Founded by Brooklyn-based music curator and concert promoter Brice Rosenbloom in 2005, New York City’s Winter Jazzfest is one of the annual festival calendar’s best ways for musicians to connect with engaged, discerning, jazz-loving audiences from around the world. In 2015, it was voted the best jazz festival in North America by JazzTimes. In 2020, the last festival before the pandemic, NYC Winter Jazzfest brought an audience of 17,000 to hear over 700 musicians across 20-plus stages at venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
After a virtual festival in 2021, it’s back—live and in full effect. From January 13-22, NYC Winter Jazzfest 2022 will present a full slate of over 100 of the most relevant acts in jazz.
But that doesn’t mean that everyone who should or could be playing the festival will be. Winter Jazzfest has partnered with weeBID—the first-of-its-kind platform that allows fans to crowdfund unique content from their favorite artists— to give performance opportunities to even more artists. With a handful of slots remaining, they’ve decided to experiment with a new way of booking bands: asking the fans who they’d like to see.
By going to the Winter JazzFest page on weeBID, fans can not only nominate the band or artist they’d most like to see grab one of the last few slots at this year’s Winter Jazzfest, they can actively contribute to getting their favorite act on a lineup card that already includes names like Questlove, Gilles Peterson, Blaque Dynamite, and a whole host of others either just nominated for Grammys or too accomplished to pay attention.
This partnership between Winter Jazzfest and weeBID also allows bands and musicians to be proactive—after all, weeBID’s all about providing artists the forum to more efficiently monetize fans’ desires. So if you think you and your band should absolutely be on a Winter Jazzfest stage, here’s what you should do:
· Go to the Winter JazzFest weeBid page
· Pitch your band by submitting an “idea.” For example, “Winter Jazzfest pop-up show with [insert the name of your band].” Note: you’ll be prompted to create an account on weeBID before your submission can be processed.
· Once you’ve submitted your idea, promote it by sharing your weeBID profile link across social media with your fanbase and encouraging them to contribute to the idea’s crowdfund. Let fans know that their contributions will directly support you in securing a spot in this year’s NYC Winter Jazzfest.
· Once the crowdfunding period is complete, Winter Jazzfest will review each artist’s crowdfunding campaign, then select those artists who’ve received the most crowdfunding support to perform at this year’s festival. Winter Jazzfest may also decide to include rewards for your fans—for example, concert tickets for those who contributed to the crowdfunding effort at or beyond a certain level.
As we see the rise of alternative currencies, weeBID and the NYC Winter Jazzfest are giving artists a chance to put their most valuable currency—fan support—to the test. While it will often be the case that weeBID allows fans to make a unique proposition to artists, this particular scenario shows how weeBID also allows artists to make unique requests of fans—with weeBID, the creative process is a two-way street. Winter Jazzfest, for its part, will supply the venue and the prestigious public forum in the greatest jazz city in the world. And if several weeBID festival entrants meet or exceed a threshold level of crowdfunded support, the festival will dedicate an entire stage to the beneficiaries of this novel approach to booking talent.
Only one question remains: Who wants to play NYC Winter Jazzfest’s first ever weeBID stage?