Nisville, the Jazzfestival in Serbia

is so much more than jazz
More about Niš, the city, activities

… Funky music, R&B, Blues, Rock, Reggae and Pop …

Nisville is the name of the annual jazz festival held in Niš, a city the size of Aberdeen in the south of Serbia. Although jazz is the main course on the menu, blues, rock and reggae provide appetizing starters and occasionally the finishing touch.

Stages Nisville

So in August when the temperatures rise to 30० C, it is not just jazz musicians travelling to southern Serbia. In the 2017 edition of Nisville artists with African roots like Alpha Blondy (reggae), the British Tony Momrelle (R & B) and the Serbian Marko Luis were just a handful of examples of the eclectic collection of artists who populated the ten stages of Nisville. Big names in the world of jazz were the likes of Candy Dulfer and Patty Austin.

Even if you are completely broke, you can enjoy the music at Nisville. Access to most venues is free, only for the Earth / Sky stage, where the main acts play, a ticket is required.

At the same time, Nisville is much more than just a music festival. As Serbia was not that long ago engaged in a bloody civil war, the festival is helping to process the past. Religious tolerance and diversity are an important part of the program.

The friendly atmosphere is therefor all the more uplifting. The security measures are minimal – I saw no security gates and few fences whilst the police seemed mostly there to enjoy the music.

Serbia festival Nis

Foto Candy Dulfer © vladimir jovanovic aka master

Serbia jazzfestival Nis

Nisville, a family festival

The venue of the festival is a fortress, situated in a park in the centre of Niš. It not only has good acoustics but benefits from sound insulation due to the fortress walls, outside the music, is barely audible. Inside you can have a conversation with your neighbour, without getting a sore throat. All in all, it is a convivial place for the young and old alike.

The festival is blissfully commercial free, advertising is hardly present. Giga burgers, barbecued on the spot, will set you back 200 dinars (€ 1.50). The size is three times that of a Big Mac and the taste is, in my view, at least ten times as good.

The beer is ridiculously cheap and yet you hardly see any drunks on the premises even at the neighbouring wine festival where for 500 dinars (€ 3.75) you can drink unlimited Serbian wines throughout the night.

Tickets Jazzfestival Nisville 2018

The 35th edition will be held from 3rd – 12th August 2018 with 250 performances on 20 stages by 1000 musicians.

The tickets for 2018 are already on sale, the first 500 go for € 12.50, the regular price for a ticket for the entire festival thereafter is 35 euros.

Still a bargain.

The tickets can be ordered here.

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Practical issues

  • Niš has an international airport, serving several European destinations.
  • Train from Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, Niš can be reached by train. However, the rail network is outdated. The journey will take you about six hours.
  • Bus A good alternative is the bus. In three hours you reach Niš from Belgrade this way.
  • Kosovo Since Kosovo is not recognized by Serbia, it is not possible to enter the country via Kosovo.
  • Accommodation is generally a lot cheaper than in Western Europa, mind you standards are also lower. Niš also has some affordable more luxurious alternatives. The word Garni is widely used here, it means that the hotel has no restaurant but sometimes serves breakfast. Click here for the various accommodations in Niš.

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