Bohém Ragtime & Jazz Festival

Bohém Ragtime & Jazz Festival 2014
/ Mar
Live Festival Updates:

Bohém Ragtime & Jazz Festival 2014

Kecskemét, Hungary
Kecskemét Cultural and Conference Centre
46.907503, 19.689621 (View Map)
3 Days (Tue, 28 Mar 2017 - Thu, 30 Mar 2017)
Ticket Price
Festival Planned

The Bohém Ragtime & Jazz Festival is a 3 day jazz festival in Kecskemét, Hungary during the end of March 2014.

‘Bohém’ in Hungarian means ‘happy, carefree & funny’. The festival has a focus on classic jazz and is the largest jazz festival in the region.

The festival period for the Bohém Jazz Festival is actually 6-8 days spanning over 10-15 cities but the main ‘event’ is for 3 days in the city of Kecskemét.

Organisers of the festival are always keep to host a lineup of traditional and ragtime jazz bands and soloists who have something unique about their playing style, repertoire or instrumentation.


Video Highlights of the Bohém Ragtime Festival 2013

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The Bohém Ragtime & Jazz Festival was founded in 1992 and has always been hosted during the last weekend of March.

A complete archive of past festivals (and their dedicated websites) can be found here:

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Lineup & Schedule

The lineup for the Bohém Ragtime and Jazz Fest is shown below.

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The 2014 Bohém Ragtime & Jazz Festival lineup is as follows:

The Earregulars  (USA)
Matt Munisteri – Guitar, Banjo
Aaron Weinstein (USA) – Violin
Greg Cohen – String Bass
Ondrej Havelka & His Melody Makers (cz)
Juraj Bartoš (sk) – Trumpet
Jon-erik Kellso – Trumpet
Szalóky Béla (h) – Cornet, Trombone
Döme (dömötör Tamás) (h) – Beatbox
Juhász Attila (h) – Piano,
Oláh Zoltán (h) – String Bass,
Cseh Balázs (h) – Drums
Bohém Ragtime Jazz Band (h)
Scott Robinson – Reeds
Attention: The internal data of table “8” is corrupted!

what do you think of this years lineup?

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.


3-day festival passes can be purchased for 55 USD / 40 EUR / 35 GBP
from or by calling +36(20)960-7169.

7-day “Full Time Vacation” packages are from 899 USD / 679 EUR

“Festival Only” weekend-package (hotel and festival pass) from 229 USD / 179 EUR


Kecskemét Cultural and Conference Centre

Kecskemét Cultural and Conference Centre

Kecskemét Cultural and Conference Centre,
Deák Ferenc tér 1

(Phone: +36-76/503-880)


Tamas Ittzés

Tamas Ittzés

Recently Festival Archive was lucky enough to interview Tamás Ittzés, Bohém Ragtime & Jazz Festival founder and director.

We asked him a few questions about this years festival, hear what he has to say below.

The Bohém Ragtime Jazz Festival is now in its 22nd 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?

Actually, I am the one who started it. I founded the Bohém Ragtime Jazz Band in 1985 and started to organize festivals with Hungarian musicians in 1986 and it became international in 1992. I have a team of volunteers who help me around the festival and one part-time assistant all year around.

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?

Fundraising and financing, definitely. It is also the most stressful. But all tasks are challenging, from the programming through working with our graphic designer to putting together a tourist programme for visiting foreign fans.

The lineup for this years festival 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?

Well, I always pick performers carefully and I always have MANY musicians on my list. Every year the festival is a little different but the programme always has a nice collection of different classic jazz styles and ensembles that also go very well together. Not only as concerts following each other but also at jam sessions and at the closing concert when musicians get together and play in random formations. So I am looking forward to all of them and even for the well-rehearsed acts our audience generates a very inspiring surrounding plus we have swing dancers on stage creating a club feeling in the 600-seat auditorium. Everything will be fresh and new for all participants, including myself, I guarantee.

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?!)?

