Whether you’re looking to relax to some good old blues or swing dance in the town square, there is something for everyone when the jazz festival is on! While the origins of jazz stem from the great American south, it has since made its way to the Nordics with Copenhagen’s Jazz Festival, often ranked as one of the best in the world. Here are this year’s jazz events in the Nordics and what not to miss:

Copenhagen Jazz Festival
Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Foto: Simon Christensen

Copenhagen Jazz Festival

2014 Dates: Friday, July 4 – Sunday, July 13

If you love jazz, planning your vacation to Denmark during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival is the only way to go. I mean what better to way to visit the city’s best clubs, cafes, bars, concert halls, parks and squares than with a soundtrack to your favourite jazz musicians? This year’s headliners include Gregory Porter, Concha Buika, The John Scofield Überjam Band and Christian McBride.

With the festival’s growing popularity, drawing in an expected 250,000 visitors (did we mention it’s one of Europe’s biggest) it’s more important than ever to plan right so here are our top two tips.

1. Be sure to download the neat little festival CPHJAZZ app where you can browse over 1000 concerts and even customise your own festival schedule.

2. Remember to book your accommodation early. Can’t find anything in Copenhagen? Remember, Malmo is only a short 30-minute train ride away. For more information visit Jazz.dk.

Oslo Jazz Festival

Oslo Jazz Festival

Image source: Oslo Jazz Festival

2014 Dates: Monday, August 11 – Saturday, August 16

For the rest of us that are intimated by the sheer size of the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, then head over to the capital of Norway in August for the yearly 6-day Oslo Jazz Festival. Although it is a smaller festival by size (60-70 acts), it prides itself on having a selective handful of international and local jazz artists playing intimate style gigs at smaller clubs. That’s just enough to enjoy a few artists a day while still ensuring you have time to explore the city. Because Oslo Jazz Festival spends a lot of time ensuring the most intimately memorable experience at each of their concerts, don’t miss out on these bands that they’ve just announced. They’re really small, but we bet they’ll be good.

Tip: Plan early! 10 of the concert venues are located within walking distance of each other (total 4.2 km walk to see all of them on foot). Visit this friendly Google map or Pinterest board (shown below) of the major venues at Oslo Jazz Festival as well as the hotels located close by. For more information visit the Oslo Jazz Festival website**.**

Oslo Jazz Festival 2014 Hotels

Stockholm Jazz Festival


Image Source: Eva Dahlgren

2014 Dates: Friday, October 10 – Sunday, October 19

Ok, so this festival is not really during the summer, but it’s worth dreaming about now. The Stockholm Jazz Festival is one of Sweden’s oldest and Stockholm’s biggest jazz event. But having only recently moved from the island of Skeppsholmen, to Skansen then to Stockholm, the event is going through a transformation of the sorts to become even bigger and better. Concerts are now spread out across 20 venues throughout the city! Tickets and event details actually don’t officially go live until August 26 but they’ve already released a big-time Grammy winner and jazz icon Wayne Shorter and his quartet. So while everything else is hush-hush for now, we know for a fact that Swedish stars Arne Domnérus, Monica Zetterlund, and international stars such as Count Basie, BB King and Stan Getz have graced the stage here before, so we can only expect great things.

Tip: The main venues are literally within 1 km walking distance of each other. So if you’re from out of town and don’t have a rental car, stay central. And if you do have your own car (for your own sanity) stay outside of this radius. For more information visit the Stockholm Jazz Festival website.