Bodø Jazz Open

Bodø Jazz Open 2014
/ Jan
Live Festival Updates:

Bodø Jazz Open 2014

Bodø, Norway
Various Locations
67.28769, 14.405715 (View Map)
5 Days (Sun, 22 Jan 2017 - Thu, 26 Jan 2017)
Ticket Price
Festival Planned

The Bodø Jazz Open is a warm celebration of jazz music in the beautiful Norwegian city of Bodø. Some of Norway’s most talented jazz musicians and acts from around the world come to play to an audience of over 3,500 for 5 days in late January each year. It’s a fantastic jazz festival that you should go to at least once in your life.

Dancing at the Bodø Jazz Open

Dancing at the Bodø Jazz Open

The “frame” of music for the Bodø Jazz Open includes progrock, NU-jazz, ethnic and of course jazz in all its flavours. A 3,500 audience attended Bodø Jazz Open in 2013 and the reason why the festival is laid in January is to create more life in the usually quiet Bodø winter.

The number of events during the festival grew from 25 in 2011 to 33 in 2012. The goal for 2013 was to increase the number of events further again, but also to reinforce and ensure the quality of the festival.

In addition to the evening concerts there is also the “After Work Jazz”, a small sub-festival whereby numerous musicians set up in various cafes and resturants and hold free concerts for customers and passers by. During this time you will be able to enjoy a in the streets of Bodø, with jazz music playing in the background.


Confirmed Acts to Play at the Bodø Jazz Open 2014

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Bodø Jazz Open was founded on 15/11/2010 by Jan Gunnar Hoff, Tore Johansen and Erik Johansen. In 1921, the first jazz band in Bodø established, calling themselves Bodø Jazz Band, it had 15 members. Bodø Jazz Open was first held in January 2011, and was a celebration of 90 years of jazz in Bodø. Since the city has a long tradition of jazz, it was the natural time to establish a jazz festival here. In Bodø center small and central, with shops, hotel, airport and the coastal readily available. This makes Bodø an ideal place for a jazz festival.

The working title for Bodø Jazz Open was first Bodo Int Jazz Festival, then Bodø Jazz Fest, and in autumn 2010 the proposal Bodø Jazz Open was accepted as festival organisers figured the name was suitable given the fact the festival is held in Bodø, and there is a jazz festival that is open to all genres and rhythmic expression.

Jan Gunnar Hoff Bio

Jan Gunnar Hoff

Jan Gunnar Hoff

Jan Gunnar Hoff (born 22 October 1958 in Bodø ) is a Norwegian jazz musician (piano), composer, arranger and professor living in Bodø where he debuted at Ad Lib Jazz Club (1976) with his own trio. Jan has also played with artists such as Jon Christensen and Jon Eberson in 1977-78, the local jazz projects. Hoff trained at teacher training as Bodo and Bergen (1977 – 78), Jazzlinja (NTNU) under Terje Bjorklund (1986 – 89) and in composition from the Academy of Music (2001).

Hoff is a graduate of the jazz program at the Trondheim Conservatory of Music where he attended through 1986 to 1989 and at the Academy from 2000 to 2001. Hoff has a very diverse musical background, and is perhaps the only Norwegian jazz musician who made his debut in a classic venue.

Show More of Jan's Bio...

He début performance was at the Festival of North Norway (1992) with its own suite. His own jazz group Jan Gunnar Hoff Group was established in 1993, with the crew Audun Kleive , Kjellemyr bear, Knut Riisnæs, Trond Kopperud, Tor Yttredal and Celio de Carvalho. The band debuted live during Nordland Music Festival in 1993 as a quartet with Hoff, Riisnæs, Kleive and Kjellemyr. With the addition of Per Jørgensen had Jan Gunnar Hoff Group’s Vossajazz debut in 1995.

