The European Jazz Network (EJN) is the Europe-wide association of 170+ organizations and promoters from 34 countries who specialize in creative music, contemporary jazz and improvised music. Every year since 2012, the EJN awards a European promoter who succeeds to create visionary and fascinating musical programs.
Le Guess Who? is proud to receive the 11th EJN Award for Adventurous Programming, becoming the first non-jazz festival to win this prize. The Awards Ceremony takes place during the EJC European Jazz Conference in Bulgaria.
The EJN not only praised Le Guess Who? for its “very open program”, but also highlighted the festival’s hybrid platform COSMOS which broadcasts multiple times during the year and features LGW Embassies from all over the world who will give a view into their local and cultural scenes.
From the EJN jury report:
“Le Guess Who? is an inspiring and courageous festival with broad horizons. The fact that this event does not claim to have a specific jazz aesthetic - but “A Celebration of Sound” as it presents itself - and features a very open program was a decisive factor in the jury’s decision. The Utrecht (NL) based, highly eclectic, musical event is a true playground for explorers of new artists and music. The festival chose some inspiring musicians who co-curate the program giving their inside perspective into their scenes. The line-up is incredibly diverse and inclusive, also when it comes to gender. The COSMOS program sheds important light on the musical program by creating numerous transdisciplinary bridges between the public, the artists and the cultures. They invest in educating the public and work together to include small communities and celebrate diversity. This year, the festival celebrates its 15-year Anniversary so it has managed to establish a strong musical concept, even in trying times.”
Le Guess Who? was selected through a two-phase process: in the first step all of the EJN member organizations were asked to indicate a potential award winner. Later on, a selected jury of EJN members and other respected music professionals in Europe choose the winner out of the resulting list of 19 nominated festivals, clubs and concert venues.
The jury of this year’s EJN Award was composed of Alessandra Bossa (Italy, artist), Kaja Draksler (Slovenia, artist), Marieke Meischke (The Netherlands, So What’s Next?), Matthieu Jouan (France, CitizenJazz), Murat Sezgi (Turkey/Germany, Bozcaada Jazz Festival), and Nadin Deventer (Germany, Jazzfest Berlin, 2021 winner).
Bob van Heur, Artistic Director of Le Guess Who?:
“It is always an honor to receive a prize that values the creative. And we are even more honored that our peers have chosen Le Guess Who? to receive this prize in an especially challenging year. So with this, we would like to acknowledge all who have helped in making Le Guess Who? possible. First of all the artists who were willing to travel mid-pandemic and have supported our vision for all these years; the audience whose continued support regardless of the many changes gives us the confidence to keep pursuing our mission. Without them there would not be a festival like Le Guess Who?. And we are very excited to learn that we are the first ‘non-jazz’ festival to win this prize, which we consider a tribute to the progressive attitude of EJN and the innovative legacy of jazz in general. Thank you!”
Photography by Jelmer de Haas