A Jazz Festival You Can Only Find in Sitges
It's not just that so many things happen in Sitges. On top of it, they only happen here. Or at least they only happen here the way they do: the Carnival, the Barcelona-Sitges International Vintage Car Rally, the Corpus Christi celebration... and also the Jazz Antic Sitges Festival. Why? Because it's unique. Because it is certainly one of the most important old-time jazz festivals in the Mediterranean, because almost all the concerts are free, because its music fills the streets of Sitges and because the musicians who come to perform make improvisation an art form (later on you'll see that we're not exaggerating on this point either).
The first thing is to save the dates: from Wednesday April 6th to Sunday April 10th (you can find the program here), Saturday 9th being the day when the most popular and original event will take place. On that day, 24 musicians who all come to the Festival individually, meet up in the afternoon. And they all agree to enter a drawing to create different groups of musicians who will then take on the challenge of performing together and playing pieces from the 1920's. That idea of building a plane in mid-flight? Well, it’s just that, but with trombones, clarinets, and banjos, among other instruments. That's why we mentioned the 'pro' level improvisation before... We really don't exaggerate!
This musical parade is called the Jazz Antic Sitges Parade. It is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m., when the newly created groups (whose members will have met each other just minutes before) will set off on a 'musical procession' from Town Hall Square, traveling along different streets in town, to finally finish on Calle Jesús.
Joan Pinós, director of the Sitges Antic Jazz Festival, admits that this random lineup of participating musicians "is a differentiating and unique element" of this festival. The other distinctive value of the Antic Jazz Festival is that it is very focused on the jazz that was being performed in the early 20th century: New Orleans jazz (1920s) plus Manouche and swing jazz (late 1930s). Pinós recalls that "at first we had conceived a general jazz festival, with room for all styles and periods, but we thought it would be better to narrow it down and specialize it. And yes, it has been an excellent choice".
The excellent choice has to do with the popularity of this Festival, which can be explained by the fact that, like any good festival, it's a party. By everyone and for everyone, and with the street as a stage, exactly the way we like it here in Sitges. And the Festival is also supported by both the town's associative and recreational network. The list of venues for this year's different concerts includes the Café Montroig, the El Retiro Gardens, the Mercat Vell, Casino Prado, the Malvasia Interpretation Center (CIM) and the Utopia Beach House.
In short: here in Sitges, wherever you are and whatever time it is, from April 6th to 10th your soundtrack will be jazz. So, no improvising ;)