XJAZZ! Festival line-up brings together some of the biggest names in jazz, modern classical and electronica

Photo credit: Johanna Wizmur

Since its inception in 2014, which turned the German jazz scene on its head, XJAZZ! Festival has been known for causing a stir. Born from an independent and grass-roots desire to break with conventions, the festival offers a platform for both established and lesser-known artists to express themselves without restraints, merging styles and stretching out the definition of “jazz” to a much broader and more exciting landscape than what is traditionally allowed.

For one week a year, Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighbourhood is taken by storm, becoming the world stage for everything new and avant-garde, captivating a diverse, urban audience in the process. “The idea was to develop a jazz festival format which should represent a clear antithesis to the established German jazz culture,” states founder and artistic director, Sebastian Studnitzky. The rebellious manifesto has persisted resolutely throughout the years, as XJAZZ! has grown into the most famous jazz festival in Germany attracting crowds of around 20,000 from around the world to Berlin.

With over 250 international acts, the XJAZZ! 2022 line-up brings together some of the biggest names in jazz like Nu Genea, Avishai Cohen, Josè James, Theo Croker, Emma-Jean Thackray and Amaro Freitas alongside newcomers in the genre as well as electronica and classical acts such as Leona Berlin, Douniah, May The Muse, Moses Yoofee, Wanubalé, Mariana Zwarg, Evîn, Jembaa Groove and many more. The mix of acts of varied sizes has made XJAZZ! an important launching platform for artists in Germany for the last 8 years, “There are many cool Berlin acts that had one of their first major concerts at XJAZZ!,” says XJAZZ! team.

Regardless of its size or the renown of its headlining acts, XJAZZ! is above all an intimate experience. Happening in a small radius, it allows for up-and-close encounters with musicians, and new friendships to be formed within an audience united by their love of music. XJAZZ! venues are deliberately selected spaces that are not tied to classical jazz stereotypes. Be it in the sweaty dance floor of Bi Nuu nightclub or the glorious atrium of Emmaus Church, audiences are constantly confronted with new ideas in sight and sound, and through these, encouraged to let go of any preconceived notions. XJAZZ! only asks of its audiences that they enter with an open mind.

Following a year marked by closures and isolation, restoring a sense of community is intrinsic to this year’s edition of the festival with several special events planned to bring people together beyond the concerts. This year’s edition of the festival will also allow audiences the autonomy to curate their own festival experience with a 10 concert ticket pass, encouraging the discovery of new acts in a welcoming and fluid environment.

For more information and tickets visit the XJAZZ! Festival website.


About the Author

Director and DJ, Ian French (Naif) is passionate about many genres of music from Breakbeat and Drum & Bass to Techno and Electronica. A man that lives in a world of bass and beats, Ian is an obsessive collector of music and a true geek at heart, with many years spent in application design.