Every year starting on Ascension day Thursday, my hometown Breda turns into a temporary mini New Orleans. For four whole days all that resonates through the city is the sound of saxophones, guitars and sultry voices singing. This is the time of the Breda Jazz Festival.
Every year since 1968 stages pop up around town, sound systems are installed and tents are pitched to keep visitors dry. It's a truly urban music festival with artists and visitors flocking to Breda from all over the world and the best thing is, there's no mud. Breda usually has a relaxed and laid-back vibe, with its outdoor cafes dotted around its main market square, but during the Breda Jazz Festival the atmosphere is even more vibrant.
I hadn't actually been to the Breda Jazz Festival in what must have been 15 years. From what I remembered the music had always been a bit more dixieland and something that appealed my grandparents more than me. I would only ever go to taste the buzzy atmosphere in town and to hang out in the crowded bars with my friends. But this year, it seemed that the music at the festival had evolved into something a bit hipper. With artists such as Hans Dulfer and Laury Fygi on the program this festival no longer was the stuffy festival I remembered. There were more wailing guitars and husky saxophones and fewer chirpy banjos and perky ukuleles.
My friends and I strolled past the numerous stages spread out around town. We listened to artists such as the Rythm & Bluesy Mike Sanchez and his band. We watched Preston Shannon having a jam session on his guitar and we practiced our salsa moves to the tunes of Latin Cruise. It was a shame that I only had one day to enjoy it all. Next time I will go for the full four days and I won't wait another 15 years either.