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San Sebastian Jazz Festival
The Green Stage at Zurriola Beach.
Heineken Jazzaldia, more commonly known as the San Sebastian Jazz Festival, is a jazz festival in San Sebastian, Spain, held every year during the third week of July, and lasting for five days.
The festival was founded in 1966, as the first jazz festival in Spain and one of the oldest in Europe. The Heineken Jazzaldia hosts around a hundred concerts on twelve stages across the city. Some of these concerts are free and others are ticketed; and some of the venues are in the open air and some others are indoors. Among these, the concerts in Zurriola Beach and the terraces of the Kursaal Auditorium are attended by the most people. In 2018, around 171,500 people attended the festival.
The first San Sebastian Jazz Festival took place on 10 and 11 September 1966. The following year the festival was moved to July, where it has remained since then. At first, Jazzaldia was an international competition for amateur groups, and the only professional performance was by Mickey Baker.
Plaza de la Trinidad (Trinity Square), a square in the old town at the foot of Mount Urgull, was chosen as the main location of the Festival. This square was built in 1963, designed by the architect Peña Ganchegui to commemorate the centenary of the demolition of the city walls. Plaza de la Trinidad has been the main focus of the festival since then. The small area means that the audience is close to the stage, but in the mid 1970s more famous artists started to perform at Jazzaldia, so more spacious venues were needed, and the shows were moved to Anoeta Velodrome and the Sports Hall.
In 1992, the organisers decided to stop organising concerts in the Velodrome and return to the origins of the festival at Plaza de la Trinidad. Nowadays, there are a dozen stages spread through the city. The festival has increased its attendance each year, and also the age range of attendees, with Zurriola Beach the most popular venue among young people.
Kursaal Auditorium, designed by the architect Rafael Moneo, a 1,800 seat auditorium whose acoustics are most appropriate for solo recitals or small formats, although the size of its stage also allows performances by large orchestras and choirs.
Victoria Eugenia Theatre, an Italian-style theatre. The theatre was renovated between 2001 and 2007, maintaining its original appearance while technical features were upgraded.
Victoria Eugenia Club, an underground club space situated under the main stage of the theatre above.
San Telmo Museum, a 16th-century building which was reopened in 2011 after a restoration that added a modern wing.
The Green Stage at Zurriola Beach.
Chick Corea & Stanley Clarke at Kursaal Auditorium (2014).
The Green Stage on Zurriola Beach, which stages free concerts. Situated on the beach, the stage has an unlimited capacity and attracts large crowds such as for concerts by Bob Dylan (83,000 people in 2006), Jamie Cullum (50,000 in 2013), B.B. King (41,000 in 2011), Patti Smith (20,000 in 2010) and Bobby McFerrin with Orfeón Donostiarra (18,000 in 2008).
Frigo Space, located on one of the terraces outside the Kursaal, facing the sea. Free concerts are held in this space from 7pm until dawn.
Heineken Terrace, situated on one of the terraces of the Kursaal, overlooking Zurriola beach.
The Coca-Cola Space, focused on new artists, located on the Paseo de la Zurriola, next to the beach and the terraces of the Kursaal.
Nauticool, located in the terrace of the Yacht Club (Club Náutico), next to the harbour.
Donostiako Jazzaldia Award
Since 1994, Heineken Jazzaldia has presented an award to one of the artists performing at the festival, in recognition of their contribution to jazz and influence on following generations of musicians. The award is a plaque engraved with an image of Plaza de la Trinidad.