Organised by Insa Stanke
The jazzahead! Showcase programme offers bands the unique opportunity to perform in front of influential representatives from the global jazz industry. Applications for the 2024 programme are now open, from 6 September 2023 until 18 October 2023. Scheduled for 11-13 April 2024, jazzahead! 2024 is a trade fair and festival that will take place at MESSE BREMEN, making it the largest gathering of the jazz industry worldwide.
Insa Stanke, a vital member of the jazzahead! team, has been at the core of the showcasing activity for the past eight years. As the lead organizer, she has been involved in everything from receiving applications to coordinating juries and ensuring bands adhere to their designated time slots. In her first interview about the role, Stanke also discusses some changes to the process for 2024.
Positive Feedback from Participants
Insa Stanke confirms that she has received plenty of positive feedback onsite and post-event, particularly from bands. She appreciates the gratitude expressed through emails and warm words about the entire process, communication, and the event itself. Stanke also highlights the high level of professionalism shown by the on-site organization and technical crew, and the appreciation of the jury members for the opportunity to discover new projects.
No Age Limits and Focus on Diversity
Regarding age limits, there are no restrictions for artists applying. The focus is more on providing a platform for upcoming bands capable of touring internationally, resulting in a diverse program featuring projects of various kinds, irrespective of the performers’ age.
Representation by Management or Label
During the jury process, the representation of a band by a management or label is not a factor. Jurors base their decisions solely on the project or band itself, without considering any background information. However, having a professional representative at jazzahead! can be helpful for bands in terms of general contact and organization.
Showcases and Categories for 2024
For the 2024 event, 40 showcase bands from Germany, Europe, overseas, and the partner country (the Netherlands) will be selected from all applications received by 18 October 2023. International juries appointed each year will undertake the selection process.
Announcement of Successful Applicants
The official showcase selection will be announced in mid-December 2023.
Changes to the 2024 Application Process
For the 2024 edition, jazzahead! will carry out a screening of all showcase applications based on a general checklist added to the application form. Bands that do not pass the first screening will be informed, while the remaining bands will proceed to the jury teams, with the process continuing as in previous years.
Additionally, bands will be asked about the duration of their project’s existence, providing essential key facts for more specific jury decisions.
Overseas Showcases: Focus on Africa
From 2024, overseas showcases will focus on specific regions or countries. For the years 2024-2026, Africa will be the primary focus, with at least three of the eight overseas showcase slots dedicated to emerging bands/artists from Africa. These slots will be preselected by jazzahead! in cooperation with partners from different regions of Africa. Other bands/artists from Africa not selected for one of these three slots can still apply via the general application process.
Advice for Bands Applying
The most crucial aspect for bands applying is the quality of the material provided with their application, which reflects not only their musical proficiency but also their ability to perform on an international level.