Ljubljana Jazz Festival
An interview with Bogdan Benigar

Image Credits: Bogdan Benigar, Ljubljana © Nada Zgank

June 07, 2017
The Ljubljana Jazz festival is the oldest in Europe, as the first edition was held in 1960. We have interviewed Mr. Bogdan Benigar, the festival artistic director together with Pedro Costa.
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How do you feel in organising the oldest European jazz festival?
I’d wish it to be the oldest but also the one having the coolest novelties. I love to follow tradition as well as to propose a powerful programme, representing what is happening in the jazz world.
This year’s theme is the encounter among generations.
Exactly, we want this festival to connect the different generations. This year in particular we have invited Archie Shepp, that hadn’t played in Slovenia for 30 years, and simultaneously many Slovenian musicians, living both abroad, for example in Amsterdam or New York, and living here as well, but with international projects.
How do you choose the festival theme?
Each year we try and give a different focus; this year the attention is focused on the cities, there are three projects from Berlin, three from London, some others from Sweden. Thanks to a series of coincidences, another important theme will be the trumpet.
What is your idea of success in organising the festival?
We sketch out the programme by trying and obtaining the best possible combination of artists. Once we have realised the programme, we then check if it really works. We love to create a community, to set the preconditions, so that the people can live the event in a certain way, they stop and talk even after the end of the gigs, and so on.
Your festival audience is becoming more and more cosmopolitan and international.
Yes, it is, and this is also because Ljubljana has become like that; we must also say that we try and make people not to come here for the “star”, but because they know the kind of atmosphere that there will be.
In a few years you will celebrate the 60th edition: do you already have some idea?
One thing is sure: we invited John Zorn to the 50th anniversary, and we thought  that we would have liked to have him again for the 60th edition; that’s why I really hope that he will join us.

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