Georgia at the European Jazz Conference

The 2018 European Jazz Conference will be held from September 13th to September 16th at the Cultural Center De Belem in Lisbon, Portugal.  This year marks the first year that a Georgian jazz industry representative will participate in the prestigious event.  The conference is the most significant annual gathering of professionals from the jazz industry in Europe.  Featuring insightful keynote speeches, discussion groups and workshops, networking sessions, and a festival to pay homage to the emerging artists of the hosting country,—this year, Portugal—the European Jazz Conference a vital force in the world of jazz in Europe. 

Each year, the conference is organized by the European Jazz Network (EJN).  EJN is a non-profit network of producers, presenters, and organizations.  The network emphasizes music from a distinct European outlook.  And this year, Kavkaz Jazz Festival founder and director Helen Mechitova was selected by EJN to participate in the conference.  

The Kavkaz Jazz Festival was founded in June 2010 in Tbilisi, Georgia to showcase diverse and international musical talents and is now held annually in the city.  Though it is a first that a Georgian jazz industry representative has joined the European Jazz Conference, the Kavkaz Festival has been featured in DownBeat magazine and collaborated with the Jamey Aebersold School of Music (2016) and BOZAR—Center of Fine Arts in Belgium (2017).  The invitation from EJN to the conference is not only momentous in the sense that it’s the first time for Georgia, but also in that it is well deserved for the mission of the Kavkaz Festival.  

This year’s theme for the European Jazz Conference is “On the Edge,” which aims to incite discussion about edges, peripheries, and edginess.  The edgy theme is perhaps a fitting one for Georgia—a country that has been increasingly gaining press—and for the Kavkaz Festival that provides a platform for diverse musicians as edginess highlights difference.


By Shirin Mahdavi


13 September 2018 01:18