North Sea Jazz Festival

North Sea Jazz Festival 2014
/ Jul
Live Festival Updates:

North Sea Jazz Festival 2014

Rotterdam, Netherlands
52.015978, 4.352814 (View Map)
3 Days (Tue, 11 Jul 2017 - Thu, 13 Jul 2017)
Ticket Price
€82 (day Single) - €195 (3-day pass)
Festival Planned

Now entering it’s 38th birthday, the North Sea Jazz Festival is one of the best jazz festivals in the world. The lineup for 2014 includes Buena Vista Social Club, Gregory Porter, Pharrell Williams, Booker T Jones, The Cat Empire, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Garrett, Dirty Loops, Joss Stone & Outcast.

North Sea Jazz Festival 2013

North Sea Jazz Festival 2013

The North Sea Jazz Festival (NSJF) is one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world, it has been running since 1976 and is hosted in Rotterdam, Netherlands. It is always held for 3 days (Friday to Sunday) on the 2nd weekend of July. This year in 2014, the festival dates are 11th – 13th July.

Since this festival takes place right besides the North Sea, it is called as the “North Sea Jazz Festival” The festival presents a wide range of musical genres, including bebop, Swing, blues, soul music, drum ‘n’ bass, gospel music, funk, fusion, and New Orleans jazz.


Video Highlights of the North Sea Jazz Festival 2013

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Dutch Swing College Band performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival 1976

Dutch Swing College Band at the NSJF 1976

This musical extravaganza was founded by Paul Acket (1922-1992) in the year 1976. Acket was a business mogul who loved jazz music. He made a fortune during 60s publishing music magazines like Muziek Expres, Luister, and Popfoto. In the year 1975, Acket sold his company and invested millions into sponsoring and developing what has now become one of the largest music festivals of the world.

In 1976 the first North Sea Jazz Festival took place and was hosted at The Hague (a city in Holland). About 9,000 festival attendees were serenaded by 300 musicians at 6 podiums for 30 hours. Acket passed away in 1992 and since then the reins have been transferred to the concert promoter Mojo.

Some of the most prominent names in jazz music have performed on the North Sea Jazz Festival, names include Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Count Basie and members of the Dutch avant–garde.

Show More History...

From 1986, the North Sea Jazz Festival had served as the host of the Bird Awards. This prestigious award is given to musicians with exceptional talent to help further their musical career. In the year 2006, the Bird Awards was renamed the Paul Acket Award in honor of the spiritual father and founder of the festival.

The festival has grown from strength to strength over the years and now hosts 1200 artists from all over the world who come to perform on the festival’s 15+ stages.

In recent years the North Sea Jazz Festival (NSJF) has attracted over over 23,000 visitors each day to the event. Some of the artists which have graced the NSJF in past years include: Paul Anka, Miles Davis, BB King, Ella Fitzgerald, Erykah Badu, Al Jarreau, Candy Dulfer, include Nat Adderley, Lionel Hampton, Trijntje Oosterhuis, The Zawinul Syndicate, Steve Coleman, Ibrahim Ferrer, Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, and Jamiroquai.

New and “breakthrough” acts are also given the opportunity to become part of the preeminent lineup of artists that perform at the NSJF each year. Tania Maria, Rachelle Ferrell, Shirley Horn, and Roy Hargrove are just a few well known artists that made their debut performances at the NSJF.

The venues for the North Sea Jazz Fest has changed over the years. Originally the event was hosted at the ‘World Forum’ Convention Center of the Netherlands (formally known as the Nederlands Congres Centrum (NCC)), this was until 2005 where it was moved over the ‘The Hague’ due to the demolition of the ‘Statenhal’ (a separate building of the World Forum where many music concerts have been held in the past) in order to make room for the new Europol building (European Police Office).

When more than half of the World Forum Convention Center’s complexes were demolished, the organizers deemed the site inadequate for the needs of the festival and its thousands of attendees.

The venue was changed yet again in 2006 to accommodate a larger crowd and to provide a more permanent venue for future years. The selected venue was the Ahoy conference center, Rotterdam.

In the year 2011, the first “Night Concerts” were presented to the festival attendees. Prince played 3 nights consecutively and the year after (2012) Lenny Kravitz was the featured act.

In the year 2013, the NSJF and Rotterdam renewed their partnership for another five years. What was once known as the North Sea Jazz Festival will now officially be known as the Port of Rotterdam North Sea Jazz Festival.

Another interesting note is that in May of 2013, the NSJF opened a club called the North Sea Jazz Club which is located at Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.