From 1989 to 1991 he was regional musician in North Norway, in a trio with Finn Sletten and Terje Venaas. With its own Jan Gunnar Hoff Group, he has released albums Cycle (1993), Moving (1995), Cross Country (1998), In Town (2003), Meditatus (2005) and Magma (2008) and he has also participated in a wide range recordings by artists in various genres. Hoff has composed about 160 works for various ensembles: chorus, chamber orchestra, Sinfonietta and jazz combos with music written for size Mike Stern, Maria Joao, Pat Metheny. Hoff wrote commissioned works “Free flow songs” to Vossajazz in 2005. He was awarded the prestigious Stubø Award in 1997 and received an Edward Price from TONO jazz show Meditatus in 2005. Meditatus is performed in a number of countries, Canada, Iceland, Latvia and Norway.

Hoff has played and collaborated with Alex Acuña, Mike Stern, Pat Metheny, Maria Joao, Audun Kleive, Knut Riisnæs, Tore Johansen, Kenwood Dennard, Mathias Eick, Tore Brunborg, Lars Danielsson, Cæcilie Norby, Fathy Salama, Martin France, Chick Corea John Surman, Joanna McGregor, Karin Krog, Bendik Hofseth, Paolo Vinaccia to name a few. In 2007 he was accepted as a professor at the Universities of Tromsø and Kristiansand.

In recent years the Court has toured Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Croatia, Iceland, Austria, Italy, Sweden, USA, England and Norway. His latest band project is the trio Acuna / Hoff / Mathisen who released the album “Jungle City” Alessa Records in 2009. The band has played New York, Los Angeles and in Peru (2011) and many concerts in Scandinavia.

Hoff  helped start The Groove Valley Jazz Camp in Beiarn, and was artistic director of the TGV Jazz Camp 2005-2009. Hoff has also initiated Bodø Jazz Open which was launched in January 2011, where he is chairman. Hoff’s latest band project Hoff / Mazur / Jormin / Henriksen who played at Bodø Jazz Open and Maijazz 2012 in Stavanger.

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Lineup & Schedule

The lineup for the 2014 Bodø Jazz Open is as follows: 

Steve Gadd (US)
Dan Hemmer & Michael Blicher (DK)
Klimax (Cuba)
Terje Rypdal “Crime Scene”
Palle Mikkelborg (DK)
Unni Wilhelmsen
Frode Alnaes Trio
Petter Wettre
Jason Rebello (UK)
Inna Zhelannaya
North East/North West
Bushman’s Revenge
Bodø Big Band
Marianne Beate Kielland
Bodø Rhythm Group
Are Simonsen & Terje Nohr
England Brooks
“Damer Synger Nilsen”
Olsen & Thorbjørnsen
Alvin Pang/Ketil Høegh
Thor Erdahl
Inger Anne Nyaas
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what do you think of this years lineup?

Artists 2011-2013 included: Eivind Aarset, Hanne Hukkelberg, Arild Andersen, JazzKamikaze, Alex Acuna, Marilyn Mazur, Arve Henriksen, Audun Kleive, Anders Jormin, Jaga Jazzist, FOCUS, Jan Gunnar Hoff / Mike Stern Quartet, John Surman and many others.


Tickets for the 2014 Bodø Jazz Open are approximately US$16.50-US$77.50 (Norweigen Krone kr100-kr475) depending on which acts you see. Exchange rates were taken from on 20th December 2013 at the following rate: 1 NOK = 0.162686 USD.

Tickets for various performances can be purchased from:

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Please help secure the future of this event by sharing on your social media channels. It only takes 2 seconds and with your support we can increase exposure of the event, boost ticket sales, attract more festival-goers and organize better festivals for the future. We need your support, if you can, please help. Thank you.


Bodo Jazz Open Festival 2014 Venue Map and lineup Schedule

Bodo Jazz Open Festival 2014 Venue Map and lineup Schedule

There are numerous participating venues in the Bodø Jazz Open this year (venue map and programme to the right). Bodø, Norway is a small city in Norway and whilst being the capital county of Nordland it still has only a population of 47,000. It’s easy to find out what venues are participating this this years festival.

