guide to the bansko jazz festival

The Bansko Jazz Festival [2023]– 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. The dates for the 2023 Bansko Jazz Festival are the 5th of August 2023 to the 12th of August 2023. At the Jazz Festival in Bansko in 2023, there are bands and performers from Australia, Bulgaria, Turkiye, France, Slovenia, the UK, Kosovo, Ukraine, Greece, Austria, Norway, Colombia, Israel, Germany, USA, Italy, and Cuba. You’ll get to hear Big Band music, Dixieland Jazz, Blues, and a whole lot more.

2023 sees a continued wider program for the Bansko Jazz festival – with events throughout the day, a Young Talents stage in the city park, fun, and games, and Jazz improv on Gotse Delchev all leading up to the main concerts which start at 8 pm in the main square. Come on down it’s going to be a fabulous festival!


Big Band Blagoevgrad

Where to Stay in Bansko for the 2023 Jazz Festival

The weather is glorious here in summer, so head for a hotel or apartment with an outdoor pool and ensure you have the best facilities to enjoy your time in Bansko.  Here are the best hotels in Bansko with an outdoor pool.

The Kempinski Grand Arena:  This is five-star luxury at Bulgarian prices and that means its fantastic value.  (go on check the rates, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!).  The five-star Kempinski has TWO outdoor pools (and one indoor pool too!).  The Veranda Bar and Lounge have amazing views of the mountains, there’s a Piano Bar, and you’ll also get access to a 24-hour gym, a thermal spa (also with beauty spa treatments too!) and there are both indoor and outdoor hot tubs too. It’s quite simply glorious.  Check rates and book your luxury 5 star getaway here.

The Vihren Royal Palace: The Vihren Royal Palace is in a great summer location, very close to the Gondola for getting up the mountain and within easy reach of the old town. All rooms and apartments here have access to the swimming pool, sauna, steam bath, and gym. This is a great option for self-catering – and one of the few places that has two-bedroom apartments. You should check availability early!

The Regnum Bansko Ski Hotel & Spa has a heated outdoor pool (it’s enormous)- plus water slides and a children’s pool too, plus there’s a free shuttle to Banya Village to the Banya Therma complex too!  There’s live Friday and Saturday night jazz here at the Regnum and there’s also a gym, children’s room, and gardens too.  Rooms here are suites, with kitchenettes and seating areas as well as seriously well-equipped rooms.   You’ll love it and can check rates here.

The Premier Luxury Mountain Resort has both an indoor and outdoor pool and spacious rooms with wooden interiors.  There’s also a sauna and hammam here, plus a kids club too.  Rooms are sumptuously decorated and very spacious, and the hotel is in a great location.  You can check availability and rates here.

The name should give it away for my final recommendation for Bansko hotels with pools. The Hotel 7 Pools spa, has, yes, you’ve guessed it, 7 pools.  There are outdoor pools here and an indoor pool for kids with a waterslide.  There’s also a state of the art spa center and a fitness center too.  The hotel provides apartments, with a fully equipped kitchen, private seating area, bathroom, and bedroom.  Sound like your sort of place?  See what other people say here. There are also 3 types of saunas, a steam room, 2 hammams, a tepidarium, as well as a salt room, shock barrels, and a VIP SPA apartment.   And the rates are superb, check them out here.

Bansko Jazz Festival Dates 2023

The Bansko Jazz Festival 2023 starts on 5th August 2023 and runs until August 12th, 2023. Performances start at 8 pm and most performances run until around 2300, or midnight.

The 2023 Bansko Jazz Festival starts with the music of Yosif Tsankov.

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 spring and summer 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, and boogie, there are violins, double bass, and pianos on stage. Dr. Iliev sadly passed away in 2020.

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 while away the evening in one of the cafes and restaurants.

Map of the locations used in the Bansko Jazz Festival

Bansko Jazz Festival Map

You can also see a copy of the Bansko Jazz Festival map here.

Bansko Jazz Festival Cost

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.  There will be a VIP area roped off at the front of the seating area for true fans, but there’s still plenty of seating, or bring a camping chair and claim space. Tickets can be bought online here 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 small fee, which we’ll confirm as soon as it’s announced.

The price of the VIP tickets for the 2023 Bansko Jazz Festival is from 110 leva to 260 leva for all the days of the event You can buy daily tickets for 30 BGN to 50 BGN. You can buy a ticket online for the 2023 Bansko Jazz Festival here.

Food and Drink at Bansko Jazz Festival

There are several refreshment stalls – where you can grab 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 2023

The Bansko Jazz Festival has key features and types of performances each year.  You’ll find standard jazz, bebop, blues, swing, Dixieland, and boogie-woogies.  The Bansko Jazz Festival 2023 program begins at 8 pm each night.  Each performance lasts around 90 minutes and there are two or three performers each night.  There are also events throughout the day as well, as well as midnight Jazz, read on for more information.

Here’s the schedule and lineup for the 2023 Bansko Jazz Festival main concerts.

Bansko Jazz Program 2023

Bansko Jazz 2023 Young Talents Stage

For 2023 at the Bansko Jazz Festival, there’s a Young Talents stage in the park. This starts at 11 am and runs until 1 pm. You can find the schedule for the performers here.

Bansko Jazz 2023 – Jazz in the City on Gotse Delchev

From 6 pm every day for the duration of the festival there are Jazz Points on Gotse Delchev Street and you’ll find improvisation from those taking part in the Jazz Academy Bansko to get you in the mood for the main concerts which start at 8 pm.

Bansko Jazz 2023 – Jazz at Midnight – Ginger Bar and Diner.

Back after a few years away is the popular Jazz at Midnight in Bansko. These late-night jam sessions start at 11 pm (ish), and take place at the Ginger Bar & Diner. Bansko’s Midnight Jazz is with Angel Zaberski, Misho Yosifov, Stefan Goranov, and Shibil Benev

FAQs about the Bansko Jazz Festival

Here are our frequently asked questions about the Jazz Festival in Bansko. If you have questions about the Bansko Jazz Festival, pop us a comment below.

What’s the official website of the Bansko Jazz Festival?

The official website of Bansko’s Jazz Festival is

When does the Bansko Jazz Festival Start?

The Bansko Jazz Festival 2023 starts at 8 pm on Saturday 5th August.

What time do the main concerts start in the Bansko Jazz Fest?

The main sessions start at 8 pm each night in the “old town square” in Bansko.

Volunteering at the Bansko Jazz Festival

You can help out at the 2023 Jazz Festival in Bansko by volunteering. Apply to volunteer here.

You’ll be needed to help from August 5th until August 12th 2023 and volunteers get involved with

  • providing visitors with information on the program, activities, and logistical issues;
  • assisting musicians, performers, and organizers in the holding of events and activities of the program;
  • guiding and helping the audience during the concerts;
  • control access to the VIP area of guests with passes;
  • participation in the organization and conduct of daily activities.

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 a 2-hour drive from Bulgaria’s capital city, Sofia.   It can also be reached in around 2.5 hours from Plovdiv. There’s more on what to do in Bansko in Summer in our guide here.

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.

Check buses to Bansko from Sofia and Plovdiv here

Book a transfer from Sofia to Bansko here.

Where else to go in Bulgaria

While you’re in Bulgaria make sure to stop by some of these great places and attractions.

Plan your Trip to Bulgaria

Final Words on the Bansko Jazz Festival 2023

The Bansko Jazz Festival is a glorious time to come to Bansko. There’s a family-friendly feel to the festival and some great musicians who make this a great event. Come along, sit in the seating area, or in the park, or at one of the cafes here in the town square. And then come back again next year too!

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