The Central Park of Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca (in Hungarian Sétatér, in Romanian Parcul Central) is home to various cultural, gastronomic and sports events. One of them is a cozy jazz festival, called obviously Jazz in the Park. This festival is not only about great music and spending quality time with your friends, but also about promoting young, talented musicians, bringing art closer to the public, supporting different art projects and helping people in need.
The organizers of the festival, the Fapte association, wanted to offer something to the local community, something beyond the musical event itself, and this is how Jazz in the Park was born in 2013. “We wanted to involve the people in our festival, to collaborate with them, to make Jazz in the Park become a return to normality, a time for friends. And we think we succeeded”, they declare.
Since 2013 the Jazz in the Park not only gave the Central Park of Kolozsvár back to the people, not only filled it with life and joy and great music, but it became a model for other events, festivals in tutoring and supporting the local community and in helping talents and disadvantaged social groups.
Most of the events, concerts during the festival are access free, but participants can buy non-mandatory tickets in order to support the Jazz in the Park Fund, and the socio-cultural project financed by it. Since 2015, when the fund was established, Fapte chooses annually a cause that they believe in, and which they want to support together with the local community. For example, last year they initiated an art project, offering financial support and help in implementation of the selected projects. Several of the ideas came to life, such as the graphic novel Fata Știmei Apelor, the journal An Almost Political Diary, the experimental concert Generique Interactiv, the touristic guide Illustrated Facts About Transylvania and Fotopia Collective.
But they also help the Roma community living near Kolozsvár, at the waste dump of Patarét/Pata Rât. They go to Patarét because they want to raise awareness regarding the situation there: they organize concerts and help the children living next to the dump site by offering summer programs, sports programs, organizing informal educational programs, teaching them to paint, to sew etc. They also want to build a park, a playground and a sports field for the children. These programs are also financed from the money gathered from the locals and festivalgoers.
The festival also helps young, talented musicians by organizing the Jazz in the Park International Competition. “We believe that young talents deserve to be supported and promoted, and we’re trying to create a complex, professional context in which they could actually evolve towards a serious music career. There will be representatives of the European Jazz Network, festival managers, and about 5000 people ready to shake those jazzy hands. It’s going to be amazing!”, they promise about this year’s competition. The 14 finalist young bands will perform in the Iulius Park of Kolozsvár on May 3–5.
But this not enough for Fapte, they also want to bring street art closer to the locals. They organized several street art festivals, called Jazz in the Street, because they believe that locals should be surrounded by art, music, dance, theater, fine arts and photography. In order to do that they are promoting young talents who are disposed to share their street art in the streets of Kolozsvár.
If you are not interested yet, here are some names performing at this year’s edition of Jazz in the Park: Marcus Miller, winner of two Grammy awards, Judith Hill, whose first album was produced by Prince, Ghost-Note, the band whose members performed with Kendrick Lamar, Prince or Snoop Dogg. The whole line-up can be found at www.jazzinthepark.ro.
Title image: The weather didn’t bother the festivalgoers. Photos: Facebook/Jazz in the Park