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Live Reviews

Hong Kong International Jazz Festival, Days 1-3, September 25-27, 2011

By Published: October 4, 2011
One question which arose from the sole European in the audience was how can European jazz musicians access the Asian jazz festival/touring market. Asia is emerging as a market for European (and American) jazz musicians, with festivals popping up at a rate of knots. In the last ten years, three jazz festivals have sprung up in Malaysia, five in both Thailand and Indonesia, at least four in China, several in Japan, two in South Korea, and other festivals in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Mongolia and Azerbaijan. In 2010, the Jarasum International Jazz Festival, an hour or so outside Seoul, drew an audience of 168,000 people, with half the festival program comprised of jazz musicians from Europe and America. Augustin described how festival directors from Asia are bombarded with questions about how bands can get into Asia's jazz market, at European jazz conventions.

One of the key questions for European musicians/agents regards visa and work permit requirements across Asia. Augustin suggested that a tour of key European/American cities by a panel of Asia's jazz festival directors, in order to provide such information, might be of interest for musicians, their agents and managers trying to get a foothold in Asia. It wouldn't be difficult to imagine that such a panel would invite a lot of attention, and it's an idea which European and American jazz festival directors, funding bodies—as well as universities and colleges offering jazz programs—might consider.

What also emerged from the panel discussion was the difficulty in securing sponsors for jazz festivals, and how this has a strong hand in influencing the programming of festivals. Right across the board, throughout Europe and America and Asia, jazz festivals are including other styles of music, and greater diversity to gain broader appeal. Variety, as the saying goes, is the spice of life, and for jazz festivals—in particular in these uncertain economic times—variety may well mean their very survival, wherever they may be.

Coming up in days four, five and six of the Hong Kong International Jazz Festival: In The Country
In The Country
In The Country

; Maria João & Mário Laginha; the Dainius Pulauskas Group; the Emil Vikilicky Trio; and Blanca Gallice.

Photo Credits
Aseana Percussion Unit: Ian Patterson
Wison Lam: Felix Tam
Arnaud Rouanet, Oscar Lorient, Alexander Rodriguez Cala: Felix Tam
Sanjiv Daevin, David Victor: Felix Tam
Simin Tander: The Mira Hong Kong
All other photos: Ian Patterson

Days 1-3 | Days 4-6 | Days 7-8

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