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The Insiders' Guide to North Sea Jazz Festival

North Sea Jazz Festival

Rotterdam, NT

July 7-10, 2023

This summer, the NN North Sea Jazz Festival returns to Rotterdam to delight music lovers and cultural savants with a wide variety of genres, culinary experiences, artistic offerings and more. One of many festivals on the summer jazz circuit in Europe, the North Sea Jazz Festival stands out for its scale, scope, and the loyalty it engenders from its year over year attendees. Those visiting for the first time may feel daunted by the abundance of artists, dining options, and space to get lost exploring in, but just a bit of information can help prepare ticket holders for the experience of a lifetime. For the first time, Pack Light Global Itineraries, is encouraging our fearless travelers to bring their partners and spouses as we enjoy The Ultimate VIP Experience at The NN North Sea Jazz Festival, July 2023.

Nearly 50 year legacy

The NN North Sea Jazz Festival has earned its spot as a landmark stop on the festival circuit with a nearly 50 year history of platforming the most cutting edge musicians grounded in genres of soulful improvisation. Their inaugural lineup featured heavyweights like Ray Charles, Dizzy GIllespie, and the Sun Ra Arkestra. 20 years later, the scope of the festival has expanded to include the likes of Parliament Funkadelic, Santana, Maxwell and Little Richard. In recent years, the program has struck a fine balance by platforming both classic, beloved powerhouses like Diana Ross and Ledisi with more recent arrivals to the scene like. Erykah Badu H.E.R. and Lianne La Havas with R&B vocal stylings interwoven amongst the quintessentially strong tapestry of traditional jazz artists in the field.

The World’s largest indoor music festival

With 15 stages, over 50 performances a day, and attendance reaching nearly 70,000 visitors, the NN North Sea Jazz Festival is the largest indoor jazz festival in the world. While this gives ticket holders the perfect opportunity to become completely enveloped in a world where around every corner is a new facet of music and culture to explore, it also requires some forethought for those wishing to maximize their time.

First time festival goers may want to explore the whole venue by foot upon arrival to get a sense for how long it takes to get between the various food stalls, bathrooms, and stages as they plan their route. Concerts are all first come first serve with no assigned seating, so being ready to prioritize early arrival for favored acts is a must. Thinking ahead about food and restroom needs will help keep spirits high even as crowds accrue. Be aware, however, that impromptu improvisations and guest appearances may occur so some flexibility will help to maximize the experience.

○ Restaurant

A delight for the senses, the North Sea Jazz Festival’s culinary offerings pack nearly as much punch as its musical notes. The various food stalls located throughout the venue carry everything from more recognizable standard fare like pizza, burgers, hot dogs and fries, to more adventurous and international dishes

like Indian curries, Thai stir fries, and distinct selections from Vietnamese and Surinam.

Beyond the dedicated stalls and squares, an even more exciting opportunity for elevated fare exists in the form of a collaboration with local Michelin star award winning Parkheuvel, a kitchen that takes a dedicated yet inventive approach to culinary classics like wagyu beef and foie gras. Reservations can be booked to enjoy the specially curated festival menu for either a late lunch from 3:30 to 5:00 or an early dinner from 5:30 to 7:30 on all festival days.

○ North Sea Round Town Fringe Festival

In addition to the offerings staged in the Rotterdam Ahoy, a robust fringe festival finds its footing in the city during the North Sea Jazz Festival. For the two weeks surrounding the festival, local venues and street corners are brought to life. Everywhere from public transit stations to churches, bars to nursing homes acts that bring the lively swing of improvisational music populate the city. Visit their website to find some more about what's happening all throughout Rotterdam during the NN North Sea . Claim your spot today!

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