Jazzaldia (San Sebastian Jazz Festival) All You Need to Know!

Jazzaldia, also known as the San Sebastian Jazz Festival, is one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in Europe. 

It’s held every year in San Sebastian and in 2024 it takes place from the 23rd – 28th July

The event has grown not only to become a key highlight in San Sebastian’s calendar, but also on the international jazz calendar! 

But attending Jazzaldia is more than just enjoying music! It’s about immersing yourself in the unique atmosphere that the festival creates. 

The event transforms the city into a bustling hub of jazz, with music filling the air from morning till night. And it attracts a diverse audience, ranging from hardcore jazz enthusiasts to curious tourists, creating a lively environment​​.

How to attend the Jazz Festival

There are a mixture of free concerts throughout the city alongside paid concerts (which require the purchase of tickets in advance). 

Below is the program for this year. View PDF here.

San Sebastian Jazz Festival Program

Tickets for Jazzaldia can be purchased online through the festival’s official website or at local box offices in San Sebastian. 

💡 TIP: If you’re planning a trip around the Jazz Festival, it's advisable to book accommodations well in advance! The festival attracts a large number of visitors each year, so accommodation can quickly fill up! Check out our guides to accommodation in the city here.

A little bit about the history of Jazzaldia

The history of Jazzaldia goes all the way back to 1966. 2024 celebrates the 59th edition, making it the oldest jazz festival in Spain. 

The early years of the festival were marked by a focus on mainstream and traditional jazz, featuring legendary artists such as Milt Buckner, Cab Calloway, and Muddy Waters​ 

Over the years, the festival has evolved, incorporating a wider range of jazz styles. It has welcomed iconic performers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and Chick Corea!

Festival Structure and Venues

Zurriola Beach during the Jazzaldia Festival in San Sebastian

During the festival, San Sebastian is buzzing! 

Not only is there the summer atmosphere, but the festival sees a variety of venues popping up that cater to different tastes and preferences. 

Some of the more popular venues are below.

  • The Plaza de la Trinidad is the heart of the festival, known for its intimate and historic ambiance. This stage has hosted numerous memorable performances​. 
  • The Kursaal Auditorium offers a more formal setting with its 1,800-seat capacity. It’s ideal for large orchestral performances and renowned solo acts
  • Zurriola Beach is one of the festival’s most popular venues! It hosts free open-air concerts that attract massive crowds. The beach stage has seen performances by major artists like Bob Dylan and Jamie Cullum, drawing audiences of up to 83,000 people!​ 
  • The Victoria Eugenia Theatre provides an elegant setting for indoor concerts
  • The San Telmo Museum blends historical architecture with modern cultural events

If you’re around in the city during this time, it’s hard not to be drawn in by the festival!

FAQs about Jazzaldia 

Jazzaldia attracts a wide range of attendees, and many have questions about the festival. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

When is Jazzaldia held?

Jazzaldia is held annually in the third week of July, lasting for five days​. In 2024 the festival will take place from 23rd – 28th July.

Where can I buy tickets?

Tickets can be purchased online via the official Jazzaldia website or at local box offices in San Sebastian​

Are there free concerts?

Yes, many concerts, especially those on Zurriola Beach and Kursaal Terraces, are free to the public.

Can I bring children to the festival?

Yes, Jazzaldia is family-friendly with specific events like Txikijazz designed for children​.

What should I bring to the festival?

Essentials include comfortable clothing, sunscreen, a hat, and perhaps a blanket for beach concerts. It’s also a good idea to bring some cash for food and drink.