It’s pretty much just one person: me. We have travelled a lot with my band, meet and hear great bands and musicians and I always see right away, who could be good with whom, so I can put together great pick-up bands or organize a festival around a theme with matching bands and musicians. So far it has worked very well. I still have a lot of people in mind whom I want to invite in the future and we seldom re-invite anyone. There are so many great bands and musicians in the classic jazz world.

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?

Major difficulty is always money but that’s for most festivals. Ours is a small but a fun event with very high standard and the secret is very simple: bring in only the very best ones and find everyone’s needs, musicians and audience alike. You have to keep what you are doing, that’s the main rule. If you do it right, success will come.

Can you tell us a little about your favourite moments of the past 2013 Bohém Ragtime Jazz Festival?

Well, always the closing concert is the most fun when all musicians come together and play in different combinations. I never allow all musicians blow at the same time, we always have “organized” jam sessions. We go for good music. Performing with Grammy Award winner singer Catherine Russell was most enjoyable for all of my band members and myself.

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

The afterhours jam sessions are somewhat open for the public but normally only well-trained musicians from the audience get up and play. We do have informational/educational sessions on Saturday morning and afternoon: concerts with explanations about certain styles or instruments. Local schools can apply for reduced priced tickets to those concerts, as their students are our main targeted audience at those sessions. And they do come. In some years we had lectures, too, but not this year.

The festival has now been around for a long time 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?

Basically you can’t go any better after a certain level. There are limits. But you can always put together something that is different. Different but on the very best level. And presentation is very important. Both before the festival and on stage, too. I do all the emceeing and I see no reason to hand it over to someone else although it would be easier for me. But I know the bands and musicians the best, I can present them best, I know where to stay backstage and when to step out.

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?

Our group of volunteers certainly deserve to be applauded but we have worked with more or less the same team regarding sound crew, lights, video etc. Even most of the sponsors are old buddies by now.

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?

Basically just careful selection and presentation. You can’t satisfy everyone but they can see that something is great even if it doesn’t match their taste sometimes. We never had complaints about 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 focused on that have led to noticably good results?

I wouldn’t say, we have reached are maximum but we have certainly reached many. The Bohém Festival is fairly well-known within the ragtime and classic jazz circuit. But there is always a lot to be done. We were the very first ones to stream an entire jazz festival live on the internet. That was from 2009 to 2011, three times but then we stopped, as it was too expensive. We still record the event with 3 professional cameras and sound and publish a compilation DVD of the Friday and Saturday night concerts for the Sunday morning closing concert! That is a lot of work, sort of world record in publishing speed, but it is unique, so people might remember. Otherwise, for financial reasons, we focus on our mailing list and marketing via internet. We also organize 7-day tours for those foreign fans who would like to attend and do a little sight-seeing in our beautiful country. That’s also part of our marketing.

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?

Well, there would be a lot to be done but not from afar. Although we do have a Bohém VIP programme fro those who would like to support us and at the same time they benefit from being VIP members. Our VIP membership can be found in the Webshop section of our home page:

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

Take the 7-day tour, definitely. If someone comes only for the weekend, we have packages for those, too, and we take care of you from the first minute you land at the airport in Budapest. Then you have nothing to worry about just enjoy the music.

Can you give an estimate for your predicted turnout/attendance rate for the 2014 Bohém Ragtime Jazz Festival?

Last year our night concerts and the closing concerts were jam packed, it is a challenge itself to level it this year, too. But we would like not only to keep that 600 people for those concerts but we are hoping for even a little better turnout, so the daytime concerts could be seen by more than just 300 people.

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

That’s a tough question. Who should I name? Ella Fitzgerald, Teddy Wilson, Edmond Hall or the other hundreds who I like? Or those hundreds who I like among our contemporaries? This is impossible to answer. It also depends on what kind of mood I am in.


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

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.

NB. You also find photo gallerieslive festival newstransport information in the tabbed section below. All festival listings are changing continuously, check back regularly.

Additional Resources

Post last updated by Paul Thomson on April 30, 2014
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