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IMC & Music From Ireland represent Irish jazz at jazzahead! & debut VR showcasing

IMC & Music From Ireland represent Irish jazz at the international jazzahead! Conference, debuting VR showcasing in association with Jazz From Scotland

In 2018, in Bremen, Germany, one of the most anticipated industry events of the year: jazzahead!, took place. IMC along with Music from Ireland (with support from Culture Ireland) joined forces with Jazz from Scotland to represent and promote Irish and Scottish jazz together.

Jazz from Scotland and IMC shared a stand at this year’s jazzahead, working together to promote ‘Jazz From Scotland and Ireland’ to European promoters, increasing visibility and recognition for the key festivals, organisations and of course, artists, from both of our culturally rich countries.

In addition to a much larger presence due to this collaboration, this year IMC debuted over 30 Irish and Scottish bands in Virtual Reality, a first for jazzahead!. IMC and Jazz from Scotland used this opportunity to premiere our Virtual Reality Showcases, which allows the important figures in attendance at this conference to fully experience the music and performances. With over 3200 jazz programmers, bookers, labels, agents and journalists from across the world in attendance, the goal was to create "a captive audience of one".

IMC’s Artistic Director, Kenneth Killeen said “We wanted create an impact at this international jazz trade fair. It’s such an important annual event. However, it’s often difficult to distinguish oneself due to the sheer volume of activity and number of countries represented. So, we adopted a novel approach to showcasing Irish and Scottish talent by using VR headsets while reducing our carbon footprint. We simulated Irish & Scottish artists performing in a cinema environment looking at a 40 foot wide cinema screen and used noise cancelling headphones to immersive the viewer completely in this environment. It really augmented the performances while giving these professionals a completely unique view of jazz and improvised music from Ireland and Scotland”.

This large impact was complemented by the presence of some key delegates from the Irish and Scottish Jazz scenes. Thanks to Culture Ireland, 5 bursaries were granted in 2018 for musicians, promoters, and label representatives from across Ireland to attend and represent Irish jazz abroad. We are confident that our presentation as a whole at jazzahead has accomplished what we set out to do: to create a strong and lasting impact in the European jazz industry for Irish and Scottish jazz as a brand.

This collaborative stand for joined representation was a great success for promoting Irish and Scottish jazz abroad, giving the Irish and Scottish jazz scenes respectively a huge boost at one of the industry's biggest conferences and showcases. Music From Ireland and Jazz from Scotland look forward to more successful appearances at jazzahead in the years to come.

With thanks to the support of the respective agencies of Creative Scotland, Culture Ireland and the Irish Arts Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for their support.

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