The Esplanadi Park Stage, just off the Kauppatori market and harbour, will be the backdrop for Finnish Jazz Federation’s traditional open-air concert series, Jazz-Espa on July 24 – August 4. On Saturday, the 5th of August, the two-week extravaganza builds up to a family-friendly mini-festival, Jazzjatkot.
This year, the annual concert series Jazz-Espa invades the Espa Stage for the 18th time. As always, the open-air festival will deliver both fresh acts and well-known veterans, offering a an accessible cross-section of today’s Finnish jazz. The jazzy fortnight saw thousands of visitors attend the concerts last year, and, indeed, the festival has established itself as one of the cornerstones of Helsinki’s summery jazz life among both tourists and Helsinkians.
This year, Jazz-Espa is organised on 24 July – 4 August, with concerts taking place at 4pm and 5:30pm from Monday to Thursday and at 4pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The opening Monday presents only the 4pm concert. The venue is accessible to wheelchair users and there is no age limit or admission fee. For the hungry and the thirsty, the opposite terrace of Ravintola Kappeli is the perfect spot, offering refreshments and snacks and commanding a good view to the stage.
The Jazz-Espa festival culminates in the free mini-festival Jazzjatkot on the 5th of August at the same stage, but expanding also to the neighbouring Kappeli terrace. The event welcomes also the youngest members of the family to enjoy the Gommi & Pommi children’s show that kicks off the festivities. After the much-loved cat and rabbit Gommi & Pommi, the event presents the young stars of Katu Kaiku, the smoky and decadent sounds of Josén Pimeä Puoli and the stellar spacejazz-afrobeat powerball Afrojazz Quintet feat Jimi Tenor & Meissa Niang. The day turns into night in the swinging hands of our turntable heroes, We Jazz DJs Matti and Eero.
Jazz-Espa and Jazzjatkot are organised by the Finnish Jazz Federation and supported by the Finnish Music Foundation and The City of Helsinki Cultural Office. Partners and supporters include Restaurant Kappeli, Pianoplan T:mi Ari Harenko, Pop & Jazz Conservatory and Savoy Theatre.
Jazz-Espa graphic design: Tuomas Saikkonen