A hygge-fuelled, floating bastion of the defiant jazz scene since the early 1940s, Denmark’s Copenhagen is a sucker for a good toe-tapping tune, and every winter sees one of the country’s biggest music events take to the snowy landscape stage, with The Vinterjazz Festival. Paralleling the equally large Copenhagen Jazz Festival held every summer, Vinterjazz, opening 2nd – 25th February 2018, keeps the country buzzing with bass and beats as venues across Denmark liven to the blare of the horn.
Enriching Denmark’s laid-back, easy Scandi charm with riotous symbols of freedom and expression, jazz erupted in the years before and during WWII in defiance of their Nazi occupation, and in the 1960s, cultural capital Copenhagen became a hub for black jazz musicians fleeing race tensions in America.
Jazz is even imprinted on Copenhagen’s urban landscape, with most roads in Sluseholmen named after famous jazz musicians who have played there. Denmark’s Vinterjazz Festival therefore sees classic Scandi style meet with the influence of history, and with a full three weeks offering over 500 concerts in over 100 venues, it’s an international sensation that, for you musically-inclined travelling aficionados, frankly demands a visit.
Vinterjazz takes you from Copenhagen’s internationally acclaimed DR Koncerthuset, built by French architect Jean Nouvel in the guise of a modern, acoustically enhanced cathedral - the recipient of multiple international awards, including Best New Public Construction at the Wallpaper Design Awards – to the smaller Danish cities of Sorø, Lemvig and Sønderborg, where events are organised by local, non-profit communities brimming in easy Scandi charm.
Ever a pioneer in the world of design, forget seamlessly cool minimal interiors and your favourite Henrik Vibskov ‘Piggy’ piece for a minute, Denmark has forged a jazz scene that collabs with the entire nation, and sees cities great and small, venues grand and mini, turn out and salute all things jazz. And not only this, but twice a year, too.
Vinterjazz is surely something to warm up your cockles in the depths of winter, with a repeat in summer to look forward to. You’ll simply have to book two trips, it seems.
Plonk yourself in Copenhagen’s cool capital just by all the cultural greats, from The Royal Danish Theatre to The Opera House and Charlottenborg Palace, and meet jazz fiends of a similar style in the rooftop conservatory of bohemian glam boutique-luxe hotel, Sanders. Then peek in our Travel Journal and sway towards the trumpets at similar jazz festivals in Stockholm, Barcelona, Valbadia and Salzburg, before seeking more Copenhagen inspo with our Must-See Guide to Copenhagen, our Copenhagen Design Guide and indulge in more legacy with Copenhagen and the Ceramics Stage. Don’t even get us started on the fashion, there’s just too much.
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