In total there were 33 events in 2012 & 2013, in 2014 the BJF is planning on having 38 events composed of both free and paid for concerts.

In the evening, Bodø Jazz Open organises what is called the ‘After Work Jazz’ clinic where various musicians set up in cafes and restaurants around Bodø and hold free mini-concerts for anyone present.


I can be sure that you’ll be spending most of your time inside cafes, bars, clubs and restaurants when you’re in Bodø so why not get engrossed with the culture and try out some classic Norwegian cuisine to keep your energy levels up?

  • Fenalår sliced on chopping board

    Fenalår sliced on chopping board

    Cured and seasoned sheep meat is a bit of a classic, this is known as Fenalår and you’ll find it most places.

  • Similar to Fenalår is Pinnekjøtt, a salted and dried (often smoked) set of lambs ribs, usually accompanied with sausages, mashed potatoes and swedes. Typically served around the Christmas period.
  • Traditional, line-caught Norwegian salmon (“laks” in Norwegian). Norway’s abundance of fjords and huge coast line give some excellent spots for fishing. The salmon are plentiful due to the cold, clean waters which makes Norway the biggest exporters of fish in the world. A little fishy nugget of information here (one for the pub quiz!)… Salmon grow slower in cold waters and as a result they develop a firmer flesh which results in more flavour than salmon caught in warmer waters. 😉

Flights & Transportation

Bodo Airport from Above

Bodo Airport from Above

The nearest international airport to the Bodø Jazz Open is Bodø Airport (BOO).

Bodø Airport is one of Norways top 5 airports with 6 daily connections via Oslo. Getting there is easy: London-Oslo and Oslo-Bodø (Oslo-Bodø 1 hr 15 minutes flight)

The venues are in the same area and some concerts take place at the Radisson Blu hotel. So with some decent clothing, wool or similar, getting from one place to another should be “piece of cake”. It takes more time with taxi than walking!

Another thing to remember: Bodø is located by the ocean and has a mild winter climate (for Norway). Very seldom below -5 C, average temp in Winter is around zero and long periods of 4 up to 10 plus degrees.

Currently 4 airlines fly into Bodo Airport (list of airlines here). To get the best flight deals I would use SkyScanner‘s official search widget below.


The cheapest accommodation options I could find in and around Bodø, Norway during the festival period (Late January) are shown below (Click HERE for a complete list):

*** Hotel prices rise exponentially as you get closer to the festival dates. Book early to avoid disappointment. ***

Hotels Combined

If you are on a super shoe-string budget then search HostelWorld and get a bed in Bodo for as little as $55.61!

I would recommend checking Bodø hotel reviews on TripAdvisor prior to placing any booking. Alternatively, why don’t you try something different and rent someones apartment during the festival period at AirBnB?! Click here for a free £15 credit towards your first booking!

Interview with Jan Gunnar Hoff

Recently Festival Archive was lucky enough to have the time to ask Jan Gunnar Hoff, the Bodø Jazz Open founder, a few questions about next years upcoming festival. Here’s what he had to say… 😀

The Bodo Jazz Open is now in its 4th year which is a brilliant achievement and one you must be proud of. Can you tell us how long you have been working with the festival and give a little history as to how you made your way into your current position?

I got the idea to make this festival during the Summer of 2010. I had another engagement at a nearby festival that ended in 2010 and I wanted to use my ideas in a similar yet more dedicated festival context. I am also a jazz musician and the idea was to build a strong team of musicians and professional festival people. This way we could integrate local musicians into projects and have some interesting processes going during the festival, not only hiring some bands, like any other festival. We also wanted to inspire young talents and make concerts for kids, youth and of course grown jazz audiences.

