Despite varying weather conditions, the audience found their way to Jazz-Espa

Valtteri Pokela

The summer concert series organized by the Finnish Jazz Federation took the Esplanadi stage for the 24th time. Despite abundant rains, a total of over 3.600 listeners gathered to concerts during the event week.

Jazz-Espa took place in Helsinki’s Esplanade Park as a six-day concert series from July 31st to August 5th, 2023, featuring a total of 17 ensembles in free concerts on the Espa stage. The weather didn’t favor the event this year, as showers were plentiful except for the opening and closing days. Despite the rain, all concerts were carried out as planned, and not a single concert had to be canceled.

“It was a joy to see that, despite even heavy rain, jazz enthusiasts gathered in the audience equipped with raincoats and umbrellas. You could tell that jazz fans are a dedicated bunch!”, producer Sheri Toivomäki rejoices that there was an audience for all concerts and the rain didn’t completely discourage people from attending.

Over 70 musicians performed at Jazz-Espa

In the open call for the 2022 autumn season, 68 bands applied to perform at Jazz-Espa. Among the applicants, there were a total of 306 musicians, including 35 women (11 %), 265 men (87 %), 0 non-binary individuals (0 %), and 5 who chose not to specify ( 2%). Of the musicians, 290 were Finnish (95 %) and 15 were foreigners (5 %).

In the final Jazz-Espa program, out of 74 musicians, 15 were women (20 %), 59 were men (80 %), and there were no non-binary musicians. Of the musicians, 72 (97 %) were Finnish and 2 (3 %) were foreign. Some musicians performed in multiple ensembles. Percentages have been rounded to whole numbers.

Contribute to making Jazz-Espa even better

Jazz-Espa collects feedback through an online survey. Based on the responses received so far, improvements from the previous year include increased visibility of the Jazz Federation as the event organizer and better visibility of the security personnel. Respondents have described the event as relaxed, refreshing, and captivating, among other things. The Jazz Federation continues to welcome feedback and suggestions from participants, and the link can be found in the bottom of this release. The survey can be completed anonymously in Finnish and English. The survey is open until August 31st.

Jazz-Espa was produced by the Finnish Jazz Federation in collaboration with Savoy Theatre. The event was supported by the Finnish Music Foundation and the Helsinki Cultural Center. This year’s partners included Restaurant Kappeli, Grotesk Helsinki, Pop & Jazz Conservatory, and Grand Rental Ltd. The program is available on the event’s website at:

Photo: Jori Huhtala