It all started because Big Band Tartu has tradition from year 2010 to invite a guest conductor to work with the orchestra at least once a year. After excellent meetings with Estonian musicians Siim Aimla, Raul Sööd and Teet Raik, we also reached to foreign guests - May Peters (2013, Holland / Puerto Rico), Petri Juutilainen (2014, Finland) and Antti Rissanen (2015, Finland).
Antti Rissanen can be called the catalyst for the creation of the festival, because he liked uou cooperation so much, that he wanted to take his orchestra - the Finnish Youth All Star Big Band - to the final concert of our study in Tartu. And if a band of this level comes to visit, of course, an event must be organized to express the joy of both the meeting and the great big band music.
First version of the festival name came at the last minute before Antti's bus left from station. We performed in our concert reggae rhythm tune Happy People written by Antti, which conveyed the desired mood. that's why it's Happy Big Band Weekend. We haven't come up with a better name so far.