov together on stage, and the music from their “Third Mother” project is still touring the world stages.
The festival programme has featured almost all great Bulgarian jazz performers, such as Milcho Leviev, Simeon Shterev, Mihail Yossifov, Hristo Yotsov, Camellia Todorova, Vassil Petrov, Stefka Onikyan, Hilda Kazasyan, Beloslava, Maria Ilieva, Petar Salchev, Miroslava Katzarova, Mery Taneva and many young rising stars of Bulgarian jazz .
Here are some of the best known foreign performers who have played Bansko:
Scot Hamilton (USA), Axel Zwingenberger (Germany), Silvan Zing (Switzerland), Keito Saito (Japan), Uros Peric (Slovenia), Sharrie Williams (USA), Hubert Tubbs (USA), Freddie Cole (USA), Larry Vuckovich (USA), Leila Amons (USA), Irving Louis Lattin (USA), Jackie Ryan (USA), Rick Margitza (USA), Jamie Davis (USA), Benny Golson (USA), Champian Fulton (USA), Bobby Carcasses (Cuba), Ive Mendes (Brazil), Kuba Stankiewicz ( Poland), Igor Butman (Russia), Yehya Khalil (Egypt), Oleg Kireyev (Russia), Igor Bril (Russia), Candy Dulfer (Netherlands), Hans Dulfer (Netherlands), Tania Maria (Brazil), Ana Moura (Portugal), Vlodek Pavlik (Poland), Clare Teal (UK), Mungo Jerry (UK), Steve Hackett (UK), Denise Jannah (Netherlands), Charles Papazov (Canada), Yoni Vida (Belgium), Iyeoka (USA), China Moses (USA), Philip Catherine (Belgium), the performers from the bands Incognito (UK), Ray Gelato (UK), Jive Aces (UK), Eftekasat (Egypt), Djabe (Hungary), Seven Kings (France), Spaghetti Swing (Italy), Ehud Ettun Trio (Israel), Assaf Kehati Trio (Israel) and many others. For one of the greatest soul musicians, Solomon Burke (USA), the festival in Bansko, regrettably, was one of his last concert performances.
In order to enjoy our programme this year, too, please use our webpage to plan your stay at the festival. Jazz aficionados can use their jazz holiday in Bansko to delight in the wealth of museums and galleries, churches, cultural and archaeological monuments, scenic sites, spa centres, golf course, etc. Bansko and the region offer excellent conditions for summer tourism and mountain adventures.