More than just a jazz party

Marloes Tervoort, dinsdag 4 juni 2013

For years, The Hague used to be the home base of the biggest, internationally renowned jazz festival in Holland. When North Sea Jazz moved to Rotterdam in 2006 it took some getting used to for the faithful fans of the festival. While the two cities are not far apart geographically, the atmosphere is totally different. And the festival was so closely intertwined with The Hague that a new tradition had to be fostered in Rotterdam.

Seven years later the foundations for a new tradition seem to be finally there. The festival is still popular among jazz lovers, but also draws a broader audience. Which comes as no surprise with all the big names on the programme every year. Alicia Keys, Seal, Lenny Kravitz, Erykah Badu, Van Morrison and Adele, to name but a few. As a result tickets to the festival sell out within days every year.

I went to the festival several times and saw some of the stars I mentioned above. Thanks to a friend who works behind the screens at the festival, which makes a difference because tickets are not given away for free. In addition to entry tickets, which already cost a lot of money (79 euros per day, 169 euros for a 3-day passe-partout), drinks and snacks are expensive as well. Although you won’t be eating French fries and drinking beer but rather oysters and champagne.

My personal highlight in recent years was Prince (Prince!), who gave a remarkable performance. In a hall overflowing with a childishly enthusiastic audience, the star gave us his biggest hits. Afterwards I heard people complain about the bad audio quality but perhaps they had had to little champagne and an oyster or two too many.