|Fanny Lasfargues. Photo Credit: Ansgar Bolle
From the Exhibition Klangbilder at the Stadthause Galerie, Münster
It’s a new year, a blank page. The Münster Jazz Festival has been in existence since 1979. It’s the first festival of the year, held in a town in the top left hand corner of Germany.
Fritz Schmücker, the Director of the Festival, and Frauke Schnell, Head of Culture for the city, presented the festival yesterday at the opening of the Radio Jazz Research seminar, and told the story. Schmücker said that in the 1980’s they used to just bring in big names, but it was a “death spiral,” because people would complain that this year’s big name wasn’t as big as last year’s big name, and would stay away. Now they have developed a reputation, credibility and trust for their strong programming, and each Festival (it’s held every two years). The tickets all sell out very quickly, even though they present new faces. “I try to think of every one like its my first one,” said Schmücker.
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One salient fact is that exactly 25% (four out of sixteen) of the headlining band-leaders are women: Elin Larsson, Celine Bonacina, Airelle Besson and Laura Jurd, the last of whom is making her very first festival appearance outside the UK.
There is a definite theme of Women in Jazz in Germany this year:
* The Jazz Institute in Darmastadt has launched a call for papers for its Gender and Identity conference in October
* Der Spiegel has a feature on the subject
* One of the most influential jazz blogs in Germany has picked up the subject
*The 2015 Jazz Festival in Halle is a Women in Jazz Festival
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