Art and Culture on Samsø, Samsø for Adults

Ambitious jazz festival ready for its tenth edition

For the past nine years, Samsø has delivered a pearl of a festival in week 30. It is small, intimate and homely, yet manages to put Samsø on the map when it comes to presenting a music programme of international standard.

This year sees the tenth edition of the festival. The festival makes a point of showcasing young Danish talent mixed with more established musicians from Denmark and abroad.

One for all
The seed of the festival was sown when the two childhood friends Rolf Thofte and Mikkel Drejer Bertelsen met each other practising fencing in the ‘Rat hole’ (then the local gymnasium). The ‘Rat hole’ was characterised by the brown veneers on all vertical surfaces and, regardless of the season, was so cold that you lost the feeling in your feet. But it was also characterised by the coach’s warm heart and a dedication typical of the spirit of local Danish clubs at its best.

“The cliché that everyone knows everyone on Samsø is almost true. I didn’t know Rolf until Year 6, when we started fencing together,” Mikkel recalls. ”It was here in the ‘Rat hole’, Tranebjerg School’s old gymnasium, where we became really good friends; but as is often the case with many young ‘samsinger’, we left the island and went our separate ways to study. Rolf as trumpeter and I as a journalist. The perfect pairing to organise a jazz festival.”

Summer idyll in the childhood country
The sense of dedication was so engrained in the two young men that in 2015, Rolf took the initiative to organise the first festival: ”I had a strong desire to mix my great interest in and knowledge about jazz and the Danish jazz scene with the experience of the Samsø summer idyll and my childhood memories. I wanted to present some of the young talent of Danish jazz to the island that I love and from which I come. I called Mikkel and asked if he was up for it,” says Rolf, who works as a jazz musician in Copenhagen.

It has so far resulted in nine festivals with a tenth just around the corner. Every year programmes present international names from both Europe and the United States with a number of young talents from the Danish jazz scene.

Samsø Jazzfestival
• Samsø Jazz Festival runs forthree days at the end of July.
• Concerts are held in the afternoons and evenings.
• The full programme will be published in the spring.
• More on

Last updated: 18/01/2024 11:09