See Frequently Asked Questions

northern line is Jazz North’s open application scheme to support northern jazz musicians to tour across the North. The scheme aims to strengthen artists’ offer, enabling them to engage new and existing promoters and develop jazz audiences across the sector.

Performances by northern line artists are subsidised by a set amount per musician, which reduces financial risk to promoters and encourages them to book high quality Northern artists.

Since 2013 northern line has supported 47 ambassador artists, developed a network of 150 promoters, festivals and arts organisations and partnered on over 450 subsidised performances across the north and beyond.

5th Round touring period 1 September 2017 to 31 December 2018.

Online application portal closes 10pm Monday 12th December 2016

Note: An audio version of this document is available for anyone with a visual impairment. This is available on request and will shortly be available online at:

Before starting…

We would recommend reading Jazz North’s mission statement and vision. This can be found at

Watch the ‘One Year On’ Northern Line video where artists and promoters talk about the scheme.

Look at the range of previous northern line bands featured on the Jazz North website.

How we will assess your application and our key priorities

The northern line assessment process relies entirely on the information and web links you provide in the online application form. For this reason it is important to answer all the questions and use the best examples of your work. The selection panel is made up of musicians (from beyond the North), industry professionals, voluntary and rural touring promoters and Jazz North staff.

The key assessment priorities will be:

  • Musical excellence, by which we mean:
    • standard of instrumental ability
    • expressive power of the performers
    • quality of compositions if applicable
    • improvisatory skills
  • How committed artists are to developing their careers and the northern jazz scene
  • A performance track record, demonstrating an awareness of presentation and audience engagement
  • The extent to which the band is ‘gig ready’
  • Artists readiness and availability to commit time and attention to the scheme’s activities
  • Evidence of – or willingness to engage in – social media activity to promote their musical activity

General feedback
from previous rounds

We recommend that you take note of the feedback from previous rounds. These are the points that crop up most frequently during the selection process.


  • Make sure the three tracks you choose to share with us show a variety of tempo and mood
  • Avoid tracks with long introductions, the panel will only listen to the first 5 minutes of any track
  • Make sure the improvisation starts early on in your selected tracks


  • Only include a video link if it enhances your application
  • Think twice before directing us to wobbly, hand-held, poor audio and unedited video clips
  • If a video doesn’t show you and the band performing in the best light then don’t use it in your application


Make sure there is a good picture of the band or at least the band leader on the website link you provide us.


  • The majority of band members in any group must be living and working in the north of England (please see the geographical definition below)
  • Successful northern line bands from previous rounds are not eligible to apply, but individual musicians from those bands may feature in other ensembles wishing to apply.
  • There are no age restrictions or stylistic barriers
  • Artists must be able to demonstrate a performance track record, including an awareness of presentation and audience engagement
    All artists must have evidence of – or demonstrate willingness to engage in – social media activity to promote their musical activity and the northern line scheme
  • All applicants must have a website and high quality online audio examples of the artist or band for whom they are applying
  • The audio concisely demonstrates the breadth of their music.
  • If there is no band website, the bandleader must have their own website or band Facebook page (not a personal FB page)
    Maximum band size is 10 musicians
  • The band must be ready to gig by July 2017
  • Bands where all the musicians are in full time education will be ineligible. Bands where one or more musicians are still in full time education will be assessed on a case-by-case basis
  • The band leader (as a minimum) will be required to attend an induction day in March 2017 to learn about the scheme, meet key people and find out how to get the most from the scheme. Artists who are unable to attend the induction day will forfeit their place on the scheme.
  • All successful northern line bands (all band members as listed in your application) must attend and be available for the full showcase day at Manchester Jazz Festival in July 2017. Artists who are unable to attend the showcase day will forfeit their place on the scheme.
  • Successful northern line bands will not be eligible to apply for additional funding from Arts Council England to support their northern line gigs, since the scheme is already funded by ACE.

Essential dates for 2017

Successful applicants will be required to be available for the following dates. If you are not able to attend, you will forfeit your place on the scheme and will need to reapply for the next round.

Jazz North Induction Day – Tuesday 14 March 2017
All band members are encouraged to attend, but a minimum of the band leader must attend the northern line induction day. This event introduces you to key members of the Jazz North team and takes you through how the scheme works, offers valuable advice on securing gigs and will help you make the most of being on northern line.

northern line Showcase Day – Monday 31 July 2017

If selected, your entire band needs to be available for the full day (9am – 11pm) on the northern line Showcase day at Manchester Jazz Festival. All musicians will be paid the standard Manchester Jazz Festival performance fee for this event.

This event will feature back-to-back performances of all Round 5 artists throughout the day in front of festival audiences and invited promoters and partners. We will gather media for your digital EPK including audio, video and photo shoot, plus a networking session with promoters and guests.

What happens next?

The application form will close at 10pm on Monday 12 December 2016.

We will contact all applicants via email by the following dates:

Friday 17 December 2016 to confirm application has been received
Wednesday 22 February 2017 to notify you of the panel’s decision

If after entering your application you are not automatically directed to a page that acknowledges receipt of your application, it has not been submitted.

Feedback will be available to all applicants. General feedback from the panel will be available to everybody within a few weeks of the announcement day.

We also offer individual feedback to all applicants. Due to capacity, and depending on demand, this might take a while to process. We will endeavour to fulfill all requests for feedback by 31 May 2017.

Jazz North also offers group and one-to-one advisory sessions in person at locations across the north or via Skype. These events will help you make a stronger case for your music to promoters, funders and other industry contacts. Make sure you are on our mailing list or follow our social media to receive notification of these events. To join our mailing list click the ‘subscribe’ button on our website

For more information and enquiries please contact northern line Project Manager, Lucy Woolley