Since 1980, Trondheim Jazz Festival has delivered first-class jazz experiences to Trøndelag and visitors to Trondheim in May. And we will continue to do so!

JazzMazz and the festival's roots.

Trondheim Jazz Festival has roots dating back to 1980, then organized by the voluntary organization JazzMazz. The festival in 1980 was a huge success and filled Samfundet in Trondheim with over 1700 visitors. The organization was run by Erling Berg, Rolf Isaksen and Bjørn Krokfoss. JazzMazz's first period lasted until 1987.

In 1994, "AS Tre Trommeslagere" (Bjørn Krokfoss, Trond Kopperud and Ernst Wiggo Sandbakk in collaboration with Trondheim Jazzforum) started JazzMazz again. On Saturday 4 June, The three drummers presented their respective bands at Studio Hjorten at the Royal Garden Hotel, which was then a disused nightclub. Since then, the festival has been held annually.

In 1996, JazzMazz was moved to the fall. The program was expanded to include Scandinavian artists. In 1997, Trondheim municipality celebrated its millennium anniversary and JazzMazz received NOK 100,000 in one-time support from the municipality. The festival raised the level of ambition with several American bands in the program.

Trondheim Jazzfestival is created.

In 1998, the festival changed its name to Trondheim Jazz Festival, and on April 4, 2001, the organization was formally established as a foundation.

The founders and founding capital were:
- Trondheim municipality, NOK 10,000
- The Conservatory of Music in Trondheim, NOK 5,000
- Friends of the Jazz Festival (Torstein Siegel, Ernst Wiggo Sandbakk and Bjørn Willadsen), kr 100,000.

The purpose was according to the articles of association: "to arrange an annual festival of jazz and related forms of expression at a high artistic level in Trondheim".

In the years 1999 - 2002, Bjørn Willadsen had the function of general manager on a voluntary basis for the festival. The festival had no permanent employees.

During this period, the festival was held in early November. The festival established a partnership with Radisson SAS Royal Garden Hotel. The then director Cornelius Middelthon was a member of the festival's board. Other board members during this period were Steinar Lohne (Olavshallen), Torstein Siegel (head of UKM Norway), Per Anders Alvem (office manager at the Music Conservatory, NTNU), Kristin Falck (Tre'45 Music), Ketil Hustad (Rikskonsertene / Sør-Trøndelag Fylkeskommune) , Per Claussen, Kirsti Huke, Erik Hagtun, Erling «Plinga» Johansen, Ingrid Finboe Svendsen and Rolf Rønning.

In the year 2000, the festival had 21 concerts and 2,500 visitors. The festival began to become visible and get publicity at the national level. In 2001, the festival hosted 33 concerts. The level of ambition was increasing. The Norwegian Cultural Council began to show interest in the festival and convened a meeting on further development with a view to state support.

In 2003, Hege Oldervoll (employed at Midtnorsk jazzsenter) was the general manager of the festival.

From 2004, the festival received state support for the first time with NOK 100,000 from the Norwegian Cultural Council. And Trondheim municipality increased its contribution significantly to NOK 300,000. After having been run on a voluntary basis for all years, it was now possible to hire a general manager in a part-time position. This was the start of a professionalization of the festival.

Jazzfest today

Ernst Wiggo Sandbakk has been the general manager since 2004 and together with Merete Søbstad, Petter Vågan, Andrew Anfinnsen, Tore Sandbakken and the board members Knut Fagerbakke, Sissel Grønlie, Grete Wennes, Eirik Kvam, Aina Holst, Venke Aarethun, Siri B. Gellein, Bård Flikke, Geir Giæver, Trude Midtgård, Jo Stein Moen, Geirmund Lykke, Tore Flesjø, Geir Jarle Sirås, Stig Hillestad and Herbjørn Skjervold built stone upon stone in the development of an international jazz festival in the middle of Norway.

The driving force behind the festival has since its establishment been to front a strong artistic content with the main focus on Norwegian, Nordic and European jazz. Trondheim Jazz Festival has been, and is through its collaboration with various musical departments at NTNU an important contributor to the persistently high-quality music environment Trondheim. It has been especially important for performers with a background from the NTNU Jazzlinja. Jazzfest is both an innovator and a bearer of tradition in jazz. 

Today, Jazzfest is a national festival with between 50 and 70 events annually.

Today's organization

The festival has a staff of three part-time employees, and also buys services within marketing, technology, production, media management, concept development, etc. In connection with the festival period, the staff will be expanded with more project staff. Jazzfest has enthusiastic volunteers who contribute invaluable help in the running of the festival.


Trondheim Jazz Festival will be a leading, innovative and visible jazz communicator.