Values Guiding the Reno Jazz Festival

Our values inform the artistic and educational content of the Festival.


The Festival will provide a more intensive and immersive learning experience for participants. Students will have more direct access to Artist Educators and guest artists. Each student performance group, whether a band, combo, or choir, will have more time for feedback and coaching.


The Reno Jazz Festival embodies equity in terms of race, gender, socio-economic status and beyond. This value informs the selection of guest artists and headliners, Artist Educators, clinic and workshop topics, and scholarships awarded. Together, we examine how jazz can support an equitable and just future.

  • Each year we will commission music by an artist from a historically underrepresented community or gender minority, and student groups will be invited to perform this new music during the Festival. Those who do, may attend a VIP Meet & Greet with the Festival composer.
  • With our Keychange pledge, we will ensure that at least 50% of the artists we hire each year are women and gender minorities and that at least 50% of the artists we present are from historically underrepresented communities in jazz.
  • We commit to consistently present headliner concerts that feature people of color and/or people from underrepresented backgrounds and gender/gender identities in jazz.
  • We incorporate workshops and master classes that discuss issues of gender and racial inequities in jazz and are thrilled to now partner with the Berklee Institute for Jazz and Gender Justice.


We will host a non-competitive festival to allow more time, energy, space and resources to be directed towards the educational and creative experience of each participating student. While we understand that the competition element of our festival was important for many schools, we also recognize that jazz and art are innately non-competitive. To authentically embody this truth, the Reno Jazz Festival is now non-competitive.


The Reno Jazz Festival builds new connections with the jazz community locally, nationally and internationally. The Festival will strengthen connections between schools and identify new ways to integrate into our local community.


We embrace a renewed focus on living artists and maintain a strong connection to current creative climates and musical evolutions, worldwide. The Festival strives to expand participants’ creative and cultural horizons, providing them with skills as they continue their musical journey. At the same time, we strive to connect them to a history that is central to the story of the United States and an art form that is very much alive and thriving today.

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