The first full week of the 20th EUROPAfest annual musical extravaganza has seen a series of concerts, at both traditional festival venues and new locations. The 17-day event was officially launched with a gala concert at the Odeon Theatre in Bucharest to mark Europe Day, on May 9. Young British bluesman Thomas Ford, violinist Sujin Park, local jazz combo 3 forEST and Sweden’s Arnesen Blues Band, now EUROPAfest regulars, were part of a varied line-up that encapsulates the festival’s eclectic musical remit.
Two of the acts, Thomas Ford and Arnesen Blues Band, were back in action the next night at Loft Club, in the Metropolis Centre, before the Swedish outfit moved to El Capitan Snagov, by Snagov Lake for a waterside show. The bandwagon has subsequent rolled onto the European Public Space and the Lutheran Church, examples of the unconventional concert venues promised by the festival organizers, where British trio Voice gave a cappella performances.
The Caffe Festival series of events continued with further shows at Loft and Ibis Cafe L’Estaminet, on Calea Grivitei by Yavor & The Sonic Punsch, whose members hail from Belgium and Bulgaria, and Italy’s Dario Pinelli & Binario Swing. The 20th EUROPAfest run has also featured workshops, including ones given by members of Arnesen Blues Band and veteran Romanian singer and composer Margareta Paslaru.
Overall, the event will host over 300 performers from 52 countries across four continents. The seventh Bucharest International Jazz Competition, which runs under the EUROPAfest umbrella, was due to begin on 18 May.