Nisville, the Jazzfestival in Serbia

is so much more than jazz
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Jazz festival in Niš, Serbia

Nisville is the name of the annual jazz festival held in Niš, a city the size of Aberdeen in the south of Serbia. Although jazz is the main course on the menu, blues, rock, and reggae provide appetizing starters and occasionally the finishing touch.

So in August, when the temperatures rise to 30० C, it is not just jazz musicians travelling to southern Serbia. Instead, the ten stages of Nisville are populated by an eclectic collection of artists. Yes, big names in the jazz world, like Candy Dulfer and Patty Austin, perform here.


Even if you are completely broke, you can still enjoy the music at Nisville. Access to most venues is free, only for the Earth / Sky stage, where the main acts play; a ticket is required.

At the same time, Nisville is more than just a music festival. As Serbia was not engaged in a bloody civil war long ago, the festival is helping to process the past. Religious tolerance and diversity are a vital part of the program.

The friendly atmosphere is, therefore, all the more uplifting. Furthermore, the security measures are minimal – I saw no security gates and few fences, whilst the police mainly seemed there to enjoy the music.

Serbia festival Nis

Foto Candy Dulfer © vladimir jovanovic aka master

Serbia jazzfestival Nis

Nisville, a family festival

The festival’s venue is a fortress in a park in the centre of Niš. It has good acoustics and benefits from sound insulation due to the fortress wall. Outside, the music is barely audible. Inside, you can converse with your neighbour without getting a sore throat. Overall, it is a friendly place for the young and old alike.

The festival is blissfully commercial-free, and advertising is hardly present. Giga burgers, barbecued on the spot, will set you back 200 dinars (€ 1.50). The size is three times that of a Big Mac, and the taste is, in my view, at least ten times as good.

Tickets Jazzfestival Nashville

The beer is ridiculously cheap. Yet you hardly see any drunks on the premises, even at the neighbouring wine festival, where you can drink unlimited Serbian wines for 500 dinars (€ 3.75) throughout the night.

The tickets are a bargain. 

The tickets can be ordered here.

Practical matters

  • Niš has an international airport serving several European destinations.
  • Train from Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, Niš, can be reached by train. However, the rail network is outdated. The journey will take you about six hours.
  • A good alternative is a bus. In three hours, you reach Niš from Belgrade this way.
  • Serbia does not recognize Kosovo. Therefore it is impossible to enter the country via Kosovo.
  • To travel from Sofia to Nis, click here to find out about options.
  • Transfers from Belgrade can be booked here.
  • Accommodation is generally a lot cheaper than in Western Europe, mind you standards are also lower. Niš also has some affordable, more luxurious alternatives. The word Garni is widely used here. It means that the hotel has no restaurant but sometimes serves breakfast. Click here for the various accommodations in Niš.

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