Volunteers are an essential part of the mjf team and we have a range of opportunities on offer for this year’s festival, from pre-production and admin to front of house and artist liaison. This is an excellent opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills, have fun and experience great contemporary jazz music.

We offer volunteer briefing sessions where you can learn all about the festival and get more information about the roles on offer.

We also provide specialised training for certain roles so that you are best prepared. So why not sign up and become an mjf volunteer and join our 150 strong team of festival staff and volunteers?




You can find all of the information you need including the different types of volunteering opportunities on offer and the application form here.

We look forward to meeting you!





mjf has awarded places on the second round of its talent development programme hothouse to Manchester-based gospel vocalist Tosin Akindele, Lancashire-based Joseph Spencer of North Trio and Didsbury-based vocalist Nishla Smith.

The award winning manchester jazz festival (mjf) brings its exciting, eclectic and innovative mix of events to a variety of venues across Manchester city centre every July. Recognised for celebrating contemporary jazz through adventurous programming, hothouse is a new mjf strand that sees for the first time the festival operate outside of the nine-day festival period. The scheme will run twice a year for the next three years and offers successful applicants eight weeks of industry mentoring in various areas such as; how to communicate your USP, responding to briefs, budgeting and fundraising.

hothouse is all about working with the artist on an individual basis to understand what they need to overcome barriers in their professional development – getting them to the next stage of their career. The programme will conclude with a ‘by invite only’ work-in-progress performance workshop for industry specialists, other programmers, mentors, festival staff and a few festival friends, where Tosin, her Musical Director David Onac and their collective Voices Beyond,  Joseph and North Trio members Mike Mackenzie and John Dopping and Nishla will have the opportunity to showcase the work that they have created no matter its stage of development and gain specialist feedback.

As hothouse places emphasis on supporting the creative process and giving artists the opportunity to take risks and grow as artists we do not yet know what the outcome of the projects will be. The mjf team are excited to begin working with Voices Beyond, North Trio and Nishla and cannot wait to hear the diverse music that is yet to be created.

For the next three years hothouse is being supported by Help Musicians UK, Arts Council England and a PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development Partner award. The continuity of this support means that mjf will be able to provide a number of northern artists the opportunity to receive bespoke mentoring from the very best in the industry and gain valuable feedback for future project development with the intention of preparing them for the next stages of their careers.

Applications for round three of hothouse will open 3 August 2018, more info here.

The 2018 Irwin Mitchell mjf originals commission has been awarded to Esther Swift as mjf continue to champion women in music.

Recognised for celebrating contemporary jazz through adventurous programming, each year the Irwin Mitchell mjf originals commission provides a talented regional artist with an exceptional opportunity to present new work.

This year’s commission has been awarded to harpist and composer, Esther Swift, with her composition Light Gatherer, an instrumentation of voice, harp quartet, string trio, piano, saxophone, trombone and percussion.

To mark the centenary of women being given the vote in this country, Esther celebrates the diversity embraced by manchester jazz festival by writing a new work which will showcase the harp in an unusual and unexplored contemporary jazz language. She will take words, exploring their meaning and their sound, and create a series of pieces which experiment with texture, purpose and expectation.

In 2017, mjf are proud to say that 50% of all bands that played included women in their line-up – a percentage unrivalled by any other UK jazz festival. 2018 also sees mjf become associate members of the PRS Foundation Keychange initiative, a pioneering European initiative which empowers women to transform the future of the music.

Now in its fifth year, mjf originals is again being sponsored by Irwin Mitchell.  The continuity of this support has enabled mjf to pioneer exciting, innovative new works by northern artists.

The manchester jazz festival programme, including full details about Light Gatherer, will be released in late April.