During the early years of the festival, jazz events were organised at numerous places in Maribor (for example, at Satchmo Jazz Club). In 2004 all events were moved to the premises of Narodni dom Maribor and have only recently returned to the club environment of Satchmo.
Since its beginnings the festival has also included documentary films and occasional workshops, jam sessions and exhibitions (for example, Searching for the Sound-Off, an exhibition of Slovene music photography curated by well-known Slovene jazz photographer Žiga Koritnik).
The festival programme attracts both local audiences and also specialised audiences from all parts of Slovenia and neighbouring cities (Graz, Zagreb, etc). The festival has been supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Maribor as well as by several embassies (Germany, Canada, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, the USA and Australia) and international agencies and foundations such as British Council Slovenia, Pro Helvetia, Goethe-Institut Ljubljana, and other occasional sponsors.
Till now, the Izzven Festival has hosted a varied palette of performers from at least 5 continents. Alongside Afro-American jazz traditions (with a special eye for fusion tinged jazz) the festival focuses on European jazz developments and also on quality world-music productions. The programme (among others) presented Little Axe, The Vandermark 5, The Ruins, Joe McPhee trio, Peter Broetzmann, Nels Cline, Hamid Drake and Assif Tsahar, Doug Wimbish & Will Calhoun, Youngblood Brass Band, the avant hip-hop musician Daelek, Koch-Schütz-Studer with Hardcore Chambermusic, Joey Baron, Kammerflimmer kollektief, Sex Mob, Vijay Iyer, Ginger Baker, Arto Lindsay, Jon Balke and Slovene artists Bratko Bibič & The Madleys, Lolita, Melodrom, Samo Šalamon New Quartet, and Jure Pukl.
Perhaps the festival concept is best described by Ken Vandermark, Chicago's best-known saxophone player and arguably one of the best saxophonists in the world, who was the youngest recipient of the highly-acclaimed McArthur Genius Award (until now received by only four musicians in the history of jazz):
"The Izzven Festival represents the direction I'd like to see music festivals take in our time. Through integrating various 'genres' and putting music that uses different methods and materials side by side (instead of only programming music from a certain 'category'), this festival gives the audience an opportunity to make its own connections between what it hears. Based on my experiences, all good music is tied together, it crosses cultural and stylistic boundaries, and I believe it's time for music to be experienced this way in performance. During its ongoing history, this is what the Izzven Festival has done. There are few music festivals like it in the world, and it indicates a better way for music to be presented and experienced: without borders."