Many people would think that planning a festival would be an ideal job but I can imagine that it must be fraught with stresses and complications. During your role within the festival what do you find to be the most challenging aspects of your job?

As a head of the festival I have to secure a healthy economy for our project. This means establishing relations with private sponsors, public funding and of course selling tickets! There is also the programming side, presenting great musicians and bands, yet making the whole thing attractive for more than jazz nerds. This is why we chose the name Bodø Jazz Open for the festival, to have an openness in terms of musical genres and open for good music first of all.

The lineup for this year is very impressive and has a host of many exciting and dynamic performers; which performer are you looking forward to seeing most and do you have any tips for festival go-ers out there seeking some fresh new acts?

Yes they should check out the new upcoming artists from the Arctic University of Norway (Tromso). Personally I look forward to seeing and hearing Steve Gadd, the all time high drummer first time in the north. But of course the Cuban Latin masters KLIMAX is also going to be fantastic, among a lot of other great acts.

Show Rest of Interview

It’s always been a great mystery to me as to how the festival handles act selection. Are there specific criteria that artists have to meet? Are acts selected purely on talent and performance alone or do your gut instincts and emotions come into play when making decisions? Also, who has the final say as to who performs (if there is just one artistic visionary?!)?

I think there are many kinds of (good) reasons for booking a band and some of them fall into what we might call “themes”. For instance, our concert series “legends in music” sets the frame for having artists like Steve Gadd, FOCUS (Dutch prog rock), Larry Carlton, Mike Stern a.o music legends. Young artists from the North could be a kind of theme. There is also a local aspect here, bringing in our own musicians in collaborations with National and International stars. In general I would say highest quality is nr 1 prio in the booking and trying to make an interesting and attractive program as a whole. And of course if somebody who is a great player calls you constantly for 2 years, then you eventually might give him a gig! (ha ha).

Over the years the festival has grown from strength to strength and has now established itself as one of the great events in the international jazz festival circuit; what do you think has been the key to the festivals continued success and what are some of the major difficulties your team are faced with each year?

I wouldn’t yet claim that we are part of the “International jazz festival circuit”, but hoping to get there at some point. The goal is to make good festivals every year and make both the artists and the musicians feel comfortable and happy. The major difficulties every year is getting the economy together and of course a lot of practical issues. We have no employees so far and rely on volunteers, this makes it of course more complicated to get things done.

Can you tell us a little about your favourite moments of the past 2013 Bodø Jazz Open?

Many great moments! I was fortunate enough myself to play the opening gig with Mike Stern in our quartet and that was definitely one of my favourite moments. Actually I was on tour during parts of the 2013-festival with Mr Stern and lost some major festival events, unfortunately.

Are there any programmes/clinics, educational or otherwise, that run alongside the Bodo Jazz Open? If people wished to participate in any of them what is the best way for them to find out some more information?

They should check our website for further information. In 2014 we have salsa classes for beginners and advanced. We also run a Cuban Rhythm Workshop with GIRALDO PILOTO.

The festival has now been around for a number of years and some would say that the past couple of years has been the festivals’ best years, how do you strive to make each year better than the last and where do you see the festival in 10 years?

Hard to say. This is now our 4th year and hopefully we will be able to take some major steps forward. In 2015 we move into “The Storm”, Bodo’s new concert hall with a capacity of 950 audiences and several halls and clubs. So that is very exciting!

Organising a festival of this calibre takes incredible skill, team-work, coordination and dedication. Outside of your direct festival planning team (who seem to do an outstanding job by the way!) is there any person or groups of people you would like to especially thank for their help in making the festival a success?

I would like to thank all of the volunteers and my staff of organizers that has done a fantastic job.

Many people say that it’s the festivals diverse range of jazz styles and the introduction of other similar music genres that has led to the success of the festival. How do you manage to walk the fine line between keeping both the jazz purists happy with the programme lineup and audiences with lets say a more ‘general’ taste in music?

