Jazz North has been awarded a grant of £71,646 from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring fund to curate, produce and tour Alt Shift J, a one day pop-up jazz festival aimed at developing younger audiences for jazz. The festival will present new artists and use digital technology to encourage more young people to experience jazz music both as participants and audience members. Accompanied by an extensive audience engagement programme, the project will involve young people in programming the festival and will aim to inspire and engage individuals and families who may not usually access the arts. The award was one of 8 Strategic Touring grants announced earlier this week.
Jazz North Alt Shift J will tour to Clitheroe, Cleethorpes, Penrith and Middlesbrough in Autumn 2018 and over the course of the project will:
- Present 16 performances by extraordinary jazz artists, selected by a network of 8 local young scenebuilders
- Deliver 24 interactive performances in local primary and secondary schools alongside a programme of workshops and participatory activities in each community
- Stream each festival live to a worldwide audience
Partners on the project include The Culture House, Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues, Blue Jam Arts and Middlesbrough Town Hall.
Welcoming the grant, Lesley Jackson, Executive Director of Jazz North said: “We are really thrilled that Arts Council England is supporting this project: one that will help us to develop the next generation of jazz listeners. This investment will build on their support for the sector in recent years”
She continued “The way that young people engage with music is changing. Alt Shift J will give us the opportunity to redefine the genre and the word ‘jazz’, which often comes with its own baggage, and will break down some of the barriers that currently exist. Developing younger audiences isn’t just about more and better marketing, so we will explore new ways to connect with them. The chance to use digital technology and work with promoters more closely will release the potential of this amazing music to reach more people and connect young audiences to their local venue.”
Pete Massey, Director North, Arts Council England said “I’m delighted that we are able to support Jazz North to encourage more young people to enjoy jazz music – both by taking part and as part of the audience. The ALT SHIFT J initiative, funded through our Strategic Touring fund, promises to introduce a whole new generation to an art form that deserves wider attention.”