The Festival das Artes Quebra Jazz emerged from the combination of two distinct events. Miguel Lima, director of the festival, told The Portugal News that in 2012 he was already organising QuebraJazz, on the Quebra Costas steps, between Alta and Baixa de Coimbra. In 2019, Miguel Lima received the invitation to partner and accepted to direct the festival as it is now known.
The Festival das Artes comes from the idea “of landscape architect Cristina Castelo Branco”, who built an amphitheatre at Quinta das Lágrimas. Over time, “the architect dreamed up the idea of creating a multi-arts festival”, where there was not only music but also conferences, gastronomy and literature, for example.
Right when the partnership was consolidated, the world had the misfortune to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, despite all the restrictions, in 2020 it was possible to hold a special concert, dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Bernardo Sassetti. Although it could not be performed on the Quebra Costas staircase, in 2021 it was also possible to receive some artists.
After two years without being able to hold the festival in full, Miguel Lima admits that “it requires great motivation”, however with the happiness of being able to return “to normal.” In 2022, the population had the opportunity to leave the city of Coimbra and see a concert at the castle of Montemor-o-Velho, as well as another one in Coimbra, where the famous Zeca Afonso was rehearsing.
The festival, for now, had its biggest attendance on 18 July. About “1,100 people” were present to see a gospel group, which made the whole audience vibrate on a day when the capacity was practically fully occupied. QuebraJazz has free admission and takes place in an area of tourist activity, as well as several establishments that welcome the event “with open arms”, according to Miguel Lima. As it has free admission, the festival director admits that it is difficult to “quantify the people” who go to the festival but estimates that between 400 and 600 people attended in the first days of the festival.
During the next edition, Miguel Lima revealed to The Portugal News that one of the concerts will take place in the ruins of Conímbriga, as well as a desire to return to the castle of Montemor-o-Velho.