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Open Call for Irish Musicians! IMC want to showcase your music at jazzahead!

The world’s biggest industry event for jazz and improvised music takes place in April, in Bremen, Germany & Improvised Music Company will be representing Irish jazz musicians in multiple ways at this important event. Read on to see how you can directly be a part of this showcase through our VR showcasing platform and Irish jazz audio playlist. Unfamiliar with jazzahead!? Click here to find out more about this event.

What is jazzahead!?

Jazzahead! is one of the worlds largest showcase festivals and industry trade fairs.

It is now one of the most important international professional markets for jazz and improvised music of all persuasions. The four-day event attracts more than 3,200 industry attendees from over 55 countries, including hundreds of concert and festival bookers, labels, publishers, distributors, managers and the world's media all in one place. This year’s conference is taking place from 25-28 April 2019 in Bremen, Germany.

For the past 4 years, Improvised Music Company has sought to increase Ireland’s exposure of its jazz talent at jazzahead! Working directly with Culture Ireland and their export arm Music From Ireland, we are now in our 3rd year of sending Irish agents and artists directly to jazzahead! to attend & network with industry leaders, influencers and their peers, and most importantly, to generate work for themselves abroad.

Last year IMC and Creative Scotland jointly led a Celtic Connections styled stand highlighting the best Irish and Scottish jazz and improvising musicians from our respective countries. Following on the success of 2018, this has expanded and the collective now includes all the home nations (England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) for jazzahead! 2019. This collaborative approach allows us to make our voices stronger as we promote your music to the international market and we want you all to be involved.

What can IMC do for YOU at jazzahead! this year?

While this year we have 6 delegates attending the event, chosen from Culture Ireland's national call out, we want to make the most of this opportunity to put Irish artists in front of international bookers. No Irish artist has performed at the official showcases to date but we want that to change. A performance at jazzahead! is an important step to generating sustainable work across Europe and further afield.

Therefore we have decided to use our defined presence at jazzahead! to highlight Irish artists in other ways, with a view of building towards more in the future.

Last year, in association with Jazz From Scotland we debuted Virtual Reality Showcasing at our booth and it was a tremendous success, not least for the novelty of the presentation method but, more importantly, because it left a lasting impression of the showcased Irish jazz artists in bookers minds. We know that it takes consolidated work to make a dent in the European market and bookings don’t happen overnight. However, IMC is committed to increasing Irish artists exposure at events such as these using innovative showcasing methods and direct follow up with all agents and bookers after the event.

VR - Showcasing for the 21st Century

Frank Bolder from North Sea Jazz Festival watching Mathematicaster by Umbra at jazzahead! 2018.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could showcase 15 bands at one of the world's leading industry showcases? But, imagine the cost of hosting a live showcase of that size. The travel, accommodation, the staging, the PA, the backline, the lights. You get the picture! It would be astronomical. And, we might not even get all of the key programmers to turn up!

That’s where VR Showcasing comes in.

Last year, Improvised Music Company & Jazz From Scotland each debuted over 30 bands in Virtual Reality, a first for jazzahead!. With over 3200 jazz programmers, bookers, labels, agents and journalists in attendance, the goal was to have “a captive audience of one”.

Our VR headsets and noise cancelling headphones gave these delegates a completely unique experience, immersing them into a pseudo-live environment to hear and see the musicians without any distractions. See their reactions in the short video above!

VR Showcase Plans for 2019 - What it can DO for YOU

This year we will again create a unique showcasing experience using Virtual Reality and we want YOU to be involved. We know that listening to or looking at an artist in VR is no substitute for the real ‘full-on’ LIVE experience, but it is certainly the next best thing. And it is an environment we can control. We control what they see & what they hear. We’ll also have information about your band on hand once their interest is piqued. The goal of using VR tech is to enhance exposure and entice programmers to check out more of your music. We will make sure they walk away with your website and social media platforms.

Nothing can replace the live experience and we are certainly not trying to do that. We just want to physically put YOUR music in front of people who programme LIVE music around the world. Programmers cannot visit every jazz club and check out every up and coming band. And they often don’t have time to fully check out the content of emails sent etc. We just need to turn the head of one influential programmer and leave them wanting more of your music.

How can I get involved?

We’re glad you asked! We are now seeking bands and individual musicians to submit their video content ahead of jazzahead! in April 2019 and to take part in one of the most established events in the international jazz calendar. If you think your band or project are ready for export and actively seeking out bookings outside of Ireland, then please fill out the form here.

We are also putting together a playlist of the best jazz tracks from around the country that will be shared with everyone we meet at jazzahead! If you’d like to have your track added to the playlist, then please fill out the form here.

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