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Relaunch for Antwerp’s legendary festival Jazz Middelheim
Belgium’s world of jazz is applauding the relaunch of the iconic Antwerp festival Jazz Middelheim, reports Bruzz.
The summer event in the idyllic setting of Park Den Brandt has been absent from the summer festival rota since organiser Jazz en Muziek went out of business at the end of 2022.
While the nonprofit’s other festival Gent Jazz was taken over by Greenhouse Talent, the future of the renowned Antwerp event remained uncertain. Co-organiser VRT searched in vain for a new partner.
Both organisers are familiar names on Belgium’s festival circuit. Brosella runs an eclectic folk and jazz festival each summer in Brussels, while Paradise City is responsible for an annual eco-friendly electronic festival near Vilvoorde.
Brosella’s managing director Bert Schreurs expressed his satisfaction at being selected. "We honour the past and tradition of Jazz Middelheim. But we also want to look to tomorrow," he said.
Although uncertain whether the name of the mythical jazz festival would be retained as it’s owned by VRT, he welcomed the opportunity to explore the future direction of jazz music. “That is why we are happy to be able to do this together with our colleagues at Paradise City."
Both organisers have experience in staging large outdoor event: Osseghem Park at the foot of the Atomium for Brosella; Ribaucourt van Perk castle grounds at Steenokkerzeel for Paradise City. "Jazz Middelheim also takes place in a protected park. And we have the necessary know-how to get started," pointed out Schreurs.
Each organiser brings a different skill set to the partnership. "With Brosella, we don't have the production clout needed to organise such a festival. Paradise City does. Moreover, it knows how to stage a festival in a sustainable way. By joining forces, both in terms of content and production, you can go a long way."
Unfortunately, it’s too late to organise the jazz festival this August, but a light one-day version is planned for the autumn before the jazz heavyweight returns in full voice in 2025.
In the meantime, Brosella is getting ready for its spring festival at LaVallée in Molenbeek from 7 to 10 March, followed by the annual folk and jazz get-together in Osseghem Park on 6 and 7 July.
Photos: Jazz Middelheim (previous edition); Brosella Festival