World Jazz Conference

Parallel to the Amersfoort Jazz, the World Jazz Conference takes place. This 2018 edition has been the fourth edition and takes place on May 26 in the conference center Observant in Amersfoort. Initially, it was set up as a get-together for international jazz professionals in the sideline of the Amersfoort jazz festival, but has now grown to a fixed item in the agenda of international professionals acting in the field of jazz and world music, evidenced by the fact that most of them return annually and new professionals continue to join.

The explanation is simple: things get done in Amersfoort. And that’s mainly because of the participants who clearly want to work. They want to get things done. They want to collaborate and develop new initiatives, help the creative sector and continue to show the dynamics of the genre.

SENA Performers International Jazz Laureate Festival

Achieving proper results is of great importance for the conference participants. One of the most striking results of the past few years is the Sena Performers International Jazz Laureate Festival.

In 2016, the conference delegates concluded that it is often difficult for award-winning artists and musicians to take the next step: an international career. After all, if you win an important prize as a musician in your home country, it ‘ends’ usually, in the sense that there’s no system to connect these national laureates with an international audience of decision-makers. Hence, in 2016 the conference participants shared the idea an international palette of laureate talent would be desirable.

The idea was immediately supported by the conference visitors and Dutch neighouring rights society Sena Performers adopted the concept. This allowed the International Jazz Laureate Festival to grow into a strong showcase program that helps ambitious musicians and groups to take the step to an international career.


Like all new initiatives the first edition(s) of a new concept face challenges in execution and growth. Same counts for the Laureates Festival. Getting enough relevant artists playing on the first official edition of the Laureats Festival in 2017 was quite a challenge, but for the 2018 edition the foundation received far more submissions. A firm confirmation we’re on the right track, but a new challenge arises with this succes: How do you determine which artist should play on the Laureates event? How do we define the term “Laureate” actually? And what’s of more importance: artistic quality or commercial potential, or are there other parameters that should be taken into account?

The board of JazzNL decided for this 2018 edition of the Laureates Festival, artistic quality and commercial potential are of value, but didn’t feel they were to decide to what extend these conditions were met. So others should state something about these factors. So in creating the line-up for 2018, the board took following position. If an artist, musician or group is a laureate, than that counts for artistic quality. If there is a festival underlining relevance of an artist and is willing to endorse the artist, than that says something about commercial potential (or value).

Conference theme

The boards position on the selection for the Laureates Festival is far from complete, hence we decided to make this a central theme for the World Jazz Conference. We find it important to have a common understanding on the selection criteria, which can and will be communicated towards the next edition. This way we can achieve a certain level of the line-up and professional visitors know what to expect when visiting the Laureats event.

We hope you’ll have a great conference and exciting festival and look forward to your input in the sessions.

Michel Peek

World Conference Director