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Applications for Northern Line are now closed

Now in its 10th year, Northern Line is the leading live development programme for jazz and jazz-inspired artists in the North. 

Northern Line is the roster of the most pioneering, bold and innovative artists across the scene. It’s a roster of the best new talent, recognised by promoters, festivals, funders and management. This is a sector-leading, 18-month programme, offering northern jazz artists transformative support regarding live performance, careers & industry skills. Northern Line offers tangible marketing support, EPKs and crucially, Jazz North will provide bursary support to subsidise your live activity.

DEADLINE: Apply by midday on Monday 20th March

Northern Line: The Offer 

Northern Line is about investing in your live career to get you performing in new places and building audiences. You can apply for a touring bursary of up to £3,000 to support travel, accommodation, rehearsals, equipment and other relevant costs in addition to subsidising fees offered by promoters. We’ll work with you on a strategy for targeting promoters, festivals and venues.

Showcase at Manchester Jazz Festival 

As part of Northern Line, all selected artists are guaranteed a showcase at Manchester Jazz Festival on Sunday 21st May 2023. Jazz North will invite key promoters to this event, and it is a great opportunity for your music to be enjoyed by audiences and promoters in a typical gigging environment. We would like you to be able to commit to this date from the point of applying to Northern Line, but we understand this may be short notice, so please let us know if your availability may be a problem.

Career Development Plan

We’ll work 1:1 to pull together a career development plan that is completely unique to you. We’ll look at your career as a holistic whole – defining goals, ways to measure them and steps to get there. You can access the full extent of Jazz North’s contacts and expertise to help you make that vital next step. 

Industry Networking

Your music is a business. Jazz North will support you in meeting and managing press, promoters, digital distributors, publishers and agents. We will support you to develop your network of industry people and promoters that will push your career to the next level. 

Industry Upskilling 

Over your time on Northern Line, we have opportunities to bring in industry leaders and experts across all areas of the music business. Whether it’s publishing, financial planning, project planning, tour management or music law – we’ll get those people in the room to help you upskill in the areas you want to. 

Marketing and Assets 

Marketing and assets have never been more important. We will help you to develop all of your assets (images, copy, video etc…).  Northern Line will also create the EPK you need for promoters and audiences. We’ll support you to develop easy tools to manage your press and marketing. 


You’ll have monthly meetings with our Programme Manager, alongside other members of the Jazz North team. Northern Line will provide 1:1 support and guidance to ensure you meet your goals. 

Are you a promoter?

Northern Line tops up fees, expenses and associated costs to underwrite your ability to take risks on new and bold music. Northern Line ensures gigs can happen, despite the ever changing landscape. Read more about how you can get involved with Northern Line here.


20 February 23Applications Open
20 March 23Applications Close
3-7 April 23*Offer Meetings (on Zoom)
17 April 23Decisions Announced
2 May 23Induction Day (on Zoom)
21 May 23**Northern Line Showcase at Manchester Jazz Festival
1 September 23Touring Starts
30 September 24Touring Ends

Please be aware!

* If you are selected by the decision panel, we will need to talk to you between 3-7 April 23 to arrange an offer meeting and confirm the terms of your place on Northern Line.

** Please make sure you can attend the showcase and block out the date in your diary.  Performances will take place between 1pm and 8pm and will be in the form of one 45-minute set. However we understand this may be late notice and you can let us know in the application form if you have any issues with this. 

Download the Application Documents

  • Document version of this page. PDF / DOC
  • Application questions – to help you prepare. PDF / DOC

Essential links

Applying to Northern Line

We want to see bands/artists with a highly engaging live performance. 

If you connect to jazz, jazz-influenced genres or your music is improvised in some way, then we’d love you to apply to Northern Line. We know genres are fluid, sometimes irrelevant and becoming more so. We’re all about celebrating jazz in its many forms, whether that’s mega left-field improvised, neo-soul, electronic, nu-jazz, afrobeat, jazz-influenced hip-hop or contemporary jazz.  

