Lagerman’s Jazzy Return

Former Hultsfred booker Gunnar Lagerman is returning to the music business as programmer of Stockholm Jazz Festival in Sweden.

The 25-year-old event is now owned by Jensen Investment, which bought it from the government-funded Industrial Foundation and songwriters’ organisation at the beginning of the year.

Jensen Investment chief Ingvar Jensen said he paid “a nominal” amount for the event and took on its accumulated debt. He wouldn’t disclose the amount of debt.

Stockholm Jazz, one of the oldest annual festivals in Sweden, has been at the centre of some controversy for a number of years. Some purists feel the “jazz-oriented” content has dwindled as the event has chosen some mainstream acts that are easier to market.

Lagerman said the event, which has had a 600,000 Swedish krona ($72,062) subsidy from the local government, has been selling about 6,500 tickets per day of its 10,000 capacity.

Lagerman said he believes he can sell 2,000 more tickets per day, which would would soon see the event turning a profit.

The festival is spread over several venues across the city, with the main one being on Skeppsholmen, one of the Stockholm islands, which has the city’s harbour as its backdrop.

Skeppsholmen is at the Baltic Sea entrance to Stockholm and is connected to the islands of Blasieholmen and Kastellholmen by bridges.

International acts to have played Sockholm Jazz in the last five years include Steely Dan, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Randy Crawford & Joe Sample, Lee Ritenour, Angie Stone, Bonnie Raitt, Branford Marsalis, Van Morrison, Bobby McFerrin and Herbie Hancock.

The dates for this year’s event are still to be finalized.