mjf is committed to ensuring that the artists with whom we work (on-stage and off-stage), the audiences we serve, and our workforce genuinely reflect the diverse communities of our catchment area: the north of England.
mjf was the first UK jazz festival to sign up to Keychange in 2018, campaigning for more balanced gender diversity in music. Each year mjf exceeds the target of a 50/50 gender balance in our programming.
In 2021, we are proud to be one of the founding partners of Black Lives in Music, working with us to support our development and championing of culturally diverse work, artists and partnerships. Partnering with BLiM will help us be better engaged with the barriers facing black and diverse musicians, eliminate biases in our recruitment processes, ensure our communications speak to a diverse range of people, and refine our talent development offer to reach an even wider range of diverse new artists.
Where we’ve identified areas of under-representation and engagement, we’ve created bespoke development schemes to help develop opportunities, access and support for those artists to realise their potential, and to build a stronger, more diverse workforce for the future. mjf hothouse, mjf soundcheck and mjf originals all serve to rebalance our sector by targeting those under-represented in music-making.
We make sure that all our artist support schemes – even the chance to play at the festival – are open to everyone, with video and other non-text based options by which to communicate with us.
All our event spaces are fully accessible and wheelchair-friendly, and we stage events at all times of day and days of the week, in open, welcoming environments – with at least around a quarter free to access.
We are acutely aware of the socio-economic challenges that are unfortunately widespread across the north of England, and which contribute to the ongoing north-south divide, despite attempts to rebalance cultural investment away from London.
According to 2019 government statistics, of the 20 English towns with the highest proportion of deprived neighbourhoods, 16 are in the north. 4 are in Greater Manchester alone. We work as best we can with limited resources to exert the most meaningful impact on our region’s artists and audiences.
We believe music is for everyone, that everyone has the power within to create music, and the right to experience it.