If your question has not been answered here, please call us at (775) 784-4278 or email Reno Jazz Festival.

  • When is the last day to register?

    Registration will remain open as long as space is available. All registration fees must be received by April 10, 2020. Groups are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. The earlier you register the better your chances to get your preferred performance date.

  • When do we get our performance time?

    Performance time(s) will be emailed to the school director approximately one month prior to the festival.

  • Why do i need to provide exact high school enrollment?

    Your exact high school enrollment is needed to place you in the appropriate division. You will be placed in one of the following high school divisions depending on your school size: 'C' 'B' 'A' 'AA' 'AAA' or 'AAAA.'

  • What is a group description?

    Group description designates which is your first (top) group and which is your second group (and so forth), for each of the groups you bring to the festival.

    For high school bands: if a school enters more than one big band, additional bands will be entered into the apprentice category. Your first big band should be designated as Group I. Any secondary bands are considered apprentice bands and should be designated as Group II and Group III.

  • Can I pay with credit card after selecting invoice me option?

    Yes, please call our office at (775) 784-4278 to pay with a credit card.

  • Do I need to purchase passes with registration?

    No, passes may be purchased separately. See the school passes and tickets section for pricing.

  • When will I receive my free director’s pass and pass order?

    Passes will be mailed to the school’s address during the first full week of April. All orders placed and paid by April 2, 2020 will be mailed prior to the festival. Orders received/paid after April 2nd will be held for pick-up at festival will-call.

  • Where do I pick up pre-ordered passes? Where is the festival’s will-call station located?

    Passes ordered after April 2, 2020 can be picked up from the festival’s will-call.

    Will-call location and hours

    Thursday, April 23
    6:30 – 8 p.m.: Information Desk, Church Fine Arts Building

    Friday, April 24
    7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.: Information Desk, Church Fine Arts Building
    6:30 – 8 p.m.: Information Desk, Lawlor Events Center

    Saturday, April 25
    7 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Information Desk, Church Fine Arts Building
    5:30 – 8 p.m.: Information Desk, Lawlor Events Center

  • What is your refund policy?

    Group registration refund

    • Full registration refunds will be given until March 6, 2020
    • Partial registration refunds will be given March 7 - April 16, 2020
    • In-state (per group): $50 cancellation fee
    • Out-of-state (per group): $100 cancellation fee

    Passes refund

    Full refund through April 16, 2020. No cancellation fee for pass refunds.

    *No refunds for group registration fees or passes starting April 17, 2020.

Performance Rules and Procedures

Performance Rules


Online group registration and payment of group registration fees must be received before a group is accepted into the Festival. Group registrations will be accepted until the Friday before the Festival or until the Festival is full (whichever is sooner). Scheduling is on a first-come, first-served basis. Festival staff will honor scheduling requests to the best of their ability. A maximum of four groups from one school can be scheduled on one day.

In addition to group registration fees, each student and chaperone must purchase and wear a Festival Pass. Passes (wristbands) are non-replaceable (if you lose it, you must buy a new one). Directors receive one free 2-Day Festival Pass with each group registration.


Eligible students may enter as ensembles and/or combos under the following categories:

  • Band — 10 or more performers
  • Choir* — 10 or more performers
  • Combo — 2 to 9 performers

Choirs are encouraged to use student rhythm section players, but it is not required (you may also use professional musicians). There is not a “rhythm section” scoring category on the choir adjudicator forms.

