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The Hague Jazz Festival 2008

Several artists Several artists Several artists Several artists Neal McClimon
Over the weekend of May 23 and 24, 2008. Over 22,000 people traveled from around Europe to attend the third Hague Jazz festival, held in the World Forum. This festival has replaced the world famous North Sea Jazz Festival, which has now moved onto Rotterdam. The Hague has been and always will be the number one for Jazz in Holland and as they lost the North Sea festival, three years ago the Hague Jazz was born. It was popular and almost sold out in its first year.

Two years later an eclectic mix of 75 artists on 10 stages over two nights provided a musical extravaganza to an excited audience. Performers from around the world gave their own interpretations of jazz and jazz influenced music. From the Samba beats of South America to the echoing of rhythmic African drums, from the United States a Hip Hop/Rap/Jazz band wowed the crowd on the main stage with its energy. The States provided several acts apart from the Hip Hop/Jazz of Guru’s Jazzmatazz. Sex Mob, Stanley Clarke, The Cookers, Eddie Palmien, Rose and many more. There were of course the more traditional jazz sounds of sax; trumpet and bass, which is what most people, went along to listen to. As well as the more established and famous acts, the Hague Jazz is gaining a reputation as a vital showcase for young new talent. This year they had a stage that had some young Scandinavians providing some excellent music in various styles that went down extremely well with those who attended.

The 80’s were well represented this year on the main stages. Chic, Matt Bianco and Level 42 belted out some of their hits and added a few more jazzy songs to their repertoires. I believe the biggest shock of all was Tony Hadley, former lead singer of the super group Spandau Ballet. He was backed by a big band and performed an amazing set. I must say he has the best male vocals I have ever heard during a live performance. He adapted to everything, swing, jazz, blues etc. By the end the crowd were rocking and wanting more.

Apart from musically being a huge success, logistically it also went superbly well. There were no queues; everything was kept spotlessly clean and tidy. I spoke to a lady called Helene Oozebing from Sweden who said "No slipping on mayonnaise or treading on half eaten rolls and burgers, plenty of toilets and more importantly toilet paper. The cleaning crew was constantly doing their rounds and it showed. Quite an achievement to maintain a spotless place with thousands of people drinking and partying the night away." All the tiniest details were thought about simply and sensibly; and it all worked out so effectively and efficiently. Everybody else I spoke to were most impressed by the event, for the first time ever, I never heard one single complaint by anybody about anything. Now that takes some doing to keep 22,000 people happy and entertained.

So finally, if you want a recommendations for a vacation in May 2009. May I suggest a week in Holland to include The Hague Jazz Festival 2009? I promise you will not regret it!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Several artists Several artists
  • Concert Date: 23 and 24 May 2008
  • Subtitle: Don't Jazzitate
  • Venue: The World Forum
  • City State Country: The Hague, Holland
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