North Sea Jazz Festival is a yearly jazz festival held in Ahoy of Netherlands initiated by Paul Acket, a business tycoon and a jazz lover after he earned a fortune in the 19th century through his pop magazine publishing company. His desire to make people aware of Jazz music made him sell his company in 1975 to sponsor the North Sea Jazz Festival.
The first ever North Sea Jazz Festival took place in 1976 lasting for three days became an instant hit with six stages, thirty hours of non-stop music and performance by over 300 people attracting more than 9000 visitors including renowned Jazz personalities such as Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz.
North Sea Jazz Festival presents the Bird Awards since 1985 which were originally awarded in the Bird Award International category, the Bird Award Netherlands category and the Bird Award Special Appreciation category, but from 2001, the awards are given away only in one category to beginners who are worthy of recognition.
North Sea Jazz Festival takes place in Ahoy of Netherlands during the second week of July. Earlier until 2006, this fest took place in The Hague, Rotterdam.