Many artists want to know “How do I get booked at the festival?” In order to answer that, we need to explain a bit about how our festival operates. Baltimore Jazz Alliance is the primary organizer of this event, but it really is a community effort. We do not have the budget to present this on our own, especially as a free event, and anyway; additionally, we are not really in the business of presenting — we are in the business of building partnerships and bringing together different parts of the local jazz community to develop something that serves us all. For both those reasons, we depend on our sponsors not only to help fund the event, but to help drive it in terms of lineup and character. We partner with venue owners, presenters, and other organizations to bring all their ideas together and make something that truly represents Baltimore. That means that BJA doesn’t decide who plays, and there is no booking committee nor single deciding body. We do provide oversight to try to ensure there is variety in all aspects of the programming, but we give our musical sponsors the first pass at deciding who is presented. This gives them each a stake in the event, and ensures that we are not simply making our decisions in isolation.
So what does this mean for you? It means that the avenues to performing in the Baltimore Jazz Fest are a little bit different than you might be used to. One of the best ways to get into the event is to develop a good relationship with the local venues and other presenters. When it comes time for them to sponsor an act, they are likely to turn to the performers with whom they already have a successful relationship, and who they’d like to feature at the festival. This might be people who they book on a regular basis, or with whom they have had particularly successful engagements.
If you think you have such a relationship and want to bring that to our attention, we prefer if you let us know, rather than approaching the presenters yourselves. Why? As we work to present this free event, we are busily reaching out to potential sponsors, and we very likely have already talked to the sponsors you have in mind. If so, we can relay your interest as they work to decide who they would like to sponsor, and if for some reason we haven’t yet been in touch with them, we will be happy to receive information from you and establish contact, where we will certainly mention you as the impetus for our request. However, we want to respect them and not have them bombarded with requests, which is why we ask you to channel the requests through us.
Finally, we do have some input regarding the lineup. In some cases we get sponsors who want to contribute but who who don’t have a particular performer in mind. We may also decide to sponsor an act ourselves, depending on the budget. So we do welcome your information – please send your contact info, EPK (if you have one) or bio and links to video, audio, press, etc., to the address below. We may not send a response, but we will definitely keep your information and consider it when making any decisions.
Again, we know this is a little unusual. We ask you to bear with us, and let this experiment out. Our hope is that we can build a great community event through our partners, and that this will become a new model for us and lead to increased opportunities for all. If we find it is not working, we’ll adjust; but whatever we do, it will be as a community, not simply as a small board of a small organization. This event is for Baltimore, by Baltimore, and we hope you can all be a part of it.
Best wishes, and see you at Baltimore Jazz Fest!
-Baltimore Jazz Alliance
Please send all inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org