Classifications, divisions and eligibility

  • Middle School: Students in grades 5-8
  • High School: Students in grades 9-12
    • Divisions within the High School classification are based on student enrollment at the participating school and include 'AP' 'C' 'B' 'A' 'AA' 'AAA' or 'AAAA.'
    • All competitive High School groups must be comprised entirely of students enrolled in one school.
    • High School divisions are based on the student enrollment of the participating school and will be announced once the Festival schedule is finalized. Schools may enter more than one group in any category. If a school enters more than one big band, the additional band will be entered into the Apprentice category (this rule does not apply to combos or choirs). The additional band should consist of students who are not in the first group.
    • Magnet High Schools will participate in the 'AAAA division.' Magnet High Schools are defined as performing arts schools (or schools that specialize in the performing arts) with students in grades 9-12.
  • Two-year Colleges (Junior College or Community College):
    • Junior College: Students only, with all members enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits
    • Community College: All members need only be enrolled in the group course
  • College or University (four-year institutions only): Students only, with all members enrolled in a minimum of six credits

Any group may choose to perform non-competitively, but Festival staff must be notified. Non-competitive groups will be
scored as usual, but will not be eligible for group awards nor will their scores be posted.

Performance times

When planning your program, remember that your performance time slot includes entry, set-up, announcements, performance and exit. A 100-point penalty per judge will be assessed, if a group continues to perform past the end of its time limit. This policy will be strictly enforced, so plan your program carefully.

  • Smallest division of high school bands and all middle school bands: 25-minutes. We recommend that you
    program 16–18 minutes of music and allow at least seven-to-nine minutes for entering and exiting the stage.
  • High school and all college bands: 30-minutes. We recommend that you program 20–22 minutes of music and
    allow at least eight-to-10 minutes for entering and exiting the stage. Please note that the smallest division of high school
    bands is only allowed 25 minutes.
  • Choirs: 25-minutes. We recommend that you program a maximum of four songs and allow at least seven-to-nine minutes for
    entering and exiting the stage.
  • Combos: 25-minutes. We recommend you program 18-20 minutes of music and allow at least five-to-seven minutes for entering and exiting the stage.

Festival staff will make every attempt to reschedule performers who miss their scheduled performance time due to unforeseen circumstances. Due to tight festival schedules and logistics, a rescheduled performance time is not guaranteed.

Performance procedures

Performance instructions

Before the festival

The Festival schedule will be announced approximately one month before the Festival and is subject to change. Please carefully review the materials all provided materials and bring the following required paperwork to the Festival for your group’s performance:

  • Fillable PDF Set-List Form (four copies): Fill out ahead of time, print and bring to the Festival to give to the room announcer before your scheduled performance.
  • Announcer Form: Fill out and give to the room announcer. (You may also announce your own group if you prefer).

During the Festival

Upon arriving at the Festival, locate your performance room and then proceed directly to your warm-up room. You are responsible for getting your group from the warm-up room to the performance site. Once in the performance site, you should provide the stage monitor with your set-list and announcer forms. Should you wish to announce your own group, please notify the stage monitor at this time. You do not need to provide music to the judges; however, if you supply music copies, the judges will be able to offer more detailed feedback. After your performance, the feedback clinician will guide the group to the clinic room where he/she will give feedback on the group’s performance. Following your feedback clinic, group can choose to visit the designated photography site to have their photo taken.


Warm-up rooms: No equipment is provided in the warm-up rooms.

Performance and feedback rooms: Chairs, music stands, sound system (for choirs: the system includes area microphones or up to 16 individual mics), guitar amplifier, bass amplifier, piano, drum kit (drummer may change out cymbals but must use kit provided) and cymbals (crash, ride and hi- hat) are provided. Please do not remove any Festival equipment from the stage or the feedback rooms. Due to very tight scheduling, all groups must use the standard stage setup and are not permitted to move equipment provided on stage. The following equipment is not provided: string basses, vibraphones, marimbas, congas, keyboards, keyboard stands, drumsticks and patch cords.

Storage: Because of the large number of groups participating, we cannot provide storage for your equipment. You must keep your cases with you – do not leave them unattended. After your performance, we recommend that you return your equipment to your bus or hotel rooms.

Adjudicators and scoring

Nationally recognized jazz educators and musicians adjudicate and critique Festival performances. Three adjudicators and one feedback clinician will hear each performance (note: only two adjudicators will be provided in rooms exclusively dedicated to combos). The same adjudicators will score and record audio critique for every group in their assigned performance site.

