Partying with The Italians – Umbria Jazz Festival

Visitors have been flocking to the gorgeous city of Perugia, Italy, for more than just its historical significance.  This Italian city plays host to one of the most beautiful music festivals in the world. The Umbria Jazz festival is known for its amazing performers and has been wowing audiences for 45 years. This world-renowned jazz festival has introduced and featured over 500 artists in 250 concerts at different venues in the city of Perugia.

Nearly 450,000 people have attended the festival related events around the city over the years. The first ever Umbria Festival was in the year 1973 and introduced the electric fusion music by Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter. If you have ever heard of some of the greats of Jazz music, you can be sure that they have played a part at the Umbria Festival in their lifetime. Archie Shepp, Kieth Jarrett, Gil Evans, Quincy Jones, etc. are some of the big names who have headlined at the festival.

Features at The Umbria Jazz Festival

For the year 2018, Quincy Jones headlined David Byrne with his remarkable performance. Audiences were presented with energy packed performances by Gilberto Gil, Pat Metheny, Roy Hargrove, Joshua Redman, and Billy Hart. The atmosphere was only enhanced in spite of rains, and the crowds never wanted to let the weather, turn them away from their greatest heroes. Artists such as Massive Attack, Shaggy and the Chainsmokers are known for the less-than-jazz styles of music, and yet played a significant part in this year’s festival.

The party is not just at the festival venues but reaches to the far corners of the city. Bars and pubs that play host to the music venues are jam-packed, and so are the other places nearby. From the time in memorial, the festival has been action-packed. The organizing of the festival is a massive feat that the logistical, organizational and security issues are all taken into consideration before deciding on the date to host it.

The History Behind the Umbria Jazz Festival

On 23rd August 1973, the Umbria Jazz festival was born. It was organized by the efforts of a colossal jazz music lover. Little did Carlo Pagnotta, the founder of the legendary Jazz Festival, realize that his efforts to bring Jazz to Perugia would be the making of something historic. The fever that accompanies the festival has maintained, if not increased, over the years since the very first festival, in 1973. The beautiful locations around Perugia play backdrop to the venues that host the festival events and, tourists flock to these locations.

The problems with security and the inability to sustain a large audience that came with the festival, caused the organizers to stop the festival for three years. However, by popular demand, the festival was reinstated, and the popularity picked up where it was left off. After the relaunch, the city and organizers were more equipped to handle the problems that came with hosting an event of this magnitude. Music icons such as Elton John, Carlos Santana, and Eric Clapton have graced the stages of the venues at the Umbria Jazz festival, and the Umbria Jazz Association was formed in the year 1985. This ten-day festival makes Perugia, become a global musical village that resonates with beautiful music echoing off the walls of historical buildings and squares.