The jazzy side of Augusta Trajana: Jazz forum Stara Zagora

Jazz forum Stara Zagora

Every June, to the enchanting smell from lime trees in the former Augusta Trajana some jazz oomph adds up to the atmosphere in the town and that is the Jazz Forum Stara Zagora. It happens to be the first major jazz event in Bulgaria every year. The festival aims high and attracts strong international participation. The event presents the audience with joint performances of uncompromising musical quality, where foreign and Bulgarian musicians gather forces and talent.

Good to know: During Roman times Stara Zagora’s ancient name was Augusta Trajana.

Good to know: During Roman times Stara Zagora’s ancient name was Augusta Trajana.

Great Bulgarian musicians such as Antony Donchev, Angel Zaberski, Mihail Yosiffov, Peter Salchev, Marina Gospodinova, Militsa Gladnishka and many others have been part of the forum.

Among the special guests in Stara Zagora during the jazz fest have been the amazing Yildiz Ibrahimova, the American jazz and gospel singer Janice Harrington. The festival gathered and gathers artists from the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Britain, Russia, the U.S. and Colombia. In 2013 to the list of popular names performed at the stage of the fest, the organizers added Sipyagin Alexander (USA), Gerard Prezentser (UK), Eric Vluimans (Netherlands), Bella Saloki (Hungary), Maciej Fortuna Trio (Poland), Juan Garcia Herreros (Colombia).

Jazz Forum Stara Zagora 2012 -Yildiz Ibrahimova Quartet
Jazz Forum Stara Zagora 2012: Antony Donchev – piano, Veselin Veselinov (Eco) – Bass, Hristo Yotzov – drums, Yildiz Ibrahimova – vocals

Traditionally international guests are partnering on stage with their Bulgarian colleagues, for instance must-hear bands like:

  • Big Band of the Bulgarian National Radio
  • Michael Yossifov Band,
  • Wladigeroff Brothers
  • Military Big Band Stara Zagora
  • Dixieland All Stars.

Each year Stara Zagora Jazz Festival offers various activities for everyone – jazz classes for kids and jazz lectures for the most avid jazz lovers.

For just a slight idea of the atmosphere at the festival and the great performances there, watch “Cherokee – Jam session “All Trumpeters Night” at Jazz Forum Stara Zagora 2013″

Jazz for Kids

Stara Zagora Jazz forum - Jazz for kids with Ventzi Blagoev

Like at many other Bulgarian festivals in the recent years, Jazz Forum Stara Zagora pays special attention to the youngest. The program of the forum includes matinees for children and special classes for them. The initiative is called with “Jazz for children with Ventsislav Blagoev” and every year successfully involves the youngest fans of the genre in fun, jazzy activities.

The roots of Stara Zagora Jazz Forum: Live Zara Jazz

The person behind the festival is the popular Bulgarian jazz trumpeter – Ventsi Blagoev (personal website) whose enthusiasm and affection for jazz music not only attracts the passionate musicians to come to perform in his project, but also inspires Stara Zagora citizens and visitors.

Ventsislav Blagoev is part of the organizational and art festival team  Plovdiv Jazz Nights. Performing in all its editions, Mr. Blagoev participated in projects  with the five-time Grammy winner Randy Brecker and the great saxophonist Chico Freeman.

Actually, Jazz Forum Stara Zagora is a natural successor of a project called the “Live Jazz Zara” which for only 3 years (from 2009 to 2011) had a total of 25 editions. The project aimed at gathering talented musicians and also inspiring and educating young talents. A significant part of Live Jazz Zara were the free master classes in jazz improvisation given before each concert by renowned jazz musicians.

Jazz forum Stara Zagora is organized every year by the Municipality of Stara Zagora and takes place in Park ”Fifth October” , the admission to the concerts is free and an they usually start at 6.30 p,.m


Jazz Forum Stara Zagora YouTube Cannel
Project jazz for kids:

Photo Courtesy: Stara Zagora Jazz Forum (