On the one hand, presenting the historic roots of jazz: standard, blues, bebop, swing, Dixieland, boogie-woogie… Over the years more than twenty big bands have played Bansko. Besides the traditional participants from the Big Band of Bulgarian National Radio with conductor Yanko Miladinov, which usually opens the event, former guest performers include the big formations of Vili Kazasyan, Georgi Borisov, Angel Zaberski, Big Band Blagoevgrad, several orchestras from Germany, including IKS Big Band, Kelag Big Band from Austria. The 10th edition of the festival featured the possibly most unusual orchestra in the festival’s history – SHAPE International Big Band, part of the NATO official orchestra. The 16th edition also hosted the Elmhurst College Jazz Band with conductor Doug Beach from the US.
On the other hand, the contemporary face of “free music”. Although quite different in nature, ethno-styles also have a permanent place in the festival. “Krakatau Band” from Indonesia, “Yehya Khalil Band” from Egypt, our own “Bulgara”, as well as Stoyan and Elitsa, who performed on stage fom the premiere of “Drumboy” . The 9th festival edition gathered Vlatko Stefanovski , Miroslav Tadic and Theodosius Spassov together on stage, and the music from their “Third Mother” project is still touring the world stages.
The festival programme has featured almost all great Bulgarian jazz performers, such as Milcho Leviev, Simeon Shterev, Mihail Yossifov, Hristo Yotsov, Camellia Todorova, Vassil Petrov, Stefka Onikyan, Hilda Kazasyan, Beloslava, Maria Ilieva, Petar Salchev, Miroslava Katzarova, Mery Taneva and many young rising stars of Bulgarian jazz .