bansko jazz festival

The Bansko Jazz Festival – Line Up, Program and More

The Bansko Jazz Festival is a Jazz and Music festival held in the mountain town of Bansko Bulgaria, since 1988.  Bansko’s Jazz Festival is always held at the beginning of August, with headline acts from around the world as well as local bands, singers and performers. In 2020 this was a chargeable event, in normal times it is usually free, but we shares ways to listen to the music for free too.

There are usually bands and performers from Bulgaria, Turkey, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, France, Italy, the UK, Greece and the USA.  Performers for the 2020 Bansko Jazz Festival were primarily from Bulgaria, although there are some Serbian, Italian, English and Russian performers.   You’ll get to hear Big Band music, Dixieland Jazz, Blues and a whole lot more. When there are published details about Bansko Jazz 2022 we will update it here.


Bulgaria Coronavirus Update

Our guides for travelling to Bulgaria do NOT contain Coronavirus updates. You should always read the Bulgarian Government’s Travel & Health Advisory – you can find that here

Big Band Blagoevgrad

Bansko Jazz Festival Dates

The Bansko jazz Festival 2020 started on August 8th 2020 at 7 pm and an until August 13th 2020.   Most performances ran until around 2300, or midnight.

Bansko Jazz Festival flags

The Bansko Jazz festival is just one of the free Bansko festivals organized and held over the spring, summer and autumn – you can find out more about Bansko activities here. 

Bansko jazz festival family crowd

This is Bansko, a ski town in summer and she’s beautiful.  There are a lot of Bansko summer activities apart from just the festivals.

History of the Bansko Jazz Festival

The Bansko Jazz Festival began in 1998 and has always run at the beginning of August (so you can book your visit for next year already!).  The brainchild of a local doctor, Dr Emil Iliev, the festival has always been an international affair and it’s always been an eclectic mix of jazz styles.  Here you’ll find swing, blues, be-bop, Dixieland jazz, boogie, there are violins, double bass and pianos on stage.

Bansko jazz Festival stage

The Bansko Jazz Festival Stage – Map of Bansko Jazz Festival

The stage is in Bansko’s main town square, the Nikola Vaptazarov Square, an open, paved area, with grassy spots surrounded by laidback restaurants and cafes.   Seating is on long rows of wooden benches, which also make an appearance at Bansko’s other festivals and open air events over the summer.  Or you can sit on the grass, stand at the pop up food and drink areas or wile away the evening in one of the cafes and restaurants.


Bansko Jazz Festival Cost (Normal Times)

Normally the festival is free, apart from the VIP tickets.   You can pay for a ticket to sit in the VIP area, or, like most folks, enjoy the music and vibe from different vantage points throughout the evening.  In 2019 there was a large VIP area roped off, but still plenty of seating, or bring a camping chair and claim space.  In 202 a ticket for the front VIP area cost 100 leva for the full festival, or you can buy daily tickets for 20 leva each..  Tickets can be bought from the reception Kiosk area or the Bansko Municipality.   Some hotels will also provide them to their guests on request. If it rains, then the proceedings move indoors and there’s a 20 leva fee.

Bansko Jazz Festival Cost

In 2020 there was a daily fee of 20 leva for tickets to the Jazz festival.  The 23rd annual Jazz Festival program will only be able to seat 400 people, entrance is only allowed for people holding tickets.  A ticket for the 7 days of the 2020 Bansko Jazz festival was 100 leva.

Food and Drink at Bansko Jazz Festival

There are several refreshment stalls – where you can imbibe a large cold beer for 3 leva or decent Bulgarian wine for 7 leva.  There’s bottled beer and wine too.   If you don’t want to sit down at one of the local restaurants or cafés, then there are snack stalls too.

Bansko Jazz Food Menu
Bansko Jazz Food Prices

Chips, meatballs, sausages, huge slices of pizza, crepes, ice cream, popcorn and candy floss sit alongside the usual market stalls of hot corn on the cob.

If you’d like to find out more about the Bansko Must Eats – a list of great Bulgarian Food that you MUST try – then take a look.

The Bansko Jazz Festival Program 2020

The Bansko Jazz Festival has key features and types of performances each year.  The Bansko Jazz Program for 2020 MAY had last minute changes because of the Emergency situation in Bansko.

You’ll find standard jazz, bebop, blues, swing, Dixieland, boogie-woogies.  The festival is traditionally opened by the Big Band of Bulgarian National Radio with conductor Yanko Miladinov.

The Bansko Jazz festival 2020 programme began at 7 pm each night.  Each performance lasts around 90 minutes and there are three or four performers each night.  If that’s not enough for you, then there’s also Jazz at Midnight in three of the town’s hotels too.

Bansko Jazz at Midnight

The Jazz festival Bansko continued even in 2020 (althougha again this may be subject to last minute changes). Midnight Jazz in 2020 was held from 23:00 to 02:00 with the Angel Zaberski Quartet. 

Read More About Bansko

Where is Bansko

Situated at the foot of the Pirin mountains, Bansko is well known as Bulgaria’s biggest ski resort.  The town is around 2 hour drive from Bulgaria’s capital city, Sofia.   It can also be reached in around 2.5 hours from Plovdiv.


How to get to Bansko

Bansko is easily reached from the capital city of Sofia – find out how in our guide to getting from Sofia to Bansko.  It’s also easy to get here from Bulgaria’s second city, the train journey from Plovdiv to Bansko is fabulous.

Where to stay in Bansko

Here are our recommendations for where to stay in Bansko.

Momini Dvori Boutique Hotel

2 Nikola Vaptsarov Sq., 2770 Bansko, Bulgaria

Fabulous location off a side street in old town Bansko, this family run boutique hotel provides free shuttles to the gondola ski lift during the ski season and is charmingly located in the old town area.

  • Large private bathrooms with robes and slippers
  • Free sauna
  • Fabulous Bulgarian and international food at the tavern with terrace

Book a room in the old town now! Rooms here aren’t often available!

Boutique Hotel Uniqato

119 Pirin Str, 2770 Bansko, Bulgaria

Balconies with town or mountain views and free parking at the hotel. This is a great location located very close to the gondola ski lift.

  • Private bathrooms
  • Flat screen TV
  • Free wifi
  • Great Victoria Italian restaurant attached to the hotel
  • Free steam bath and sauna
  • Private underground parking

Great location – fabulous books – reserve yours now!

Guest House Hayloft

4 Mingyo Todev Str., 2770 Bansko, Bulgaria

One of the best places to eat and stay in Bansko. A superb family run traditional tavern and guest house, rooms have free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. Next to Pirin Street, with pubs and restaurants, but off the main track.

  • Rooms all have hardwood floors & wooden furniture
  • Private bathrooms with hair dryers and free toiletries
  • Incredible hosts with amazing food and hospitality

Amazing hospitality and lovely rooms – book yours now!

Other Resources About Bankso

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