Of the several thousand jazz festivals across the world, at least half are held in large ports. Ten years ago Varna joined them, only to prove that it is easiest for new ideas, concepts and trends to make their way by sea.

Back then in the early 90's, when human passion spilled over and spent enormous energy on useless (unfortunately!) emotional gestures, no one thought that the efficiency of Varna residents would turn - in less than a decade - Bulgaria's youngest jazz festival into... the country's oldest. The Varna festival is partnered only by "Gabrovo's Dixieland Parade", which modestly marked it's 20th anniversary this may. The conclusion is obvious: longevity and good health are awarded only to ideas and projects which have their own, original and consistently applied formula. Gabrovo is the center of Bulgaria's oldest jazz tradition, and Varna of the latest trends in jazz.


Within this framework, Varna is open to all sorts of new ideas, which makes it a solid island of innovative and modern (not postmodern!) thinking. Because even Europe cannot boast too many festivals which focus on the latest trends, quests and discoveries in jazz.That's why Varna Jazz is the first to step into the 21st century with the real merit not of integrating into Europe, but of being one of the trend setters on the continental jazz scene. The festival has three mainstays: "modern thinking", which combines all (!) achievements in music, "Ethnic music links" with the jazz idioms of Black Sea countries and "compulsory attention" to young Bulgarian musicians with an original approach to and felling for jazz. These trends are also mirrored in the personal achievements of Anatoly Vapirov, the main inspirer, prime mover and art director of Varna Jazz. Yet now that we are celebrating the festival's first major anniversary, let us also remember Yordan Rupchev, the veteran emcee and most active propagator of the festival, who did not live to see it's 10th anniversary.

A wise man once said that there were two kinds of people under the sun: "those who adjust to the world and those who adjust the world to themselves. The latter (the wise man added) were far apart, but it was precisely they who inspired and moved the world forward". This truthful and, unfortunately, sad observation applies with full force to Varna Jazz - the festival of the second kind.