jazzahead! 2017 – Musician Reports

Jazzahead 2017: A report by Joe Williamson

My visit to Jazzahead was a very valuable experience, as it gave me the opportunity to meet with festival and club promoters, managers, label owners and artists from across Europe, all working in the field of contemporary jazz. Initially, the trade fair was quite daunting – there were hundreds of people there from all over Europe, so it took some time to find my feet. The Jazz From Scotland team were very helpful, explaining how it all works, introducing me to important people and giving advice on how to approach promoters and managers when introducing my band. 

The main thing I took away from the experience was a good list of new contacts, both in the UK and across Europe. I followed up these initial meetings with emails further introducing myself and my band, Square One. It seemed that meeting these people was the first step in a long game – though these promoters/managers/labels may not offer me a gig immediately, I’ve met them, and they’ll remember me in future. I do have a possible gig in Austria pencilled in 2019 as a result of a meeting at Jazzahead. It was a thoroughly worthwhile experience, made all the more valuable by the advice and guidance given by the team at Jazz From Scotland.


Jazzahead 2017: A report by Brodie Jarvie

It was a great pleasure to be invited to Jazzahead this year with the help of Jazz from Scotland, Glasgow Jazz Festival and Creative Scotland. My general impression of the conference was good with a huge breadth of information to digest and get involved with. It was great to have so many people from all across the world talking about Jazz in the same room at one time.

The Scottish personnel whom we were with were very helpful in providing introductions for me to different people (festival organisers, promoters). Personally, it worked best for me to just have a little guidance and then have the freedom to roam and make my own meetings and explore the conference on my own, so in this way it worked perfect for me.

I went with the goal to speak to as many suitable record labels as possible as I have an album waiting to be mixed and released. I managed to follow up on a few of these suitable ones and am in talks to see if we can make something work towards the end of the year. I was also able to formally meet some Dutch promoters that even in two years in Amsterdam I never had the chance to, so it was helpful for both parties to put names to faces. 

This was definitely worthwhile for me to attend, I feel like I am able to move my own project further now with the making of the album and with a few contacts at festivals in Europe (a lot of these were easier to do as I had at least a few friends in common with some of the smaller festivals from people I know in Amsterdam) 

My only criticisms would be that a lot of people were asking about how they can play in Scotland (I know we weren’t there in a booking capacity) but it could be something to consider. Another small observation is that it would be nice to be playing the Scottish artists’ music as people walk past the stand. It seems a shame to make the sound cloud playlist and give people the download cards without at least letting them hear a taste of what is being offered.


NB:  In reply to Brodie’s last comment, there are strict rules about playing music in the conference hall as otherwise everyone would do so and no one would be able to hear anything.  Headphones were available if folk wanted to listen at the time.