The History of IBBC


In 1997, three years after the first edition of the Meer Jazz Festival, a big band competition was organized for the first time in Hoofddorp. The Holland Casino National Big Band Competition was born, thanks to a grant from Holland Casino. Paul Pilgram, Wob Moser and Axel van Luijk were the first organizers together with Alex de Leeuw and Hans Esman. There were only six participating bands and the Amstel Bigband from Amsterdam won this first edition.

The Municipality of Haarlemmermeer was so excited about the festival that they awarded a substantial grant for the 1998 edition. For the next three years, the competition was held under the name Haarlemmermeer National Big Band Competition.

Starting in 1999, Cees Rot joined the committee. The competition continued to evolve, both in quality and in quantity. In 2000 the total amount of the prizes had risen to nine thousand euros and eight Big Bands participated in the event.

As a National Big Band Competition, the event grew from eight to 12 participants and even to 18 bands in 2006. In order to achieve a fair and transparent attribution of the prizes, two categories were introduced: the First Class and the Top Class.

In 2011 president Axel van Luijk withdrew from the commission. Pytrik Rot took his place and the current festival director Loet van der Lee also joined the committee. The other committee members are Cees Rot, Dennis Thompson II and Marc Paelinck.

With the arrival of Van der Lee, starting in 2012 the festival was transformed from a national event into an international event. Under the new name "International Big Band Competition" the quality of the festival was further improved in 2012 and 2013: more suitable concert locations, longer performance times and more professional management and presentation and a higher value of the prizes.

In order to make this possible, the number of participating bands has been reduced to 12. The number of foreign bands that are contacted increases each year, and now one third of the participating bands comes from across the border. The international 'chairman' of the jury is introduced: a prominent person from the international jazz scene with feeling for the big band tradition.

In 2014, maintaining quality on all fronts, the number of participants was extended to 15 bands and on the 20th anniversary of the IBBC in 2016 the number of participants will further increase to 20 participating bands, eight jurors and four podiums. This will make the International Big Band Competition the largest in Western Europe. The competition remains an event for amateur musician.

The International Big Band Competition is part of the Corendon More Jazz Festival and is a unique jewel in the Haarlemmermeer and an event of which all inhabitants of the Netherlands and especially of the Haarlemmermeer can be proud.