Simona Maxim – backstage interview about SJF

Sibiu Jazz Festival is one of the most important international events. What are the secrets, how has this concept developed and how is this festival seen?

Simona Maxim, General Manager of Sibiu Jazz Festival tells us more about the event. We do not know much about the evolution, the history or the sacrifices made by those who organized this festival. Let’s see what the magic behind the scenes is!

Can you tell us how one of your days before the event looks like?

The day begins with a large cup of herbal tea. A small moment of relaxation that gives me the strength I need to solve a long list of problems. I seldom go straight to the office to solve urgent matters, without indulging in my guilty pleasure. So a cup of tea, a brief episode of hydrotherapy, or a walk with my dog in the cool air of the morning prepares me for the avalanche of problems I have to solve. I work sometimes from morning till night, with small breaks.

Can you tell us how is Sibiu Jazz Festival different from the rest of other similar events?

I think each jazz festival has its own uniqueness. At its 48th edition, SJF is the longest-running jazz festival in the country. There are few jazz festivals in the world that can boast of such an age when the history of this musical genre barely exceeds a century of existence.

At the same time, SJF is the only jazz festival in Romania that has been included in the list of the most important jazz festivals in Europe and was presented at the Berlin Tourism Fair 2017 within the Jazz Across Europe project.

SJF is the only jazz festival in Romania, a permanent member of Europe Jazz Network since 2005 until now. The EJN is the most important organization of jazz promoters in Europe with 123 members from 35 countries.

I can say that SJF has also benefited because of the beauty of the city, which attracts many tourists, not just from the country. For example, it is almost impossible now to find accommodation in the central area of the city, especially as we approach the festival.

I saw you have special activities for the little ones. Tell us a bit about them, please.

It is the third edition of the JAZZ FOR KIDS project, which is a related event of the Festival. This year we set out to bring children closer to the music, the main theme being percussion.

They will be introduced to the world of jazz and music by the percussionist Andrei Marcovici, who will be joined by other musicians, performing at the festival. Children will be divided in groups by age, to work more easily. To access the detailed program and other information, please visit:

How is it to work in such a multi-cultural environment?

It’s very exciting. As a project manager I supervise all departments, and I often get involved personally to help my team.

What can you tell us about the artistic program of this edition?

The artistic program of this edition was conceived and performed by our artistic director Mr. Konstantin Schmidt, a founding member of the SJF, and who, in difficult moments, managed, with a huge effort, to keep this festival alive.

The program abounds in projects presented for the first time in Romania. Those who want to see and hear artists they have never seen live in our country, I recommend that they do not miss any edition of the SJF!

The festival was very successful in the 1970s and 1980s. Subsequently, the transition period has brought many challenges. A glorious moment was the 2007 edition, when Sibiu was declared, along with Luxembourg, the European Capital of Culture. In that year, the SJF benefited from a high budget, which materialized in a rich artistic program.

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