Indonesian Jazz Festival  
When considering the name of the country featuring the globe's largest jazz festival, many people would most likely suggest America? Or somewhere in Western Europe? But the answer is somewhat more surprising. Believe it or not, the world's largest annual jazz festival actually takes place in Indonesia. And it's getting bigger every year.
The Bali Live International Jazz Festival has become the largest of its kind anywhere on the planet. This year marked the tenth anniversary since its inception, with the Java Jazz Festival expanding into the Bali Live International event, taking place between the 5th and 8th March 2014.
The festival is a truly cosmopolitan and international affair, featuring top jazz artists from many different countries. Indonesia's home-grown talent also has pride-of-place.
This year the festival got off to a toe-tapping start when several of the main acts performed in a series of 'pre events', designed to showcase some examples of the performers. Various venues on Java were utilised for these impromptu gigs, including the Hard Rock Café in Kuta, the Jazz Café and Uma Cucina in Ubud, the Mozaic Beach Club in Kerobokan, the Le Meridien Hotel in Jimbaran, and many others.
Saturday 8th March saw the main festival event, with an open-air concert running from two in the afternoon until eleven at night. This took place at Taman Bhagawan, the perfect location for hours of full-blooded jazz performers, set against the beautiful backdrop of the blue ocean beyond. The atmosphere of gently lapping waves created a visual feast as successive trombonists, trumpeters, double bassists and several other gifted performers ran through their paces.
Few jazz venues anywhere can compete with a 100-metre stretch of white sands, running by the idyllic village of Tanjung Benoa. Another plus for this location is the fact that the area where the musicians perform is so handy for amenities. This is particularly the case if you are stopping over at the Nusa Dua resorts – 20 minutes from the airport, and a mere 30-minutes from Kuta, Denpasar or Seminyak. For visitors coming into this part of the world, the fantastic array of jazz exponents on offer is simply one part of the overall experience. Fans who have made the trip on previous occasions enthusiastically describe the warm welcome they receive on the island, as well as the beautiful sights and sounds to behold in the Balinese setting.
As for the musicians who formed the main part of the festival entertainment this year, the line-up read like a who's who of the Far Eastern jazz world – the Earth, Wind and Fire Experience featuring Al Mckay, Kevin Briggs and Sandy Winarta, Nita Aartsen, Israel Varela and Yeppy Romero, the Rio Sidik Quarter, Nancy Ponto and the Soul Brothers, Massive Soul featuring Dee Rice, and many more.
The annual festival is also hugely popular with local audiences because it provides home-grown talent with an enviable opportunity to demonstrate their talents to a far wider audience than they are normally used to. The finest jazz musicians in Bali and Indonesia can hone their craft here, prior to performers from many different parts of the globe demonstrating why they have become so successful.