Online group registration and payment of group registration fees must be received before a group will be admitted to the festival. Group registrations will be accepted up until the Friday before the festival or until the festival is full (whichever comes first). Planning is based on the “first come, first served” principle. The festival staff will fulfill appointment requests to the best of their knowledge and belief. A maximum of four (4) groups from one school can be scheduled on one day.
In addition to group registration fees, each student and accompanying adult must purchase and carry a festival pass. Passports (bracelet) are not replaceable (if lost, you must buy a new one). Directors receive ONE free 2-day festival pass with every group registration.
Categories and Definitions
Eligible students can participate in the following categories:
- Band — 10 or more artists
- Combo – 2 to 9 performers
- Solo – 1 to 5 performers
- Choir* — 10 or more performers
* Choirs are encouraged to use rhythm section students, but this is not required (you may use professional musicians).
The Reno Jazz Festival is open to middle school, high school, community college, university and independent bands, combos, solos and choirs. Participating groups are:
- middle school: Students in grades 5-8
- Secondary school: Students in grades 9-12
- 2-year colleges (junior college or community college)
- College or University (4-year institutions only)
- Independent bands, combos, choirs, solos (Adult companion/parents required if participants are under 18 years old)
Bands, combos and choirs are given a total of 60 minutes for performance and feedback. Solos get a total of 30 minutes for performance and feedback. The band director can determine how much time should be devoted to performance and feedback. As you plan your program, remember that each performance time slot includes admission, setup, announcements, performance, feedback, and exit. It is imperative that each group stays within their allotted 60 minutes (bands, combos, choirs) or 30 minutes (solos).
Festival staff will make every attempt to catch up for artists who miss their scheduled performance time due to unforeseen circumstances. Due to tight festival schedules and logistics, a postponed performance time cannot be guaranteed.
Before the party
The festival schedule is announced about a month before the festival and is subject to change. Please carefully review the materials provided on the website director’s page in January 2023 and bring the following necessary documents for your group’s performance to the festival:
- Fillable set list form in PDF format (4 copies)
Fill it out in good time, print it out and bring it with you to the festival to give to the announcer before your scheduled performance.
Fill it out and hand it in to the room speaker. (You can also announce your own group if you prefer).
During the festival
Upon arrival at the festival, locate your performance room and then head straight to your warm-up room. You are responsible for getting your group from the warm-up room to the performance venue. Once you are on the performance page, you should provide the timer with your setlist and announcer forms. If you want to announce your own group, please notify the timer. We encourage you to provide artist educators with copies of the music your group will be performing so they can provide more detailed feedback. The feedback takes place in the same room as the performance with two Artist Educators. After your feedback clinic, the group can visit the designated photo location to have their picture taken.
warm-up rooms: No equipment will be provided in the warm-up rooms. The choir warm-up rooms will be equipped with a piano.
Performance/Feedback Rooms: Chairs, music stands, sound system (for choirs: the system includes patch microphones or up to 16 individual microphones), guitar amp, bass amp, piano, drums (the drummer can swap cymbals but must use the kit provided) and cymbals (crash, ride and hi-hat) are present. Please do not remove any festival equipment from the stage or feedback rooms. Due to very tight schedules, all groups must use standard stage setup and are not allowed to move any equipment provided on stage. The following equipment is not provided: Double basses, vibraphones, marimbas, congas, keyboards, keyboard stands, drumsticks and patch cables.
storage: Due to the large number of participating groups, we are NOT able to offer storage for your gear. You must carry your suitcases with you – do not leave them unattended. After your performance, we recommend returning your equipment to your bus or hotel rooms.
Nationally recognized jazz educators and musicians critique festival performances and provide feedback to each performing group. Two (2) artist educators will listen to each performance and record an audio critique for each group at their assigned performance location. After each performance, each group receives feedback and coaching from the Artist Educators.
- During the festival: After your performance, you will receive any notes from the Artist Educators.
- After the party: Audio files of the Artist Educator’s critiques and comments will be emailed to school principals by the end of the week following the festival. Ensembles selected for the final Festival Showcase will be published on the Festival website (unr.edu/rjf) as soon as possible after the Festival.
The Festival Showcase features a curated selection of student performances showcasing creativity, innovation, fresh perspectives and exceptional sound. The final showcase offers a compelling cross-section of performances and celebrates the future of jazz.
On Saturday, after the day’s performances have concluded, we will publish the groups scheduled to appear in the Festival Showcase and approximate starting times. This information will be posted in the Church’s Fine Arts Building. Groups selected for the showcase will have a total of 15 minutes, including set up and tear down. Please plan no more than 10 minutes of music. Showcase groups should contact the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts at least 30 minutes prior to their start time.
Festival Etiquette and Safety
Please show consideration for the faculty, staff and students of the university as well as other festival participants during your stay on campus. Only play your instruments in designated warm-up, performance, or feedback areas. Any festival attendee caught disturbing, stealing or damaging property will be immediately removed from campus and appropriate legal action will be taken.
In all performance and clinic spaces, seating capacity for all events is limited to the Reno Fire Marshal room capacity. Aisles must always be kept clear. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Out of consideration for others, please do not reserve seats. The audience doors to the performance areas are closed during performances; Access is only permitted during a break in the performance. Food and drinks are not permitted in the event areas.
We ask that Directors please:
- Keep track of scheduled times
- Take responsibility for the behavior of your students
- Keep your students together
- Be polite to festival volunteers and staff
We ask the students:
- Take responsibility for your behavior
- Act professionally
- stay together
- Be courteous to festival volunteers and staff
During the festival we advise you to stick together with your group and not go alone, especially after dark. If you encounter any problems or require police assistance, please call 911 or the campus police at (775) 745-6195.