2020 will mark the 40th anniversary of the last weekend of March in the cozy resort town of Birštonas, the traditional, the oldest international jazz festival in Lithuania, Birštonas. 2020 the festival will take place March 27-29. The jazz that has been playing here every two years since 1980 has long since gained the name of Lithuanian jazz Mecca for this resort. After all, jazz "pilgrims" are attracted from all over Lithuania, and not only from it. In a city with a population of 2.9 thousand people, almost every 2 years they listen to jazz - 3 thousand jazz listeners! Thus, the radio and TV recordings of this festival are probably the most comprehensive document in Lithuanian jazz history. Eventually, the Jazz Forum in Birštonas gave impetus to Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda residents to organize similar events in their cities.
The Birštonas Jazz Festival is not only the oldest but also the most democratic jazz forum in Lithuania, presenting the most diverse aspects of Lithuanian jazz, a variety of genre trends and styles, from the dixielands to the experimental, innovative quest of contemporary jazz. Capacious and its program is a true jazz marathon, typically featuring about 20 bands over 3 weekend days. The biggest part of the festival program is made up of Lithuanian jazz musicians, so the Birštonas Jazz Festival mirrors the face of Lithuanian jazz - musicians who have made their debut on the jazz scene and have already gained international recognition, once became the springboard for big, international jazz scenes. The Birštonas Jazz Festival scene is open not only to mature, famous country jazzmen, but also to young debut musicians.
Birštonas Jazz Festival is distinguished by its own Grand Prix, a kind of Lithuanian jazz Oscar, which is awarded for the most important contribution to Lithuanian jazz. The Grand Prix, created by 20 famous Lithuanian artists, has its owners. the 21st will be awarded to the most deserving of Lithuanian jazz.
Since the very first Birštonas Jazz Festival, jazz artists from other countries have been playing there, so we have an opportunity to evaluate Lithuanian jazzmen in an international context.
An exceptional feature of the event is the organizers' attitude - "the stage is for art", so you will not read the names of the sponsors (other space), and the stage design is a unique work of art that creates space for jazz and sometimes even extra impulses. Since the first festival, its attributes have been created by artist R. Kepežinskas, who year after year uses the theme of musical instruments creatively in the sign of the festival. Those who come to listen to jazz are traditionally greeted by a jazz photo exhibition.
The Birštonas Festival has an international resonance - it is known in Europe and attracts organizers, producers, managers, jazz critics and journalists from other countries. The festival is constantly filmed and recorded by Lithuanian television and radio, thus documenting the history of Lithuanian jazz.