The future of Berlin's largest jazz festival is at risk because the long-term funding by the Berlin Senate has been canceled.
The festival, attracting 20,000 attendees, featuring over 70 concerts and panels, and hosted in numerous venues, faces a serious challenge in maintaining its size, relevance, and professionalism without a secure funding foundation. Regrettably, the Senate's denial of long-term funding for the next four years, without providing any reasons or explanations, further compounds the predicament.
Despite the setbacks, the festival remains committed to supporting artistic communities of various genres. Its mission extends to providing a platform for international jazz greats while ensuring diversity, stylistic openness, and affordability. This dedication has garnered recognition, including the German Jazz Award for Best Festival in 2022, reinforcing the festival's understanding of what jazz should embody. Jazz, in its essence, is meant to be open, inspiring, and a unifying force during times of turmoil—a principle the XJAZZ! FESTIVAL upholds.
However, the cancellation of long-term funding poses a risk to essential aspects of the festival's concept. Supporting emerging artists and offering affordable ticket prices for festival passes become untenable without a stable financial foundation. Despite the festival's decade-long existence and efforts to engage Berlin's Minister of Culture, invitations went unanswered, and the current Minister has yet to respond to pleas addressing the festival's concerns.
This situation prompts reflection on whether social inclusion, local newcomer support, and international relevance should be guiding cornerstones for modern-day cultural politics. Shouldn't our cultural priorities include social inclusion, local support, and global relevance?
It seems that a festival like XJAZZ!, which blurs the borders between genres, reaches a diverse audience, showcases upcoming talents, and supports local players, doesn't align with the jury’s focus. We always wanted to be 'more,' but now it happened that we don’t fit into this box."
Please help us to share this news and gain more attention from publicity. Maybe this will kick a start for an open dialogue about the funding distribution in Germany.