Amersfoort World Jazz Festival

In addition to being a singer, composer and lyricist, Fleurine is also chairman of the BiMpro, the union for jazz musicians in the Netherlands. In 2021, the BIM celebrated their anniversary during the Amersfoort World Jazz Festival. Last year we offered a stage for Women in Jazz.

Why is/was Women in Jazz so important? Can you tell us something about this and the collaboration with Amersfoort Jazz?

It is incredible to see how small the share of female musicians in Jazz is. If you close your eyes and think of a classical orchestra you see women everywhere on stage, but if you think of a jazz orchestra or a Big Band – where are they? Usually for the band behind the microphone and then it’s one. Every now and then there is a lost trumpeter or saxophonist somewhere. But that is not surprising when you know that of the nine conservatories that teach jazz in the Netherlands, there are only three women who major in teaching an instrument. For the rest, women are only in the singing section. And as long as this image remains this way, everyone is used to it and it will continue to exist. So we need to more actively show women in jazz music so that young girls think: hey, I can or want this too! Women make up only 20% of all jazz musicians worldwide. While the population is 50/50 male female – so we need to make Jazz more inclusive! It would be nice if it happened naturally, but unfortunately that is not the case. So it’s very nice that Amersfoort Jazz was the first Festival in the Netherlands to create a special NL women in Jazz stage – hopefully next year it will also be a prominent place for initiatives.

Can you tell us something about your research?

Following the sad figures, the BIMpro has set a quota for 2023: festivals and venues must book at least 20% women – and if the female share grows, the quota will increase. The ultimate goal is 50/50, but there are less than 50% women that we can book – there are 80% men. So the quota does not take away work from anyone, but it does put the spotlight on a transition towards equality. Unfortunately, 50/50 is still in the future. Our research is aimed at checking whether venues and festivals also adhere to this quota. Amersfoort World Jazz passed with flying colors last summer.

Has there been a sequel? Are there several concerts on the agenda?

Of course! Following the First NL Women in Jazz Night last year in the Bimhuis, we now have a wonderful event in Tivoli Vredenburg on March 8, International Women’s Day:

Transition to Equality! The BIM Women in Jazz will play at Horn of Plenty (following the example of the Amersfoort World Jazz Festival).