Finnish Jazz Federation supports jazz industry professionals in their activities and creates opportunities for experiencing jazz across the whole country.

The Finnish Jazz Federation’s key activities include organising national jazz tours and presenting the annual Jazz-Espa festival in Helsinki. We facilitate international productions each year in collaboration with organisations such as the Nordic Jazz Network. Our Jazz Finland Residency program enables international guest artists to work together with Finnish jazz musicians.

  • Finnish Jazz Federation’s core activity in Finland is our national touring scheme. Producing nationwide tours for Finnish jazz musicians boosts the amount of live jazz music on offer, promotes the regional public’s access to jazz, and creates work opportunities for musicians, especially outside of the capital region.

    Our touring scheme currently facilitates nine tours each year, resulting in around 100 concerts across 40 different locations. The touring scheme employs around 50 musicians per year. Finnish Jazz Federation organises four fully produced tours each year. In addition, we co-produce five tours each year in collaboration with external producers.

    Inhouse Productions

    Finnish Jazz Federation organises four fully produced tours each year. Two rounds of applications are open each year for interested participants, one in October (for tours in the following year’s autumn season) and one in April (for tours in the following year’s spring season). The touring ensembles are chosen by an artistic committee. The successful applicants will be able to undertake a fully produced national concert tour, where their concerts are predominantly booked by the federation’s member associations. All new application periods will be announced on the Jazz Federation webpage, on social media, and through the our musician register.

    Co-produced Tours

    Finnish Jazz Federation grants a production subsidy towards four co-produced national tours each year. Two rounds of applications are open each year for interested participants, one in October (for tours in the following year’s autumn season) and one in April (for tours in the following year’s spring season). The touring ensembles are chosen by an artistic committee. Each co-produced tour is managed entirely by an external producer who must operate a registered business. The maximum amount of subsidy is €6,000 per tour.

    Free Voices / Free Sounds collaboration and Heimojazz

    In addition, the jazz federation co-produces one Finnish-French tour each year together with the Free Voices / Free Sounds agency. Free Voices / Free Sounds have been actively developing jazz and improvised music collaborations since 1996 between France, Finland, and the Scandinavian and Baltic countries.

    With the Estonian Jazz Union we share an annual band exchange tradition between Helsinki and Tallinn, called Heimojazz (‘tribe jazz’).

  • Finnish Jazz Federation organises the annual Jazz-Espa festival in Helsinki each July-August. Presented at the Espa Stage in the heart of Helsinki, this event is open to everyone in the city, free of charge, and is suitable for all ages and fully accessible.

    Jazz-Espa’s aim is to introduce its large target audiences to top Finnish jazz musicians as well as young and promising future stars, all through an accessible atmosphere. The event presents 17-20 top quality jazz concerts over the course of a week, employing 70-80 musicians each summer. Even from an international perspective, Jazz-Espa provides a rare cultural service to both Helsinki residents and visitors to the region through its main program and large fringe selection. The event has been running since 2000.

    Jazz-Espa is funded by the City of Helsinki.

  • Jazz Finland Residency is an international jazz residency program in Helsinki jointly organized by Finnish Jazz Federation, Sibelius Academy Jazz Music Department at Uniarts Helsinki, UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra and the Finnish Musicians’ Union.

    The top-level, invitation-only residency for jazz musicians, composers and conductors is administered and coordinated by Finnish Jazz Federation (Jazz Finland), inviting two international guest artists each year to Finland for a one to two month residency. The residency helps create and strengthen networks between international and Finnish jazz professionals, as well as providing opportunities for new creative collaborations and ideas. In addition, the residency answers to the call for the need to create more sustainable operating models for international endeavors. The residency includes giving masterclasses at the Sibelius Academy Jazz Department as well as performing with the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra. The residency concept enables local jazz musicians and other jazz professionals to initiate collaborations with the Artist-in-Residence. Along with the Finnish Jazz Federation, the residency partners include Music Finland, Finnish Jazz Musicians’ Association, and the Helsinki International Artist Programme (HIAP). This is a family-friendly residency.

  • As part of the National Jazz Convention, organised annually by Finnish Jazz Federation, Yrjö awards have been granted since 1967. The Yrjö award is the most esteemed jazz industry award, granted each year to a distinguished Finnish jazz musician.

    In addition, the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle’s Jazz Radio gives out their own Varjo-Yrjö (“Shadow Yrjö”) award, granted for services to jazz culture. Since 2014, the National Jazz Convention has been organised in conjunction with the Tampere Jazz Happening.

    Since 1988, Finnish Jazz Federation has also granted discretionary Andania awards for continuous and distinguished services to Finnish jazz.

    In 2023, the Finnish Jazz Federation started awarding the annual Taimi Award. Taimi is granted to a young musician who passionately develops their own musical expression. With this award, the Finnish Jazz Federation aims to encourage young individuals in boldly seeking and showcasing their own voice.

  • Nordic Jazz Comets is a collaboration platform administered by five Nordic jazz organisations: Finnish Jazz Federation (Jazz Finland), Svensk Jazz in Sweden, Norsk jazzforum in Norway, JazzDanmark in Denmark, and the FÍH Music School in Iceland.

    Operating since 2000, Nordic Jazz Comets is a collaborative concept between Nordic jazz organisations, facilitating encounters and shared learning opportunities for Nordic concert organisers and musicians. The concept has resulted in events such as ensemble competitions, showcases, seminars and workshops hosted in Nordic cities as well as in Berlin, London and Paris. Nordic Jazz Comets has a singular focus on jazz music, young musicians, and providing opportunities for international career growth.

    Finnish Jazz Federation spearheaded the previous Jazz Comets scheme, titled In the Key of Green, during 2020-2021. The scheme resulted in the launch of a Nordic jazz promoter network as well as co-developing and piloting more environmentally friendly Nordic touring models. Unexpected and environmentally respectful solutions can be found for many event production or touring related issues, such as reaching local audiences or dealing with resource challenges. These solutions can also lead to increasing social responsibility, which will be the leading theme for the upcoming project period. Jazz Danmark, our equivalent in Denmark, is currently running a 2022-2023 project titled Dagsverke (“a day of charity work”) which explores the different options of how jazz professionals can influence the promotion of equity, equality, accessibility, health, and even crisis management through their work.


  • With our #jazzday campaign, Finnish Jazz Federation encourages everyone to participate in celebrating UNESCO’s International Jazz Day on 30 April each year.

    First launched in 2022, the campaign is designed to inspire everyone involved in the Finnish jazz scene to join in and mark the special day through large and small events and acknowledgments. The goal of UNESCO’s International Jazz Day is to promote the role of jazz music as an ambassador for peace, intercultural dialogue, equality, and human rights.

  • Our Jazz Café discussion events are designed to bring the Finnish jazz sector together to facilitate the exchange of ideas on topics that are current and of general importance to the industry.

    The Jazz Café events can also be extended to include training, lectures, panel discussions, or other relevant activities. We’ll keep our musician register updated about the upcoming Jazz Café events, and add them to our events calendar on our website as well.