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mœrs festival is an international music festival that annually takes place on the Whitsun weekend in Moers in the Lower Rhine region. In 1972 it was founded as the “International New Jazz Festival”. For 49 issues the mœrs festival has been standing for all forms of music, that are not “mainstream” – improvisation, New Jazz, World, Avantgard, contemporary music, minimal music, sound art, Drone, Electro… it’s a niche for everything, which you can’t find in mass media – the stage is for the unheard.

For four years the artistic director Tim Isfort and his team have been going new ways. In 2014 the festival hall was established. Concerts no longer take place exclusively in this venue, but rather at several locations throughout the city of Moers, at the park and the newly-created festival village in front of the hall. The festival hall accommodates 1.700 spectators, the other venues offer space for 500, smaller ones for up to 50 viewers.

The city of Moers has roughly 100.000 inhabitants. With that number it used to be the “smallest metropolis” in Germany, close to the borders of the Netherlands and the Ruhr area, a traditional region of industry and mining. This region is on the point of structural change. Here, different cultures have always lived together, which causes an open-minded and interested audience to come to the festival.

Musicians from the whole world and from all continents are guest artists at mœrs festival. During the 48th festival approximately 250 musicians from 26 countries covered the county town in 130 concerts, sessions, discussions und parties with unpredictable, newly created and multicultural sounds over four days .

In 2018 there were 450 musicians from 22 countries and 5 continents. Next to the 27 concerts at the festival hall, about 106 concerts and performances took place throughout the city.

“There is no comparison for mœrs festival around the globe. It’s a border-crosser-festival that doesn’t fit the usual stencils and this it what makes it so unique. We can’t score with big names, but instead try to interest and wake up 3-4 generations with the fee budget we have. The power of mœrs festival consists of the fact that we are unpredictable. We are everything but mainstream – there is a lot to discover!” (Tim Isfort)

Thanks to Kunststiftung NRW, it is possible to have an improviser in residence connected to mœrs festival. The improvisor is a “town musician” who lives and works for one year in Moers and represents a connecting link between the festival and the city.

The 50th mœrs festival takes place from May 21st to May 24th, 2021.