Improvisation and chance. Upending mental habituality. These are frequently the aims of free music and jazz in general, but we don’t often experience such states as an innate part of a festival scene. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, with its 51st edition, the Moers Festival (not far from Cologne) rejects the ingrained routines often associated with seniority. Was this a deliberate strategy? The city’s music school customarily houses the renowned Moers Sessions, where surprise improvising groups are assembled, but in 2022 it became the festival’s new organisational hub, scattered with installations, and hosting a new stage named Annex.