Skip to main content
Jazzahead pink background 575 336 28229

Bursaries for Jazzahead Digital Trade Fair

Improvised Music Company invites Irish and Irish-based jazz musicians, managers, members of resources organisations or companies to apply for Culture Ireland-sponsored bursaries to attend the jazzahead! digital trade fair in April 2021. Please read the information carefully before applying through the form below, by Monday 22nd March 2021.

What is jazzahead! digital?

Jazzahead! is one of the world’s largest showcase festivals and industry trade fairs.

The event attracts more than 3,200 industry attendees from over 55 countries, including hundreds of concert and festival bookers, labels, publishers, distributors, artists, managers and the world's media all in one place.

In 2021 jazzahead! is taking place online from Thursday 29th April - Sunday 2nd May.

For the digital edition of jazzahead! participants will have access to:

  • 1:1 Networking/Match-making sessions based on profiles/interests or previous arrangement
  • 1:1 speed-dating to quickly connect with random other participants
  • Panel sessions on a wide range of topics, with the option to interact with presenters via chat etc.
  • Break-out rooms after panel sessions, mirroring the post-conference foyer chat
  • Live-streaming and on-demand access to Showcase concerts
  • A list of contact details for all other participants who agree to publication

Culture Ireland generously supports the Irish delegation at jazzahead!, including covering the cost of registration for 9 Irish jazz industry members to attend the digital event.

Who should apply?

Irish or Irish-based jazz musicians, managers, members of resources organisations or companies who either:

  • Have work ready which is suitable for international presentation (an album, tour, single)
  • Have established an international presence in the past which they wish to expand or follow up on
  • Have aims and concrete plans to create an international presence

You will need to have ready or accessible:

  • A strong plan or pitch - good copy which immediately conveys a project, album etc. which will be interesting to international bookers.
  • Good-quality digital assets which give a strong sense of your work - e.g. good-quality video, professional recordings available on different digital platforms, promotional photos/branding, a strong and up-to-date website and/or mailing list as well as up-to-date social media profiles.
  • Some time available to put into researching attendees at jazzahead!, and the best people to pitch your work to.

IMC can assist with refining copy, pitches etc. in advance of jazzahead!, but certain assets like video, recordings and imagery will need to be available. At the conference, you will need to be able to provide a quick and memorable impression of your music to contacts, and follow-up with quality samples of your work.

If you are unsure whether you have the necessary material available, or feel you don’t, feel free to email us with questions, or check out our Resources section which offers tips on building your audience, creating an EPK, and distributing your music most effectively.

Jazzahead! is best suited to artists with a certain amount of experience who are ready to expand their careers outside of Ireland. It may fit with your career better to defer applying this year and instead work on creating a strong portfolio of assets to represent your work. Opportunities will be there to attend jazzahead! in future years, hopefully in the flesh, when your pitches stand a better chance at being heard - a strong first impression is always worth aiming for!

Irish delegation at jazzahead!

For the past number of years, Improvised Music Company has sought to increase Ireland’s exposure of its jazz talent at jazzahead! Working directly with Culture Ireland, we are now in our 4th year of bringing Irish artists and agents directly to jazzahead! to attend & network with industry leaders, influencers and their peers, and, most importantly, to provide work generation opportunities for themselves abroad.

This year things are different. The world is still dealing with a pandemic which forced the cancellation of jazzahead! in 2020 and, rather than postpone for another year, the event will combine all of the digital skills we have learned over this highly unusual year to present a special event online.

We view this year's digital event as a particularly good opportunity because online spaces are democratic and everyone is represented equally.

As part of the 2021 Irish delegation we are looking for artists, managers, members of resource organisations and companies who have a track record of achievement in the contemporary jazz genre. Experience of touring internationally, the availability of excellent promotional material, and a clear demonstration of the benefits of your attendance at jazzahead! is also essential. Previous recipients of Culture Ireland bursaries to attend jazzahead! are still eligible to apply.

Why is jazzahead! valuable?

Networking and speed-dating sessions will give artists the undivided attention of another industry member for a period of time, perfect for pitching interesting projects to international bookers and developing sustainable work abroad.

A list of participant contact details will be compiled and available to all those who share their own details - this will be an invaluable way to follow up or create future contacts with other industry members.

After the Trade Fair, jazzahead! will continue with further virtual sessions later in the year, which may be an invaluable opportunity to follow up on contacts made during the conference.

Break-out rooms after panel sessions will capture the same sense of bumping into people during the trade fair, but it may be even easier to make connections and talk to people in the relative quiet of a Zoom room.

Access to the Showcase concerts can be an invaluable way of finding potential international collaborators, who can be contacted via the participant list or networking sessions.

IMC’s This Is Irish Jazz panel will spotlight Irish jazz and present Irish artists to interested international parties.

Preparing for jazzahead!

Jazzahead! is best suited to artists with strong projects which are ready for export. IMC and Culture Ireland will work with artists beforehand to assist in preparing good pitches and assets.

Researching the best connections to make before attending will hugely benefit your experience at jazzahead!

In previous years, IMC has promoted Irish artists at jazzahead! through a wide range of playlists, videos and artist profiles. IMC will host assets highlighting the quality of Irish jazz on our website during the trade fair, and continue to promote artists to European connections year-round, following up from jazzahead! and via our connections with networks such as Europe Jazz Network and Jazz Promotion Network.


The Irish delegation at jazzahead! is generously supported by Culture Ireland.

Don’t miss out!

Subscribe to the IMC newsletter to keep up with the latest in Irish Jazz.

Sign up

Help us hold that note

Help support artists, and make the musical world in Ireland a richer place.