A whole month of jazz? Yes please! The Amman Jazz Festival is back this April
The third Amman Jazz Festival opens on April 30 with the participation of 16 groups and more than 70 musicians.
Organised by Friends of Jordan Festivals (FJF), Al Balad Theatre and OrangeRed, the month-long festival will feature 36 concerts performed in the capital and beyond.
Performers from Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Armenia, Egypt, Syria, Palestine and Jordan are taking part in the festival.
Two concerts will be held on the shores of the Dead Sea in the third week of the festival, which concludes on May 28.
FJF Executive Director Souha Bawab said FJF decided to take part in organising the event for the first time to make it bigger.
“We want to put Jordan on the global tourism map and help increase the number of visitors by holding such events,” she told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.
Lama Hazboun, the technical director of the festival, said this year, organisers decided to highlight participating Arab groups, especially the Syrian band.
“The opening day of the festival will mark both UNESCO’s International Jazz Day and Jazz for Syria,” she noted.
Jazz for Syria is an international event held with the aim of raising awareness and support for Syrian refugees. The event consists of three simultaneous concerts in Beirut, Amman and The Hague, according to a statement issued by the organisers.
International Jazz Day is organised by UNESCO to encourage its 195 member states to host jazz concerts and educational programmes, the statement said.
Amman will celebrate International Jazz Day in collaboration with the “Syrious Mission” project, which organises music workshops for Syrian refugee children, and Syrian Music Lives on April 30 at Zara Expo, according to the statement.
“There used to be a great number of important cultural activities in Syria. In the past three years, all these activities were not held due to the instability there,” Hazboun said.
She noted that the main concerts will be held at two theatres during the weekends.
“Every weekend, two jazz concerts will be held at Al Balad Theatre in downtown Amman and Zara Expo. During the week, new concerts will be held at several restaurants and cafés.”
The festival’s technical director said the organisers tried to invite as many Jordanian jazz artists as possible.
“What makes the festival unique is that there is a kind of cultural exchange between participants,” she added.
Lubna Al Juqqa, Al Balad Theatre programme manager, said several workshops and talks by artists will be held during the festival.
Four artists will speak about music management in an unstable economic industry, highlighting the challenges, opportunities and success stories in the art sector, according to the statement.
In response to a question posed by The Jordan Times about Jordanians’ attendance in the past two festivals and the popularity of jazz among the local community, Hazboun noted that the number of visitors increased during the past two festivals.
“To be honest, we were surprised that all the concerts were fully packed. Perhaps people who listen to jazz, which is not part of Arab culture, invited their friends to attend these shows and then the number increased,” she added.
Commenting on the same issue, Bawab noted that previously, there was no audience for jazz in the Kingdom.
“In the past, when we used to hold a jazz concert, the audience was limited,” she said.
Juqqa said the last two editions of the festival contributed to exposing many people to this genre.