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Montavilla Jazz Festival Artist Application

The 2024 Montavilla Jazz Festival Artist Application will open at Noon on Friday, November 17, 2023. The deadline for applications is 11:59 PM on Wednesday, January 31, 2024.

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Guidelines for applicants

Thank you for your interest in applying to perform at the 2024 Montavilla Jazz Festival. With our newly revamped Artist Application, we aim to provide an accessible, equitable, and transparent process for artists in our community to participate in Montavilla Jazz Festival. We hope to improve the process every year, and welcome your feedback. 

The 2024 Montavilla Jazz Festival Artist Application will open at Noon on Friday, November 17, 2023.

The deadline for applications is 11:59 PM on Wednesday, January 31, 2024.

Applicants will be notified of the results of the Panel Review Process and subsequent artist selections no later than Friday, March 29, 2024.

The 2024 Montavilla Jazz Festival lineup will be announced on Monday, May 20, 2024.

Watch the January 3, 2024 Artist Submission Information Session and Q&A here.

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Montavilla Jazz Festival programming values

The most competitive entries will align with the following Montavilla Jazz programming values:

We serve Portland’s diverse jazz community.

Montavilla Jazz Festival was created explicitly to feature artists who are active in the Portland  jazz scene and who represent a diversity of musical and personal backgrounds. In some cases we feature artists with a strong Portland connection, usually meaning someone who lived in Portland for a significant amount of time and contributed to our jazz scene but may currently live elsewhere.

We prioritize original music.

A proposal featuring original music by the applying artist or members of their band is most competitive. Creative arrangements of music by other composers could be acceptable in a set of mostly original music.  We also value the performance of original music written by Portland artists who are no longer alive who were significant contributors to our community. A set of non-original music (covers), no matter how creatively treated, would not be competitive.

We value excellent craft paired with a creative sensibility.

We are looking for creative music that is performed with great skill. There is no single technical approach that we’re looking for, rather we’re looking for technique that is matched to each artist’s creative vision. The way you perform your music should be as well developed as the musical ideas that you are presenting.

We have a broad view of what jazz can be.

The musical values set in motion by jazz’s Black American originators have spread throughout the world and informed many musical communities in many different ways. Competitive proposals will demonstrate a connection to at least one of the many branches of that tradition. We value a diverse range of stylistic approaches and try to represent a broad cross-section of what’s happening today in jazz.

We value deep creative inquiry.

The most competitive applications will bring together unexpected concepts through music, synthesize ideas across genres or disciplines, and create engaging experiences for our audiences. A set of music that you’ve performed many times before in club settings would be less competitive. We understand that this approach demands more time and expense for the artist. We are open to projects that might require additional support or a longer timeline, including the possibility of programming the proposal on the 2025 festival.

How the process works

Artists will provide written answers to a set of questions as well as a detailed biography and samples of their work. Artists must agree to be willing to be available for all required dates and times. Artists may submit a video application addressing the application questions instead of written answers.

The entries will be reviewed by a panel of local artists who have been MJF lead artists in the past that will make recommendations to Montavilla Jazz Staff. Reviewers will not be eligible to be lead artists on the festival, and will recuse themselves from scoring any application with which they would be a supporting artist. Applications will receive averaged scores so that recusals don’t impact the final rankings.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any artist may apply who is:

  1. A Portland resident or someone who demonstrates a strong connection to the Portland jazz community. Portland-based artists can apply with non-Portland-based collaborators.
  2. Available to perform on the Montavilla Jazz Festival in 2024 (August 30 to September 1, 2024) and willing to make themselves available for promotional activities by arrangement in the weeks preceding the festival, and to sign a contract with Montavilla Jazz. In general, artists are responsible for rehearsing their own ensembles, though some accommodations can be made as needed.
  3. Eighteen years of age or older.

The deadline for applications has passed.

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