Previous Festival Performers

Stevie Wonder at the North Sea Jazz Festival

Stevie Wonder at the North Sea Jazz Festival

The North Sea Jazz Festival is famous throughout the world for showcasing a wide variety of musical style, including New Orleans jazz, bebop, improvisation, soul, gospel, blues, Latin, and funk. Some of the famous musicians who have performed in the past years are James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, Al Jarreau, BB King Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, King Sunny Ade, Ben Allison, McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Earth, Wind and Fire, Erykah Badu, Prince, Jamiroquai, Robben Ford, Lou Rawls, Fats Domino, Ibrahim Ferrer, Cab Kaye, John Mayall, , Joshua Redman, Youssou N’Dour, Art Blakey, Dave Douglas, Oscar Peterson, Joe Zawinul, Alicia Keys, and Santana.

The impressive lineup of artists include Dutch greats like Jelle van Tongeren, Peter Noordijk, Glenn Corneille, Hans Dulfer, Rob Hoeke, Kim Hoorweg, Izaline Calister, Gretchen Kauffeld, Pierre Cour Bois, Pia Beck, ICP, Misha Mengelberg, Eric Vloeimans, Clusone Trio, Francine Gardens, Michiel Borstlap, and Janne Schra.


North Sea Jazz Festival Sister Events

In the year 1990 the North Sea Jazz Heats and the Midsummer Jazz Gala made their debut. These are two sub-festivals which are free. Throughout The Hague, performers would take to the stage in different pubs and on the festival venue the night before the NSJF officially opens. Featured artists in past Midsummer Jazz Gala event are Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, and Tony Bennet.

Curaçao North Sea Jazz

Curaçao North Sea Jazz

Meanwhile, in the year 2000, the North Sea Jazz Cape Town Cape Town International Jazz Festival was founded and recognized as the sister festival of the NSJF alongside the other sister festival held in Barcelona, Spain also called the North Sea Jazz Festival (aka. Curaçao North Sea Jazz) and founded in 2010.

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Lineup & Schedule

The 2014 North Sea Jazz Festival lineup is shown below.

Download Printable PDF

Check back regularly for further updates as more artists will be added over the next few weeks…
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what do you think of this years lineup?

The 2013 North Sea Jazz Fest lineup included:

The Roots
John Legend
Diana Krall
Jamie Cullum
Herbie Hancock
Kendrick Lamar
Bobby Womack
Steve Winwood
Dionne Warwick
Anthony Hamilton
Bonnie Raitt
Medeski, Martin and…
Shuggie Otis
Caro Emerald
Seasick Steve
John Zorn
Marcus Miller

Previous years programs can be found here.


Tickets for the 2014 North Sea Jazz Festival are €82.00 (day Single) – €195.00 (3-day pass). US$112.30 – $267.00 Exchange rates were taken from on 15th Feb 2014 at the following rate: 1 EUR = 1.36930 USD.

Day tickets are on sale now and can be purchased from the festivals ticket page:

Further information on Tickets & Ticket Prices | VIP Tickets

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.


The 2014 North Sea Jazz Festival venue is Ahoy, a convention centre in Rotterdam. Address: Ahoyweg 10, 3084 BA Rotterdam, Netherlands (more info on Wikipedia).

In the gallery below you can find the floor map and photographs of the venue.

Food & Drinks

The Ahoy venue is very well catered for when it comes to serving food and drinks to the thousands of people who attend its various events throughout the year.

The Ahoy Plaza has it’s own dedicated food and drinks venues that serve top quality (and affordable) meals and drinks throught the festival period. You will find 4 different restaurents/cafes in the Plaza:

Restaurant Floyd - Ahoy Rotterdam

Restaurant Floyd – Ahoy Rotterdam

Restaurant Floyd provides à la carte menu options at a slightly higher price point. This is a perfect venue for business meetings, entertaining clients or a quiet meal for any number of people. Reservations can be made by phone (+31 10 2933755) or email (

Resturant RiVers is a self-service restaurant geared towards people looking for a ‘quick eat’ prior to concerts. You can go in and out in half an hour and provide a good amount of food to see you through for the rest of the entertainment. In contrast to Restaurant Floyd, Restaurant RiVers is very informal. No reservation is required, they have 700 seats for you to choose from.

Vrienden Van Amstel Live Cafe

Vrienden Van Amstel Live Cafe

Vrienden van Amstel LIVE! Café provides light ‘bar snacks’ and a wide variety of drinks. Many people stay here after the entertainment to ‘wind down’ or simply to stay for a while to wait for exiting traffic to disperse before hitting the road. Drink prices are reasonable, food is OK.

Buffets – There are a number of buffets spotted around the arena grounds that allow for a snack on the go in between acts. Normally situated close to the entrances/exits.

