Claiming both an international reputation and to be one of the oldest festivals in Sweden, the Stockholm Jazz Festival celebrated its 20th birthday in 2003, refusing to give up its main venue on Skeppsholmen, since long having a status as the soul of the festival, the unique backdrop of the Stockholm harbour regarded as the distinguishing mark of the festival.
Over the years, arguably all known names in jazz have appeared on stage - including Swedish stars such as Arne Domnérus, Monica Zetterlund, Nils Landgren, Peps Persson, and Lisa Ekdahl, and international giants such as Count Basie, BB King, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miriam Makeba. For a full list see the external links below.
While the city is contributing SEK 600,000 to the festival as of 2007 , others are asking themselves if the festival is developing in the right direction; commercial ventures occupying much of the cramped festival area, occasionally shouting louder than the laid-back performances on the stage while helping to place international giants within the festival's financial scope, and, as sometimes suggested, the jazz-oriented content gradually dwindling for artists easier to merchandise. For the festival of 2007, however, a national project called Jazzens år 2007 ("Year of Jazz 2007") is an effort to put focus and add vitality to the genre.
Stockholm Jazzathon is an attempt to set a new record as the worlds longest jam: a five-day, around the clock jazz improvisation featuring over 100 musicians. The concert starts July 11th and is streamed live on stockholmjazzathon.com as a part of the Stockholm Jazz Festival, which starts when the world record is set on the 16th of July 2008.
The record highlights the festival's 25th anniversary, but the celebration regards the entire jazz scene, with all its different variations.