Jazz Bilzen

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Jazz Bilzen
Jazz Bilzen 1967-jpg.png
Genre Rock, jazz, pop, etc.
Location(s) Bilzen
Years active 1965-1981

Jazz Bilzen was an annual multi-day open air jazz and pop festival that took place from 1965 to 1981 in the Belgian city of Bilzen. Jazz Bilzen was the first festival on the continent where jazz and pop music were brought together. For this reason, Jazz Bilzen is sometimes called the "mother of all European festivals".


Like the National Jazz and Blues Festival in the UK, and the Jazz Festival International in Comblain-la-Tour, which were paradigms, Bilzen started out solely as a jazz festival. Pretty soon however blues, skiffle, beat, folk and soul, in the end even punk, reggae and new wave, came to be incorporated as well. Initially Humo, a popular Belgian weekly magazine, was the main sponsor. After several years, they withdrew because they got fed up with the security branch and the riots they caused. The Festival organisation now had to find different investors (such as Coca-Cola, Ford, provincial newspapers), which was indicative of the beginning of the end. From the 1980s onwards the festival was superseded by Torhout-Werchter, which has now become Rock Werchter.


A few of the pop artists that performed at the festival included Boudewijn de Groot, Van Morrison, John Cale, Lou Reed, Cat Stevens, The Blue Diamonds, The Pretty Things, MC5, Jan Akkerman, Jeff Beck, Al Stewart, Mungo Jerry, The Idle Race, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Jango Edwards, The Guess Who, Kevin Ayers, Golden Earring, Alvin Lee, Focus, Machiavel, Soft Machine, Camel, Badfinger, Procol Harum, The Pebbles, The Moody Blues, Group 1850, Magma, Ian Gillan Band, Wishbone Ash, Spencer Davis Group, America, T. Rex, Rare Bird, Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, Third World War, Supercharge, Armand, Long Tall Ernie & the Shakers, Kevin Coyne, Aerosmith, Whitesnake, Faces, AC/DC, Rory Gallagher, Black Sabbath, Screaming Lord Sutch, Cos, Burnin' Plague, Climax Blues Band, Mott the Hoople, The Ro-D-Ys, Cuby + Blizzards, Ian Hunter, Ekseption, The Holy Modal Rounders, Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias, Black Oak Arkansas, Rick Wakeman, Humble Pie, Taste, Ginger Baker, Medicine Head, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Japan, Nils Lofgren, The Move, Colin Blunstone, Lindisfarne, Beggars Opera, Supersister, Eire Apparent, JSD Band, Michael Chapman, Frankie Miller, Greenslade, Blossom Toes, Shocking Blue, Ted Nugent, Inner Circle, Curved Air, Man, Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, John Miles, CCC Inc., Barclay James Harvest, Marsha Hunt, Slade, Zen, Kandahar, The Kinks, Wizzard, Stray, The Troggs, Status Quo, Thin Lizzy, The Jam, The Police, Elvis Costello, Herman Brood, Partner, Raymond van het Groenewoud, Dexys Midnight Runners, Stiff Little Fingers, The Kids, Ramones, The Clash, The Cure, Girlschool, Blondie, The Damned, Uriah Heep and Deep Purple.[1]

Some of the jazz and other greats who made their appearances, were Toots Thielemans, Will Tura, Rita Reys, Pim Jacobs, Clark Terry, Ornette Coleman, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, Dutch Swing College Band, Elvin Jones, Memphis Slim, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Brian Auger, John McLaughlin, Yusef Lateef, Slide Hampton, Archie Shepp, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Han Bennink, Herman van Veen, Wannes Van de Velde, Willem Vermandere, Champion Jack Dupree, Eddie Boyd, Alexis Korner, Ralph McTell, Dan Ar Braz, Alan Stivell, James Brown, Ike & Tina Turner, Reverend Gary Davis, Arthur Conley, Jan Hammer, Klaus Doldinger, Dexter Gordon, Stanley Clarke, Charles Lloyd, Passport, Freddie Hubbard, Peter Brötzmann, Jean-Luc Ponty, Cecil Taylor, Nucleus, Larry Coryell, Marc Moulin, Steve Shorter, Philip Catherine, Gato Barbieri, Joe Henderson, Zoot Sims, Isotope, Weather Report. [2]

Notable non-appearances amongst invited artists included Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, The Nice, Jack Bruce, Mimi Fariña, Yes, ELO, Badger, Pentangle, and Elton John.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sixties Bilzen Rock and Jazz Festival". Voices of East Anglia. Retrieved 2014-06-30. 
  2. ^ "Rock blues soul pop folk jazz : Jazz Bilzen". Jazzbilzen.be. 2014-06-18. Retrieved 2014-06-30. 
  3. ^ NIJSSEN, Koenraad; "Jazz Bilzen: tijd voor muziek (en veel meer) (1965-1981)", Davidsfonds Leuven, 2009.

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