Sunday, 26 September 2010

How to Plan and Carry Out a Successful Jazz Tour

Okay - I've decided what I want to write about.  The title of this post is perhaps a bit of wishful thinking at this point as I'm far from sure that the tour will be a successful one!  But I thought it might be helpful to myself and others to document my journey - setting up, marketing and carrying out a jazz tour in the UK. 

I've completed five UK tours in the past.  For three of them I've had help from Jazz Services and for the other two, I've been fortunate enough to receive an Arts Council award.  My last UK tour was at the end of 2009 where I promoted my latest album, Licorice Kiss.  Although up to now I've mainly concentrated on writing, performing and recording my own original songs, my latest project is going to concentrate mainly on jazz standards.  I've called it "Inspired: Celebrating the Divas of Jazz" and it will feature new arrangements of songs from the jazz singers past and present who have inspired and influenced me.  I'll also include specially written songs alongside those of  the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Norma Winstone and Cassandra Wilson,

So... to get you up-to-date, here's a short summary of what I've been up to over the last few months:

April-July 2009
  • Called up various promoters throughout the UK to ask if I could send them info about my new project
  • Checked availability dates with my band  (can be problematic - especially if like me your band is comprised of excellent in-demand musicians!)
  • Sent an email with a few paragraphs about the project and proposed dates with an attached mp3 of the band
  • About a week later, followed up the email with a call to see if they've had a chance to listen (at this stage, barring a couple of exceptions, most of them hadn't)
  • Another follow up call 10 days later.  Tried to get an idea if they were interested and attempted to get either a booking or a pencilled date if they were.
  • And repeat...  and repeat...  and repeat...
August 2009
  • Filled in my Jazz Services touring support application form.  (Important to get this in before the deadline and to read guidance notes carefully.)
  • Waited to hear decision about grant...
September 2009
  • Got news of successful application.  Yay!  I didn't receive all the money I asked for as funds were very tight and quality of applicants very high but it's great to have help to make this tour happen!
Next on To-Do List: 
  • Confirm pencilled dates and confirm dates with band
  • Write press release for tour
  • The music!  Never as much time as I would like for this but need to write some new songs and work on new arrangements with my pianist George
If you have any comments, tips, suggestions or questions I'd love to hear from you.  I'll try to help you if I can and will of course appreciate any help from other bloggers, musicians, fans, journalists, etc etc...


  1. Good post Juliet! It is always insightful to read about other independent artist's experiences, especially in the UK. It can feel so lonely sometimes! Congrats on the funding too. Looking forward to hearing more about the tour and your music. Bless D x

  2. Thanks Danelle! Yes, it's hard being an independent artist sometimes. You also need to be the manager, agent, tour manager, publicist and stylist! But then on the upside we have complete creative control so it's not all bad! xx


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