What Is The Rural Touring Support Scheme?
The Rural Touring Support Scheme is similar to our National Touring Support Scheme, and helps fund bands to go on the road. However, unlike, the National scheme, the Rural one focuses on smaller local venues in areas less well served by a touring arts scene. Jazz Services works in conjunction with the National Rural Touring Forum, whose pool of nationally distributed rural promoters are able to arrange a tour in their area with the successful applicants. The cost of this tour is covered by the National Rural Touring Forum and Jazz Services.
Concerts often take place in smaller towns and villages, and in venues that might not regularly put on live music, so there are limitations and restraints involved. But it is a fantastic opportunity to reach a whole new audience and perform in areas that would otherwise not get an opportunity to hear live jazz.
"With musicians of this quality on our rural stages we can really build our audiences…" - Tim Smithies, promoter for 3 dates in Cornwall as part of Mike Janisch's 2013 Rural Tour.
Who's It For?
While it's open to all, the scheme isn't suitable for every line-up. Given the nature of many of the venues and locations, it is generally better suited to smaller and more mobile groups.
Artists and bands will often have to provide all their own gear, including backline, PA, amplifiers, instruments, etc. - so an 18-piece big band or a grand piano duo might not fare too well in a local church or village hall! However, acoustically inclined groups with fewer members, or those artists who can adapt their sound to fit a more pared-down setting will find the experience very rewarding.
"It's been a great experience and we've found the audiences very warm and receptive. The local promoters have been extremely friendly, helpful and accommodating....I'd recommend Rural Touring to anyone as it's an informal and highly sociable way of bringing your music to people who wouldn't normally get to hear it." - Dave Whitford, bass player with Christine Tobin's 'A Thousand Kisses Deep' (pictured below).