Jazz Road Tours supports small, three- to six-site tours at an array of venue types, often in rural communities and other areas traditionally underserved by the genre.
This artist-centric grant program—designed to support approximately 50 tours each year—is made possible with funds from the Doris Duke Foundation with additional support from the Mellon Foundation.
Grant amounts generally range from $5,000 to $15,000.
Note: Grant funds are taxable. Grantees must comply with all applicable city, state, and federal laws when reporting grant income.
Important Dates & Deadlines
Jazz Road Tours will operate on regularly recurring application cycles through 2026. Initial dates and deadlines are below. Additional cycles will be added in the future.
For Tours Taking Place:
October 1, 2023 - April 1, 2024
Applications open: May 1, 2023
Deadline: June 15, 2023
Applicants Notified: August 15, 2023
For Tours Taking Place:
January 1, 2024 - June 30, 2024
Applications open: July 17, 2023
Deadline: September 1, 2023
Applicants Notified: November 15, 2023
For Tours Taking Place:
April 1, 2024 - October 1, 2024
Applications open: October 17, 2023
Deadline: December 1, 2023
Applicants Notified: February 15, 2024
For Tours Taking Place:
July 1, 2024 - January 1, 2025
Applications open: January 17, 2024
Deadline: March 1, 2024
Applicants Notified: May 15, 2024
Applications open: October 17, 2022
Deadline: December 1, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. ET
Applicants Notified: February 15, 2023
For Tours Taking Place: March 1, 2023 – September 15, 2023
Applications open: January 23, 2023
Deadline: NOW EXTENDED through March 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET
Applicants Notified: May 15, 2023
For Tours Taking Place: June 1, 2023 – January 15, 2024
Join the Jazz Road team on June 1, 2023, from 2-3:30 p.m. ET for an informational webinar to learn more about Jazz Road Tours, the program's priorities, and best practices on assembling an application!
In addition to the guidelines below, the Jazz Road team held the webinar below on February 2, 2023, to provide additional guidance and share best practices when assembling an application.
While preparing your Jazz Road Tours Grant application, please refer to the following guidelines.
Providing jazz artists financial assistance for performances/tours that increases their ability to earn income by connecting with a diversity of communities in traditional and non-traditional venues
Giving artists business development tools to advance their careers beyond subsidies and grants. The goals are rooted in equitable pay and artist-centric programming as core values. South Arts believes that artists should receive fair pay for their time, work, and expertise, and that allowing artists (as opposed to venues/agents) to control engagements offers a unique level of creative autonomy and ownership; these goals are discussed below as well as in the Supplemental Questions document uploaded with this application.
Key components of Jazz Road Tours
An artist may apply for a three-to-six site tour comprised of connected (contiguous) dates at an array of venue types anywhere in the U.S and its territories.
Jazz Road believes that through a logical route of tour dates, the artists will experience the continuity and momentum of repeat engagements, solidify developing music, and establish band identity/sound through working with the same personnel over the course of the tour.
An Offer Letter for each tour site is required as part of the application.
Jazz Road also will prioritize applications that include engagements in rural areas or that reach typically underserved communities, especially those that lack opportunities to present live jazz.
Applicants that make a compelling case for how the tour will impact their careers in new ways are more competitive.
Please note that previous Jazz Road Tours grantees are only able to reapply for tours with a funding deadline that take place at least one year from the previous grant's project end date (please see the FAQ for an example). A key Jazz Road Tours objective is to award a large and diverse pool of artists across the U.S. for new tour experiences.
Only individual artists (as an individual, an artist-led nonprofit organization, or an artist-led corporation) may apply to this program. An eligible artist is:
A professional jazz artist, working solo or working with a composer-led or collective jazz ensemble which consists of 2-10 musicians;
Age 18 or over and not currently a full-time student;
Based in the U.S. or its territories, and is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (non-residents may participate in a tour, but not be paid with Jazz Road Tours funds)
Eligible tour routing will span three to six sites on contiguous dates.
Funds are for artists to stay on the road and not return home. Funds are not for one-offs. Flexibility is possible around three-day spreads in between dates, or to avoid shows on Monday/Tuesday (slow evenings), if the band remains on the road.
The tour must reach three to six sites, and either cover a total distance of at least 250 miles or more or reach at least one site which is 250 miles from the applicant’s home base.
Tours must occur within the designated dates for each grant cycle.
Eligible tour dates must take place in the U.S. or its territories.
Tours can be within one state, cross state-lines, and/or travel to multiple regions.
The tour request can be for a portion of a larger tour, so long as all dates are in the U.S. or its territories.
Engagements must be for public performances.
Shows can require admissions, suggested door amounts, or be free.
Engagements can be for multiple nights so long as at least three separate venues are included in the application.
Each venue listed on the tour must demonstrate their commitment to the engagement by providing a signed Offer Letter that you will be asked to upload for each engagement.
All presenters—regardless of size or financial contribution to the tour—are expected to make significant efforts in promotion and/or create other opportunities to attract new audiences and fill rooms.
Performance fees: the equitable amount the artist/ensemble will normally charge for a touring engagement fee such as the one planned. Fees for a road/sound/tour manager can be included.
Travel (ground and air)
Backline equipment for artists which the presenter is not providing.
Eligible venues include but are not limited to:
Nonprofit and commercial established jazz presenters and clubs
Performing arts centers, theaters, and concert halls
Universities, colleges, and institutions of higher education
Local arts agencies/councils
Radio station live segments
Churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship
The application includes a Tour Budget Summary which requires the applicant to total all eligible artist fee’s & expenses.
You will be able to input your numbers directly in the application, but we recommend using one of the templates found on our Resources and FAQ page to get a clear idea of the costs of your tour before inputting your numbers.
Panel Review Process
Applications for Jazz Road Tours will be reviewed by panels comprised of experts in the jazz field from across the U.S. Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
50% Work Samples
Artistic excellence & merit of the applicant and or ensemble, as demonstrated by work samples.
50% Written Application
Quality and clarity of overall artist-presenter planning as evidenced in the Tour Summary.
Impact of tour on artist/ensemble’s professional and/or artistic development at this time; (What would this tour mean to you?)
Diversity of organizations/venues involved (type, size, geographic areas served);
The tour’s ability to engage new jazz listeners through touring in underserved, rural, and isolated areas or in collaboration with venues newer to jazz programming;
Evidence of the capacity to carry out the project including potential dates, appropriate budget, and community and/or presenting partners.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Grant Award and Payment
South Arts contracts with the applicant artist or his/her business entity on behalf of his/her ensemble.
The applicant must provide government-required documentation showing his/her U.S. citizenship or Permanent Resident status.
Grant funds are taxable income; grantees must comply with all applicable city, state, and federal laws, ordinances, codes, and regulations affecting the project.
The grantee is solely responsible for the management of the tour and disbursement and reporting of the grant income.
Grant award letters will include the Jazz Road payment process and schedule.
All grant applications must be submitted online using the Salesforce system. We recommend that you visit the site early to create your account and become familiar with the system.
Resources and FAQ
Have a question about the guidelines or priorities above, or need assistance to resources to help assemble a tour/application? It may be addressed in our Jazz Road Resources and FAQ section.