Jazz Artists & Agents!

Artists and groups interested in the 2025 St. Petersburg Jazz Festival should send Youtube links between May - September of 2024.  An email address is listed at the bottom of this message.

Let me tell you a bit about the festival before you contact us with interest in performing in the 2025 jazz festival.

We are based in St. Petersburg, Florida in the United States, not Russia.

This is a small festival and most of our concerts are inside.  That makes it an intimate listening experience rather than a park festival. We don't have a stadium as a venue or do many outdoor concerts in Florida since the weather is unpredictable.  The festival is growing in size and support, but it is still small in budget. Our main venue has a 170-seat capacity, so consider that. If you are an agent, understand that you will never receive a $10,000 contract for this festival. That is not feasible.

We tend to book Southern artists since there are many fine jazz artists (often neglected) who live in the South and we don't have a large budget for transportation costs. We are open to block booking, if you will be touring in Florida near the time of the jazz festival.  If you have travel support from a government agency, foundation or grant, we might be able to talk about that.  We have worked with Chamber Music America, the Doris Duke Foundation and South Arts in past festivals. Consider that our concerts are indoors and that jazz audiences in the Tampa Bay area are quite small.  If you think that your 18-piece big band from Chicago is somehow going to be programmed on this festival, then be prepared for disappointment. The same goes for a European group, unless you have significant touring support from your country.

Our programming is well-defined.  We like unique acoustic and semi-acoustic jazz.   We tend to program Latin jazz, edgy modern jazz, original jazz with character & jazz theme and/or tribute groups.  We are not interested in jazz standards programs because so many other jazz festivals program that. Tribute concerts are well-received. In previous years, we have had tributes to Booker Little, Bird & Diz, Cal Tjader, Wayne Shorter, Cannonball & Coltrane, as well as original music from Jonathan Powell, Martin Bejerano, Silvano Monasterios and Tal Cohen.  We've also featured the Claudia Quintet, Kevin Mahogany and a wide variety of groups.  We've had Latin jazz with Antonio Adolfo, Gabriel Hernandez, Rafael Pereira and Nestor Torres. In other words, we need diverse programming that is unique and that encourages an audience of 150+ to attend our concerts. With several consecutive evenings of jazz concerts, that is not an easy task.

Local Jazz Artists:

We truly appreciate your contribution to jazz in our community, but it's expensive presenting a jazz festival. Marketing, venue rental, production and artists fees add up. If your group is playing at local clubs in the Tampa Bay area, then there may be little reason an audience would pay to hear that same group on our jazz festival. 

However, if your group plans to do something unique and different, then your fan base might consider paying to hear you perform on the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival. Who knows... it could be something wild like "Zappa Meets Monk" or "Jazz From Your Favorite Cartoons".  It should be jazz; not a rock band, EDM or something else unrelated to jazz. Of course, if you take that same program out into night clubs for free locally,  then there would be no reason for an audience to pay to hear it on a jazz festival.  Be creative in your programming... and well-rehearsed.  Thrown together programs are often embarrassing for everyone. The old "two rehearsals and we're good" is not going to cut it for this festival.

Big Band Singers:

Our house band is the Helios Jazz Orchestra and we feature that group with an outstanding singer for one concert in the larger hall at the venue. Singing with a big band is unique. An introspective, intimate voice is not going to be heard against 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 saxes and a rhythm section.  We are looking for guest singers who project, have a genuine and natural style of singing, flawless intonation, enunciate clearly, have a deep knowledge of jazz and are dynamic on stage. We have no interest in mush-mouth singing, first-timers, vocal fry, riffers or mile-wide vibrato.


If you send a Youtube clip of your band playing "The Girl from Ipanema" lounge-style, then that would not be as impressive as a Brazilian group playing "Bala com Bala" with a samba-funk groove.  If you play early jazz, it had better swing like crazy!  We aren't impressed with young players who market themselves well, but can't swing.  We are in Florida where there are plenty of older musicians who can really swing.  Having said that, we aren't interested in "nostalgia jazz" or a show of jazz standards... because everyone else on the planet programs this on their jazz festivals.

We are not interested in players who sound like they have memorized the Charlie Parker Omnibook or players who put more time and effort in their promotional materials, than actually sound good. If you send an "okay" clip of your group playing jazz standards, then we have to wonder why anyone would pay to attend the concert. We also like original music, if it is interesting, diverse, spirited and well-executed.  If it is without contrast, derivative, cerebral or sloppy... well, we probably won't be interested.

It is highly unlikely that we will program smooth jazz, a jam band, a loud, electric fusion group, a R & B band or a jazz standards combo.  That's the way it is.  If that offends you, then build our own jazz festival... and good luck with that.

Our audiences want unique, well-rehearsed, expressive and impressive jazz groups.  We want groups that are amazing!  We don't care if you are from NYC or Micanopy, Florida.  Good is good. 

Email brief correspondence and 2 Youtube live performance video links to mansond@spcollege.edu  You will need 2 live performance Youtube links. If you can't include that, please don't send an inquiry. Thanks!