To pay for food and drinks you will need special tokens, which can be purchased at the desk in the entrance hall and at token machines (payable by debit card). At the end of the festival, you can return unused tokens for a refund at the desk near the exit. – Source: North Sea Jazz

Flights & Transportation

The closest Airport to Ahoy, Rotterdam (festival Venue) is Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM). Distance from Rotterdam The Hague Airport to Ahoy is approximately 13 km (8 miles), transport time via car or taxi around 20 minutes.

Currently 8 airlines fly into Rotterdam The Hague Airport:

Lufthansa (Cheapest)
British Airways (2nd Cheapest)

Transport options from to the festival


Because of the weekend schedule (July 12, Friday to July 13 Saturday), traffic can be intense between Rotterdam and Dordrecht. As such, festival attendees must allow for this when they calculate travel time. The timetable also applies for night trains. Accurate and updated schedules are provided at

Show Bus, Car and further transport options...


Ahoy Rotterdam may also be reached via the Metro or subway. There are also more than 30 bus lines that stop at Ahoy, one of the most popular is the Metro Line D leaves Rotterdam Central Station. Metro Line E travels from The Haque to Ahoy with a stop at Zuidplein. During festival days, the trains extend their night trips between and Rotterdam Central Station. On Friday and Saturday night trains run until 2:30am. Night buses or BOB buses are available on Saturday & Sunday. The available routes include different areas of Rotterdam; for a more detailed schedule of arrivals and departures check out


When using the bus, subway, and tram in Rotterdam a smart card is required. This card used in public transport is called the “OVchipkaart.” Non-residents can get a special card that they can discard afterwards. In the meantime, the BOB bus requires a special ticket worth €4.50. For more info, please go to


A Rotterdam Welcome Card is a chip card which is available to visitors. This card allows for use of public transport for one, two, or three days depending on the type. It may be used on the subway, the bus lines, and the tram lines of the RET public transport network. A chip card purchase comes with a bonus horde of 54 vouchers for different attractions (restaurants, museums, entertainment venues, etc). More information about the chip card is available at


For those who are driving to the North Sea Jazz Festival, there are road signs that clearly say “P-Ahoy.” Due to the immense traffic jam and poor availability of parking space our advice is to opt for public transport.

Hotels & Accommodation

The Hilton Hotel, Rotterdam Lobby Photo

The Hilton. 5* Luxury.

The cheapest hotel and accommodation options I could find in and around Rotterdam during the North Sea Jazz Fest (mid July 2014) are shown below (Click HERE for a complete list).

Check out the nicest hotel in Rotterdam (Hilton Rotterdam Hotel)

*** 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 Rotterdam for as little as €12.50! – (Private rooms €16.50+). Alternatively check out airbnb and rent an apartment for cheaper than staying in a hotel.

I would recommend checking Rotterdam 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!

Note that there is NO TENT CAMPING at the North Sea Jazz Festival. However, if you really did want to camp, either in a tent or your RV/Motorhome, then you can check out the nearby facilities at Stadscamping Rotterdam campgrounds.


We currently have not been able to interview anybody at the North Sea Jazz Festival, if you work for the festival and would like to answer a few questions for this section of your listing, please contact me so that we can get something arranged, thank you.

Outside of the Festival

Rotterdam ZooThe Rotterdam Zoo is well kept, expansive and more modern compared to Artis Zoo. The older section of the zoo features special architectural design by Siebolt Van Ravenstein, renowned Dutch architect. The Riviera Hall, soon to be renovated, represents his masterful creations. The zoo features a geographical display of different types of wildlife. The newer Asia section has a huge aquarium and features the Asian marshland and Chinese garden.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen showcases art history from Bosch to Rembrandt and onward through time to Dali and Van Gogh. This museum houses some of the greatest masterpieces of European visual art. Dutch Design is featured as well. There are many interesting temporary exhibitions. The museum also has a restaurant with 1930s architecture and a lovely view of the statue garden.

Arboretum Trompenburg

Arboretum Trompenburg

Arboretum Trompenburg

The Arboritum Trompenburg is a verdant oasis for the travel weary. The gardens contain around 750 species of Hosta and other beautiful bulbs, perennials and trees. The impressive collection of thousands of plant specimen is contained within an immense park that also has canals, ponds, and waterways. There are bridges placed over clean, tranquil waters. The berries and flowers are typically very lush in the months of April to October.

A glasshouse features a collection of succulents, birds, a fuchia collection, and American swamp turtles. The nearby “Hof-laan” is an amazing representation of a mixture 18th, 19th, and 20th-century Dutch architecture.


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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Nearest International Airport: Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM)

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