North Sea Jazz Festival

Why North Sea Jazz Festival is the must-go European festival of the summer

UPDATE 21 APRIL: The 2020 edition of the North Sea Jazz Festival has been postponed until 2021. More information can be found here

If there is one music festival you to go to this summer, make it Rotterdam’s North Sea Jazz Festival. The 2020 festival will be taking place during the weekend of July 10 – 12 at the Ahoy in Rotterdam.

The first line up announcement for the 44th edition of the festival has just dropped and its oh so tasty! The headlining acts this year include: Diana Ross, John Legend, and Alicia Keys, and thats just for starters.

Why on earth I’m telling you to head this festival instead of the other hundreds in Europe this summer. In 2019, I threw caution to the wind and went to the festival solo, and in no uncertain terms had one of the greatest musical weekends of my entire life. If you love your music, this festival is one for the music nerds out there. Not strictly 100% jazz, the festival attracts legends, and up and comers from a wide variety of genres. By the end of the weekend, you’ll have sore feet from all of the dancing, and you are also unlikely to have a voice left either :-).

Music aside, the entire festival experience is a joy….


The Ahoy Rotterdam is easy to get to from the centre of town. The stages are both indoors and outdoors allowing you to get some sunshine, or if the weather turns (out of the rain). Possibly the best and a rarity at festivals these days, there is never a queue for the toilets (woohoo!)


To keep you fuelled between acts there are plenty of food options to keep you going throughout your festival weekend. From fine dining to frites with mayonnaise to Thai Noodles to freshly shucked oysters, there is something for every budget and taste. If you like a wee tipple: there are the usual festival style bars scattered around the site, there is also a craft beer and cider “garden”, a whisky bar, and several wine and cocktail bars. If you’re not keen on the booze there is plenty of coffee carts, and juice bars to keep you going.

Getting to North Sea Jazz Festival

From London Eurostar has direct journeys from Kings Cross St Pancras to Rotterdam Centraal in as little as four hours.

From Schipol airport, you can catch a direct train to Rotterdam Centraal in about 40 minutes.

To the Ahoy from Rotterdam Centraal, jump on Metro Line D alight at Zuidplein, from there it’s a quick 10-minute walk. On the way to the venue you’ll come across a variety of musical treats (last year I happened across an incredible gospel choir)


3 day tickets for this year’s North Sea Jazz Festival have now sold out. However 1-day tickets are still available to buy until the end of April. Head here to purchase your day tickets.

Top Tips for an epic festival

  1. Wear comfortable shoes – you’ll be dancing for hours!
  2. Download the North Sea Jazz Festival app – available for IOS and Android. You can build your schedule for each day and receive notifications if things change or move venues.
  3. Arrive early to the smaller stages for well-known artists (particularly at the Hudson and Amazon stages)
  4. Book your accommodation as early as possible. Rotterdam has a glut of accommodation options, however the entire city is virtually sold out (or horrifically expensive) during this weekend. (I stayed at King Kong Hostel during the weekend, and was super central to everything)
  5. Go for a wander: If your schedule is not back to back with bands to see, have a wander around the festival – you will 100% come across some little gems on the outer stages.

For more information on North Sea Jazz Festival check out their website here

A little while ago, I did a round-up of my other favourite music festivals on the planet take a look

Also, check out my highlight on Instagram for a day by day rundown of the 2019 festival

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