Jazztube’s Thomas Kimmerle in Interview

My ‘go-to’ Man for all things Jazz is Thomas Kimmerle.  Aside from being a wizard of the saxophone with his own 5tet and playing in the Bonn Jazz Orchestra, Managing the Aloisiuskolleg Big Band, leading the Bonn Jazz Youth Orchestra and running the website jazzinconcert.com, Thomas also finds the time (phew!) to put together the JazzTube Festival.  Bonn locals will be familiar with the sound of Jazz wafting out from local stations from late August.  JazzTube has clearly caught the imagination of the public in the eight years since Kimmerle and Stadtwerke Bonn began the venture.  Here, Thomas gives his view on the coming JazzTube Season that starts on Friday (23 August)

It’s that time of the year again Thomas.  What are your thoughts on this years JT?

First of all, I am very grateful that the Stadtwerke Bonn support the JazzTube Festival Bonn.  Without this commitment, it would not be possible and Bonn would lack a truly extraordinary musical festival format.

Thomas Kimmerle (right) with Albert N’sanda and Waldeck Leczkowski who opened the JazzTube 2019 season with a Stadtgarten show recently.

The atmosphere in the stations is great and offers the musicians the opportunity of an extraordinary presentation. The managing director of SWB Bus und Bahn, Anja Wenmakers, was spot on when she said:

“With this kind of street music at the highest level, we want to make underground stations a new experience as public places, give artists a platform on which they can present themselves to a broad audience, and bring rhythm into the clocked life of after-work traffic.”

This festival has been around for 8 years now and the popularity of the festival is growing all the time. But also for the many musicians, it is a big gain and the desire to participate is unbroken.  My big wish is to celebrate the 10th anniversary in 2021!

Roughly from how many bands/musicians did you have to make your final choice?

I can’t really say. I get applications all year round. Even now, although the festival is just starting, applications for 2020 are being received. I have never counted the number, but there are many.

Ultimately, I don’t just choose from the applications, but also go on my own search, or make notes when I discover a band over the year that could be interesting for the next festival.

Working together has been a key to creating a strong and cohesive young music scene in Bonn. Here Thomas shares the stage with Bonn’s Rock and Pop Representative Hans Joachim Over

How did you choose who would appear?

It’s important to me to involve the local music scene as much as possible, so, first of all, I pay attention to these bands. But it is important that the local scene also gets impulses from outside. And so the audience gets a good mixture of local bands and bands from the wider region.  Furthermore, the still young talents are very popular and always find a big supporter in the JazzTube Festival, i.e. the Stadtwerke and me. I used to be a young musician myself and I know how important that is.

Ultimately, however, the musical quality is also decisive. I try to create a program that is as varied as possible. After all, I primarily do the programme for the music-loving citizens of Bonn and, as we all know, the tastes are very different.

Also with the “special events” like the concerts in the context of the Stadtgartenkonzerte at the Alter Zoll and on the additional days in the Pantheon Theater, I would like to work as lastingly as possible and present bands/musicians from the region or former participants of the festival again and again.

By the way, many thanks also to Hans Joachim Over from the Kulturamt der Stadt Bonn, who makes this possible at the Alter Zoll! This solidarity with the Bonn-based cultural scene is very important to us!

JazzTube atmosphere – Starke and Gorter at Uni-Markt station

Are there any changes from the structure of previous years?  If so why

No, there are currently no changes.

There will be the 2 special events within the framework of the Stadtgartenkonzerte, then the 15 concerts in the underground stations and finally the great 3-day finale in the Pantheon Theater with the winners of the voting and regional, national and international top acts.

Thiago Gois Band at Museumsmeile Station

What part does the voting play in the Festival’s success?

The Voting is still a very special feature of the festival and also offers the audience and fans the opportunity to actively participate in shaping “your” festival.

As every year, fans and audiences are invited to vote for their three favourites. Over the duration of the underground concerts (23 August to 22 September 2019), fans can rate their artists via SMS. The three bands with the highest approval ratings will play at the Pantheon Theater Bonn on Friday, 11 October 2019.

For me, it’s always exciting to see who finally wins the race and plays on the evening of the voting winners in the Pantheon Theater. So far, the audience has always provided a wonderful and varied choice. That will also be the case this year, I’m sure.

The citizens of Bonn can enjoy a total of 23 concerts on 10 event days with the participation of approx. 80 artists from trio to big band.

What will be the personal highlights for you this year?

I think I should stay neutral regarding voting! Of course, I also have my personal preferences, but I would like to keep them to myself at this point.  Without wanting to make a musical assessment, I think it’s great that the whole festival will end this year with a BIG BAND in the Pantheon Theater.

How can visitors to Bonn, especially English speaking visitors, find out what’s happening over the coming weeks?

All information about the bands and the dates can be found on our homepage and of course also in English. Tickets for the events in the Pantheon Theater are already available at all advance booking offices.

The Stadtwerke Bonn and I cordially invite you to take part in this musical journey through the underground stations and celebrate the great finale in the Pantheon Theater with us!

Thank you very much!

Here are the opening band’s on Friday and their locations/Times:




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