That is a challenge and a fine line to keep, agreed. Again, if highest quality is the goal, most things fall in place. On some occasions (nights) we try to combine new bands unknown to “ordinary” people, with more established and “broader” appealing groups, for instance our combi with Bushman’s revenge and Frode Alnin’s trio. The interesting aspect is that both groups consists of top notch musicans educated in the same institution (NTNU, Trondheim). Putting this “package” together attracts more audiences and I think we do the jazz a service this way, bringing in more new listeners to the music.

What is the biggest marketing challenge you face when trying to spread the word about the festival? Are there any particular avenues or strategies you have focussed on that have led to noticably good results?

Actually I have had some success with Facebook-ads lately. It remains to be seen in ticket sales but FB ads are cheap and reaches a lot of people. The challenge is of course the competition. A lot of festivals, organizers and Promoters try to attract attention to their arrangements, it’s hard to cut through in the media.

For people wishing to help out at the festival this year round can you please tell them a little about any volunteer opportunities you offer or other ways they can help?

They can sign up on our website as a volunteer.

What would be your best advice for somebody visiting the festival for the very first time?

Check our program and be aware that Bodo is a tremendously compact city, all our concerts are within a 5-10 minutes walk. And be aware: January in Northern Norway is wintertime and it could be cold and snowy or wet and rainy. It changes fast so have your wear ready!

Can you give an estimate for your predicted turnout/attendance rate for the 2014 Bodo Jazz Open?

I would think we will reach 4,000 in 2014, given both ticket sales and free concerts, jazz cafes etc.

And finally, who are your personal all-time favourite jazz performers?

I have to name a few: Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, Jan Garbarek. Hope to include one or more of these (except late Oscar..) in future Bodo Jazz Open festivals!!

We would like to make a special thanks to Jan for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions. We wish you all the best with this upcoming festival.

Outside of the Festival

If you’ve come all the way to Bodø for the jazz festival then it would be a shame not to see some of the highlights this beautiful little city has to offer!

Northern Lights in Bodo, Norway

Northern Lights in Bodo, Norway

Probably one of the greatest free things you can do whilst you’re here is look out for the Northern Lights (aka the aurora borealis). Arriving during late January is probably one of the best times to see the Northern Lights in Norway as this is when the skies are at their blackest. Whilst many would think that this isn’t such a big deal it really is amazing to see as the skies are animated with colours. The photograph to the right gives an idea for what you could expect, but this video REALLY helps to appreciate this natural phenomena.

Spectacular Norway Northern Lights

At this time you’ll be experiencing what is known as the ‘polar nights’ which basically means very short days and long cold nights. This was funnily enough why the Bodø Jazz Open was first started – in order to bring a little more life into the winter months.

Another one to add to your hit-list would have to be to go and visit Saltstraumen, now Nordland’s most popular tourist attraction (in addition to the Lofoten islands of course!). Saltstraumen has the strongest tidal current in the world. It’s a small straight (maelstrom) located about 10km South East of Bodø.

Some interesting facts about Saltstraumen



Up to 400,000,000 cubic metres (520,000,000 cu yd) of seawater forces its way through a 3-kilometre (1.9 mi) long and 150-metre (490 ft) wide strait every six hours, with water speeds reaching 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph). Vortices known as whirlpools or maelstroms up to 10 metres (33 ft) in diameter and 5 metres (16 ft) in depth are formed when the current is at its strongest. The Saltstraumen has existed for about two to three thousand years. Before that, the area was different due to post-glacial rebound. The current is created when the tide tries to fill the Skjerstadfjorden. The height difference between the sea level and the fjord inside can be up to 1 metre (3 ft 3 in). When the current turns, there is a period when the strait is navigable.

If you require any further information on this festival or would like to leave a message for others then please use the comments section below.

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Additional Resources

Post last updated by Paul Thomson on April 30, 2014
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