NEWS: Jazz Promotion Network elects new board at 2016 AGM / Planning Conference

The new JPN board: L-R: Emily Jones, Amy Sibley-Allen, John Blandford,
Steve Mead, Barney Stevenson, Amy Pearce, Tony Dudley-Evans, Nod Knowles
Absent: Dave Morecroft, 

The Jazz Promotion Network (JPN) held its first AGM and Planning Conference 2016 at Birmingham City University, yesterday, 14th April 2016. Mary James, who is a member of the JPN, attended.She writes:

Tony Dudley Evans gave the Chair's report which started with the successes to date - a well-attended first conference in 2014, charitable status, 80 members as at today's date, regional meetings across Scotland and England, an approach from Dutch Performing Arts to fund a research project into the potential of Dutch artists gigging in the UK and Ireland, and participation in the preparations of Jazz UK for Jazzahead.

There have been setbacks, principally the failure to obtain long term funding from ACE for a large consortium to run an international showcase. Efforts to persuade the PRSF to continue the Jazz Promoters Awards Scheme have not borne fruit yet. The Board will continue to apply for funding for key projects.

Tony Dudley-Evans gave an overview of the current jazz scene which is looking healthy. There are 3 UK bands performing at Jazzahead. And the stereo-typical view of the typical jazz fan as male, middle-aged and single is changing. There does not appear to be a national strategy for jazz and he expressed a hope that the JPN could be a catalyst in this.

Membership subscriptions will be issued shortly and the Board will consider ways in which the JPN can increase its income over and above subscriptions.

Nine candidates stood for election to the board and the day's Chair, Nod Knowles, asked for a majority approval of all nine candidates. Following a show of hands, the following members were elected to serve on the Board for three years, with one third retiring after one year and subsequent years.

John Blandford (Cambridge Modern Jazz) 
Tony Dudley Evans (Jazzlines) 
Emily Jones (Cheltenham Jazz Festival) 
Nod Knowles (Bath) 
Steve Mead (Manchester Jazz Festival) 
Dave Morecroft (Match & Fuse) 
Amy Pearce (Serious/EFG London Jazz Festival) 
Amy Sibley-Allen (Kings Place) 
Barney Stevenson (Marsden Jazz Festival)

There was an open discussion on ideas for the future vision and strategies with a request for the JPN to help "join up the dots" in the tour booking process which was time consuming and difficult for artists. There were a number of comments about the ACE funding for jazz and the need to look beyond ACE for funding.

In the afternoon there where two presentations of academic research. Dr Emma Webster (@festival_impact) of the University of East Anglia presented her research called "The Impact of Festivals Project" which involved a number of outputs including a journal article on the impact of jazz festivals and research into the archives of the London Jazz Festival. The latter will result in a critical history of this festival with analysis of the impact of immigration, changes to the political infrastructure and state funding. There will be a complete database of all artists and gigs over the past 25 years of London Jazz Festival. Then Professor Tony Whyton, of Birmingham City University, presented his research as part of the CHIME Project (@CHIMEproject) which explores the uses and re-uses of different types of heritage through the study of jazz and improvised music festivals, and examines how changing relationships between music, festivals and cultural heritage sites renegotiate established understandings and uses of heritage. He gave the example of how Jazz Fest Sarajevo was designed to offer a glimpse of an alternative future.

The conference ended with a short review of progress on the work of discussion groups since last year. Jez Matthews is keen to take forward a proposal to promote young bands. Nod Knowles updated the meeting on the Dutch Jazz programme for which JPN has received funding to showcase Dutch artists in the UK. Tony Dudley Evans outlined a project to enable international artists to tour the UK but there has not been much interest in this, with a comment that the legacy of a top-down approach needed to be considered.

In the evening members were invited to a reception as part of the Rhythm Changes "Jazz Utopia" Conference.

Mary James, who lives in Gloucestershire, is an artist manager and member of the Jazz Promotion Network. Twitter @maryleamington

LINKS: More information about JPN
JPN welcomes new members