The North Sea Jazz Festival takes place in a massive convention center in Rotterdam (2 years ago it was moved from The Hague to its current location). This is, by far, the biggest jazz festival I have ever been to or played at.
A bit about the Festival:
The One O'clock played early in the day at an outdoor stage-- in fact, we were the first act of the day. It was a blessing that we played so early because we were actually the ONLY act going on at that time. For the remainder of the day there are about 10 stages going on simultaneously and have at least 4 MAJOR acts occurring at once. The sound check was great and for the first time on the tour, the band felt very comfortable playing with the sound set up. We played an hour long set that was very similar to the set that we played a few days earlier. The band performed far better than we at any other stop on the tour-- and that is a good thing too, because the plaza was packed. The set was high energy and the crowd wanted more when we finished playing. I hope I make it back there to play again someday.
After our performance, the band was left with a bunch of backstage passes and access to all of the concerts of the day. My first stop included a Brad Mehldau concert-- this festival is packed with so many great artists that I actually had to skip a great Dutch radio band, and a Kenny Wheeler performance in order to check out this show (yes they were all going on at once). The hall was huge and the audience sat in silence and listened intently to everything he played-- it was an amazing performance. We took advantage of the back stage passes and were able to catch Mehldau after the concert. (a very nice guy-- on a side note, he speaks pretty good Dutch). Other concerts that I was able to take in were: a group featuring Randy Brecker, a bit of a show of clarinetist Anat Cohen (sister of Avashai- trumpet), Antonio Sanchez, the WDR Big Band featuring Maceo Parker (which was in an arena-like setting that must have held at least 15,000 people), and a concert with Branford Marsailis.--- All this in one day of the festival (at some point, Ill post a list of all the people I didn't have time to see).