To apply, you should:

  • Be over 18 (no upper age limit)
  • Be based in the North of England (North West, North East, Yorkshire & Humber)
  • Have a high standard of performance that is ready to tour
  • Be playing original music
  • Have experience of booking and performing live shows to an audience
  • Be able to rehearse and perform with the ensemble applying to the scheme
  • Be able to commit time to meetings, administration, practice and touring
  • Be primarily focused on live touring (this is the focus of the scheme)

In addition to the above, when deciding who will be on Northern Line, a selection panel will consider the extent to which your band addresses the following considerations, in line with our priorities for the scheme: 

  • How does this band/artist demonstrate diversity in northern jazz?
  • How does this music demonstrate progression and push the genre forward?
  • How ready is this band/artist ready to use financial investment in their work to take their live touring to the next level?
  • Is the activity proposed relevant to the fanbase and career status of the artist? 

An advisory panel will discuss applications and help to choose the next roster of Northern Line artists. Sitting on the panel is Aaron Casserly Stewart (Chair Jazz North Trustees), Claire Umney (Jazz FM, Liverpool), Mariam Rezaei (TUSK, Newcastle) Eva Davies (Come Play with Me, Leeds), Glenn Boulter (Octopus, Cumbria), Lucy Scott (Sage Gateshead, Newcastle) and Geni Lamb (Parr Jazz, Liverpool). Artists applying to Northern Line must not contact panel members regarding their application. 

Read more about our advisory panel.

We ask that you look carefully at our priorities for Northern Line, the content of the scheme and ask yourself if this is right for you at this time. If you’re not sure, you can get in touch with us at Jazz North. We might be able to point you in the direction of something more suitable. 

We want to hear from the artist/ band-leader directly, or if you already have a team in place, the person who represents you. 

If you become a Northern Line artist, we expect you to make the most of the opportunity available to you. That means taking advice on board, being responsive and doing the work between meetings. We’re here to help and support you as much as possible, but for you to move forward you need to be willing to work hard and meet deadlines. We can only support a small number of artists per roster so we want to see you thrive while you’re with us and really move on to the next level in your career. Our newly developed Code of Conduct will form part of your artist agreement and will apply to artists and promoters working with Northern Line artists. 

To succeed on Northern Line, we’d expect to see you: 

  • Attend regular meetings with the Programme Manager and respond promptly to emails
  • Spend 8-16 hours a week (we understand this varies based on other time commitments) working towards your identified goals in project planning, marketing, promotion and network development  
  • Ensure you are rehearsed to a high standard ahead of any tour dates 
  • Attend the induction day and showcase day – attendance at these events is compulsory 
  • Take part in any evaluation of the programme afterwards
  • In short, you get out what you put in to the programme 

Jazz North is committed to fair access for Deaf and disabled artists. If you wish to apply to Northern Line but are concerned about accessibility issues you can contact us to discuss this at any time. We will work with you to meet all reasonable adjustments, in advance of applying and for artists who are part of our programmes.  

To apply, please complete the online application form or alternatively, submit your video application by 12 noon on 20 March. Applications are open for 4 weeks from 20 February. 

We will ask you to complete:

Eligibility questions (whether you meet the criteria)

  • Basic information 
  • Video upload (to assess your live performance) or media link 
  • Project details (including up-to-date tech spec and high res images)* 
  • Application questions 
  • Equality and Diversity monitoring form (optional, anonymous) 

Please do not submit a completed word document as your application. Applications should be submitted via online application form unless you are submitting a video application. You are welcome to download the application questions to prepare your answers before submitting the application form online. 

*Due to the turnaround time between announcing the roster and the Northern Line showcase on 21st May, it is essential we have your bio, tech spec and images at point of application to ensure the Jazz North and Manchester Jazz Festival teams are able to advance the event.

For video submissions: 

  • download the application form as a PDF
  • download the application form as a word DOC
  • answer all questions marked with an asterisk in the application form 
  • send video file(s) by WeTransfer or file sharing link to 
  • all files must be sent by 12 noon or 20th March 2023
  • we will check the inbox regularly throughout the application process to ensure files do not expire 

Please inform us if you need this information in a different format. 

As a small team, it is difficult for us to offer timely direct feedback on unsuccessful applications. 

However, we understand this is an important part of learning and commit to sharing feedback upon request from unsuccessful applicants within four months of decisions. 

We strongly advise you to attend one of the advice sessions before submitting, where you will learn how to avoid common pitfalls and understand how to present the best case for your music. These sessions will be recorded if you are not able to attend.

We look forward to hearing from you!