The Riverboat Festival – a musical gem in Denmark’s Lakeland district

Silkeborg - Riverboat Jazz Festival

The Riverboat Festival – a musical gem in Denmark’s Lakeland district
If you say Silkeborg, you will inevitably also have to say beautiful lakeland scenery. The lakes are an integral part of life of the town located in the middle of Jutland, just West of Århus. Silkeborg is The town by the lakes, and the lakes have inspired the locals to many events throughout the times, one of them being the Riverboat Jazz Festival. Apart from being Denmark’s oldest jazz festival, it has grown into being one of Northern Europe’s largest festivals for traditional jazz: New Orleans, Dixieland, and Swing jazz. In recent years, however, the festival has also introduced modern jazz and young talents.

Inspiration from the Thames
Since the 60-ties, jazz and jazz clubs have been part of Silkeborg’s cultural life. One of the people behind the concerts then went on a trip to London and experienced a musical cruise on the Thames in true Mississippi style... Almost immediately the idea came: If you can play New Orleans jazz on the Thames, then why not on the local river Gudenåen, where river steamers were already running regularly. Shortly after, they got started, and during the initial years, the Riverboat Jazz Festival took part on the three river steamers, that sailed on the lakes at that time.

From local to international
Throughout the years, the festival has constantly grown. At the beginning everything took place on ships in the water, but the amount of bands and festival-goers grew in numbers. The festival started taking churches, music venues, bars and restaurants into use, tents were put up, and other creative, ideas for venues developed. During the first 20 years, only Danish bands played, but since 1986, the festival can call itself international. Every year they have been able to attract internationally renowned orchestras and soloists, and the annual amount of highlights have increased.

The popularity of the festival, both among artists and visitors show, that people will travel far to experience this event. Year by year, the amount of orchestras and soloists has grown to number 70-80 ensembles, that have an audience of 40.-50.000 during the five days of the festival. The festival can be enjoyed free of charge, and many volunteers and sponsors make an enormous contribution to making the festival a success every year. All events are free of charge and can be reached within walking distance in the city.

The coming festival takes place end of June
You can read more about the programme and the performers on the festival webpage:

Well, Silkeborg is buzzing of events throughout Spring and Summer:
Experience some of the greatest Danish musicians at Silkeborg’s rockfestival Nye Hede Rytmer - hot rhythms. The festival is held at Indelukket by the lakes.

The woodlands by Silkeborg Spa are swarming with freedom fighters, German soldiers and officers, English soldiers - in fact all the characters you could have encountered at the spa during and just after the German Occupation - at the annual Bunker by Night. During the second part of World War II, Silkeborg Spa was taken into use as German military headquarters. You can also pay a visit to the Country Music Festival offering a variety of Danish and foreign country singers and bands. This festival is held at the openair stage by Indelukket.

Are you the nostalgic type and into classical, old cars, the place to go is Automania. Here you can get a good look at sports cars and perhaps the car you remember your Granddad driving once. Open studio doors where a broad range of artists in Silkeborg and its environs invite the public to come and visit their studios. Here you will get a unique opportunity to see how the works of art are created -and you might find a piece of art, that you would like to bring home.

Contakt bedandbreakfastguide Danmark:
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