Ivan Blagojevic – founder and general manager of Nisville jazz festival ( www.nisville.com , Nis, Serbia) was born at January 7th 1959. Graduated at Faculty of economy, Nis (Bachelor of Economics – specialized in Culture Management). Until 1990, he was succesfull theatre director (several rewards for best directing on nationaly festivals of amateur theatres). Author of concepts and main organiser of following events: Nisville jazz festival – 28 editions, Theatre Yu fest – 4 editions, Rock festival – 3 editions, Festival of chamber music – 1 edition and few art colonies. He incarnated and organized New Year’s Eve celebration at the central city square of Nis, with more than 150 performers in front of 100.000 visitors. He published several music edition and literature publications. He wrote book of essays “Walk on Jazz”.
The jazz festival tradition in Niš, initiated in 1981, and terminated in 1991, was renewed at the end of 1994 thanks to the producer and economist who specializes in cultural management, Ivan Blagojević, theatre director by vocation. From the festival’s very beginning, its concept has been based on presenting the ‘traditional’ jazz forms together with their fusion with the ethnic tradition from the different parts of the world, especially from the Balkans.
Based on estimates, over 7.000 musicians have performed at Nišville Jazz festival, and their concerts have probably been attended by more than 750,000 visitors. Ever since the move to the plateau in the Fortress, the following have been among those who performed at Nisville: Solomon Burke, Joss Stone, Jean Luc Ponty Quartet, Osibisa, Al Di Meola, Christian Scott, Maria Joao, Bob Geldof, Earth, Wind and Fire, Brussels Jazz Orchestra, John Patittuci, Lollo Meier, Opus 5, Kim Clark & Joe Bowie, Lydian Sound Orchestra, Richard Galliano, Hans and Candy Dulfer, Benny Golson, Mingus Dynasty, Sly & Robbie ft. Junior Reid, Chico Freeman, Milcho Leviev, Stanley Jordan, Mungo Jerry Blues Band, Rick Margitza, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, Miroslav Vitous, Grace Kelly, Jamie Davis, Incognito, Kyle Eastwood, Hubert Tubbs, Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion ft. Pee Wee Ellis, Jazzanova, Ron Carter Golden Striker Trio ft. Russel Malone, Nouvelle Vague, Marius Neset, Joe Bowie, Roy Hargrove, De Phazz, The Brand New Heavies, Georgie Fame, Terje Rypdal, Manu Dibango, Yehia Khalil, Goran Bregovic, Gipsy Kings etc.
In 2016. Nišville Jazz Festival was chosen by The Guar-dian as one of the best jazz festivals of Europe, alongside Mon-treux jazz festival, Umbria jazz festival, North Sea jazz festival etc. The festival was also highly recommended by the British BBC in 2017. on their BBC Travel portal.
Festival‘s whole hearted devotion to preserve musical legacy of the Balkans and South-Eastern Europe, is witnessed by the prestigious award from 2016. awarded to the director of the festival, Ivan Blagojević. The “Zlatni Vek“ (“Golden Age“) award is the highest honour awarded by The Bulgarian Mini-stry of Culture to foreign citizens, and mr. Blagojević is the first citizen of Serbia to receive the award.
Every year, Nišville is followed by over 450 accredited journalists from Serbia and abroad, and among them, there are representatives of renowned music and political magazines. For example, in his portrayal of Nišville, the critic from the most famous jazz magazine, “Downbeat”, paid special attention to some of the participants at the festival from Serbia, i.e. from the Balkans, while the reporter from the unofficial media of the European Union, the Brussels magazine “New Europe”, headlined the text on the festival (announced on the front page), as “Nišville – the European Face of Serbia”!