Manchester Jazz Festival wins the Europe Jazz Network Award

The 2016 Europe Jazz Network (EJN) Award for ‘Adventurous Programming’ has been awarded to the Manchester Jazz Festival, the very first UK promoter to receive the prestigious Award.

Each year EJN, the Europe-wide association of promoters, presenters and organisations who specialise in creative music, contemporary jazz and improvised music, awards a European promoter who exemplifies the values of EJN and skilfully succeeds to create visionary and fascinating musical programmes for the audience.


The EJN Award 2016 was announced on 22nd July 2016 during the opening ceremony of the Manchester Jazz Festival (mjf) at Manchester Town Hall. Ros Rigby, President of EJN, and Piotr Turkiewicz, Chair of the Award 2016 Jury, presented the Award and the guidelines that the Jury followed to identify the winner of the 2016 Award, before asking Steve Mead, Artistic Director of mjf, to receive the Award on behalf of all the mjf team. Sarah Maxfield, Director of Arts Council North, also intervened as key partners and supporters of mjf, acknowledging the essential contribution of the festival to the development of a dynamic, diverse and inclusive cultural scene not only in the city of Manchester but also throughout the UK. 

The winner will be also celebrated this year at the European Jazz Conference in Wroclaw European City of Culture, Poland (22-25 September 2016) with all the members of the Europe Jazz Network and other international professionals of the creative music sector.

Julie Ward, North West MEP and Labour Party spokesperson for Culture and Education at the European Parliament commented:

Congratulations to the Manchester Jazz Festival for winning such a coveted prize. The city has a rich history of producing and showcasing ground-breaking music and the Manchester Jazz Festival continues that tradition. This award comes as the city is being asked to find new ways to engage with European partners. Music and other cultural expressions cannot be restricted by borders or hindered by referendums and we will always find dynamic ways to shareour creativity with our European family. Long may the Manchester Jazz Festival continue to bring European artists to this city and celebrate collaboration, diversity and invention.”

The 2016 Award has been unanimously assigned by an independent jury composed of journalists and EJN members to Manchester Jazz Festival for its continued and successful efforts in promoting original projects and nurturing emerging talents from the North of England as well as developing throughout the years an audience very receptive for new musical discoveries 

Previous winners of the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming were: “Moers Festival” in Germany (2015) “Jazz em Agosto” in Portugal (2014), “Bimhuis” in The Netherlands (2013) and “12 Points Festival” in Ireland (2012).

Steve Mead, Artistic Director of mjf, said:

To receive news of this award is incredibly humbling and totally unexpected. It’s a tribute to all the hard work of mjf staff past and present, every single performing musician, our many venue partners and supporters and a testament to the creative jazz scene not only in Manchester and the north, but across the whole of the UK. In addition to our championing of new and original work, I’d like to think that our celebration of the undiscovered, our choice of collaborator and the curiosity of our continually growing audiences have all played a part in the EJN’s decision to grant this prestigious award to mjf.”

Comment from the Award Jury 2016:

"The EJN Award is for ‘adventurous programming’ and this can be interpreted in many ways. Manchester Jazz Festival, now over 20 years old, has been adventurous in its policy of supporting emerging talent, jazz from across the North of England, and new work, rather than seeking the usual ‘big names’ for their programme. Through this they have brought to public attention many artists from the North who have gone on to gain national and international profiles- such as the Mercury Prize nominated band GoGo Penguin from Manchester. The Jury were unanimous in their appreciation for this approach and were delighted that the 2016 Award should go to this enterprising UK jazz festival.” 


About Manchester Jazz Festival (mjf):

  • Presents 10 days of live music each July

  • Typically features over 500 musicians and 80 events in 7-10 venues

  • Champions regional jazz artists

  • Brings the best contemporary jazz to Manchester from the region, the UK and abroad

  • Presents mostly new and original material, with premières and international debuts

  • Focuses on musical innovation

  • Encourages multiple genres of contemporary jazz and breaks down musical boundaries

  • Runs unique strands to commission new work from talented regional artists with the mjf originals and mjf introduces schemes

    Mjf welcomes thousands of visitors to the Festival site in Albert Square alone, with hundreds more listeners at the various other concerts and venues throughout the festival. In 2016, mjf celebrates its 21st festival, between 22 and 31 July.


    About the Europe Jazz Network

    The Europe Jazz Network (EJN) was created in 1987 as a Europe-wide association. Currently EJN includes 113 organisations (festivals, clubs and concert venues, independent promoters and national organisations) in 31 countries. EJN's mission is to encourage, promote and support the development of creative improvised music within the European scene and to create opportunities for artists, organisers and audiences from all different countries to meet and communicate.


For further information, please contact:

Trevor MacFarlane

Cultural Affairs Manager

mobile +44 (0) 7496 110 939

office +44 (0) 161 9743 20