The board of Jazz Services, chaired by Bob Blizzard, has put out this statement today: “Jazz Services is disappointed with the substantial cut in its Arts Council funding. However, we are still very much in business and are determined to deliver an exciting programme, in partnership with NYJO, which develops and promotes British jazz from the grassroots to international showcasing, and we will be seeking financial support from the public for our popular magazine, Jazz UK. Overall, a golden opportunity has been missed to redress the imbalance in financial support for the main musical genres in which jazz remains grossly underfunded in relation to the size of its audience.” What does LondonJazz think? I refused to publish some of the insulting comments targeted at the Arts Council funded bodies yesterday, partly because they were borderline libellous, but also because I believe so strongly that we, all of us, collectively are in a GROWTH SECTOR. British jazz is becoming better organized and more unified by the month, and the fact that some people are more fluent in Arts Council-speak than others will progreessively even itself out as the numbers grow, as jazz becomes harder to ignore on the radar. We have a long way to go before we can get to the levels of recognition of the French or the Norwegians, but things are definitely happening.
What is really sad is that those organisations which are celebrating having received so-called “standstill funding”, are talking about standing still at the current rate which is a cut from last year, and which anyway represents a cut in real funds after inflation of about 11%.
So we have been conditioned to see as success a cut of 11% on top of a 7% reduction.
You can't help think that another 1% cut in the funding of the fat-cats of the music establishment (Opera, Classical and Ballet) would have released several million pounds that could be better spent.
i think it's really sad that jazz services got hit the hardest out of serious, tomorrow's warriors, and fm. Jazz Services helps so many jazz musicians all year long get their music out there to every nook and cranny of the UK, and the others listed are all private companies who do not benefit so many artists equally, they all have their own personalized agenda targeted at a small representation of the UK Scene. JS got hit over twice as much as the others (125,000) across three years. that would have been over a hundred tours funded of great music. it just makes me and others think the serious' of the world have a monopoly on things. sad news for jazz musicians.
This last comment represents – thankfully, in a thoughtfully expressed and measured tone at last – the direction of most of the comment about how the changes have been applied.
From the conversartions I've been having, the wider public benefit and sector leadership obligations of National Portfolio Organizations will be made more explicit henceforth, and if any hiding is going on (?) it will be more difficult.
Does anyone have more a authoritative pronouncement on what the policy is?
DISCLAIMER: I sit on the East Midlands' regional arts council – but my views here are my own. As usual.
The first thing to remember is that technically ALL regularly funded organisations [RFOs] lost their funding.. The National Portfolio is different, the way it is financed is different [it's part-Lottery if I remember correctly – don't quote me on that though] and thus is slightly more demanding than the original RFO programme – if it IS part Lottery money it has to be an open process to all, and the rules for the spending of Lottery money is much more stringent than money from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport [DCMS].
With any luck you've looked at this first:
Any organisation could have applied to the new National Portfolio Programme – the Arts Council officers then assess the application against the criteria [use the link to find them], and the assessments are discussed at Regional Council.
**I have no idea how the meetings go in London**, but I know in my region [the East Midlands] we have very involved, thorough and sometimes agonizing conversations about each report. I was not there this time as I was in Germany, yet EMJazz is part of the national portfolio – they obviously put in a strong bid that was assessed fairly.
But the decision on Jazz Services saddens me greatly, as I see it as a national organisation that benefited everyone – but I think we have to “give back” to it in some ways, and support it through a tough time.
None of us has any money, but surely there must be a few ways of helping out?
We received the following anonymous comment:
Jazz Services has no doubt done good for jazz, but how hard does it work to maximise the benefit of its public funding? Still, a decade after widespread digitisation, it sends out paper press releases – expensive and virtually useless to overstretched journalists.
It would be illuminating to see a comparative time and motion study of Serious and JS.
Serious seems efficient, a pretty good example of effective private-public partnership.
It's ironic that the ACE cuts should hit Jazz Services so hard at a time when jazz in the UK is going through a golden period with a highly creative young generation of jazz players. There is a historic imbalance in the funding of music which ACE has failed to address. It could have taken this opportunity to begin to significantly scale back its commitment to the Royal Opera House, thereby reducing its stranglehold on music funding and allowing a shift towards those areas of music making including jazz which have more relevance in the 21st century. ACE could have instructed the ROH to adopt the model of the Met in NYC which relies mainly on private subscriptions, corporate sponsorships and foundation grants – over a 5-year period. Meanwhile, Jazz Services has some tough decisions to make. I would like it to prioritise touring and group all its other activities – information, education, etc – around its touring programme. This would clarify its role once and for all and make it a truly powerful force for the music we love.