  • During the festival: After your performance, you will be given your score sheet by one of the adjudicators. Band and combo scores will be posted in the Church Fine Arts Building and choir scores will be posted at Lawlor Events Center.
  • After the festival: Audio files with adjudicator critique, scores and any score sheets left behind will be emailed to school directors by the end of the week following the Festival. Category and individual award recipients will be posted on the Festival website as soon as possible after the Festival. Festival awards that were not picked up at the Festival, will be mailed the week after the Festival.

Festival showcase and awards ceremony

The Festival showcase and awards ceremony features performances from some of the most outstanding groups in the Festival. On Saturday, after the conclusion of the daytime competition, we will post the groups to appear in the Festival Showcase and approximate starting times. This information will be posted in the Church Fine Arts Building and Lawlor Events Center. Groups selected for the showcase are allotted 15 minutes total time, including set-up and tear down. Please plan on presenting no more than 10 minutes of music. Showcase groups should report to the Silver and Blue Room in Lawlor Events Center at least 30 minutes prior to their start time.

Trophies are awarded for all performance categories and divisions at the closing Festival showcase and awards ceremony. The number of placements will be determined by the number of participants in each division. Outstanding performance awards in middle school, high school and college divisions, trophies for the top middle or high school band and choir in the Festival and a trophy to the outstanding Nevada group will also be awarded.

General information

Festival etiquette and safety

While on campus please be considerate of University faculty, staff and students as well as other festival participants. Do not play your instruments except in designated warm-up, performance, or feedback areas. Any festival participant caught being disruptive, stealing, or vandalizing property will be immediately expelled from the campus and appropriate legal action will be taken.

In all performance and clinic rooms, seating capacity for all events is limited to room capacity per the Reno Fire Marshal. Aisles must be kept clear at all times. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. As a courtesy to others please do not save seats. Audience doors to performance areas will be closed during performances; entrance will only be permitted during a break in the performance. Food and drinks are not permitted in performance areas.

We ask that directors please:

  • Keep track of scheduled times
  • Take responsibility for your students’ behavior
  • Keep your students together
  • Be courteous to festival volunteers and staff

We ask that students please:

  • Take responsibility for your behavior
  • Act in a professional manner
  • Stay together
  • Be courteous to festival volunteers and staff

While at the festival, we recommend that you stick together with your group and avoid walking alone, especially after dark. If you should encounter any problems or need police assistance, please call 911 or the University Police at (775) 745-6195.

Bus unloading and parking information

Official unloading/loading areas: In front of the Church Fine Arts building (passenger and/or equipment only), in front of the Lawlor Events Center (passenger and/or equipment for groups performing in Lawlor) and in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union. Please use caution in front of the Church Fine Arts building, as this is a busy street and can be dangerous. Buses must park in the designated area north of campus. On Friday, we ask that festival visitors use the West Stadium Parking Garage. On Saturday, parking is available in both the Brian Whalen and West Stadium Parking Garages. Please be respectful of handicapped parking areas, loading zones and other specially designated parking areas.

Festival information and guidebook app

Before the festival, we encourage attendees to download the free Reno Jazz Festival Guidebook App on any smart device. The Guidebook App includes the festival schedule and helpful information. During the festival, visit any information booth for assistance, directions, or with questions. Information booths are located in Lawlor Events Center, Joe Crowley Student Union, Church Fine Arts and the University Arts Building.

Festival programs and merchandise

Festival programs are offered free of charge at each information booth. Merchandise will be for sale in the Church Fine Arts building, Lawlor Events Center and the Joe Crowley Student Union.

Will call

If you ordered and paid for festival passes by April 2, 2020 your order will be mailed to your school address prior to the festival. If payment is received after April 2nd, your order will be held for pick-up at the festival information booth in the Church Fine Arts building.

Individual evening concert tickets

Purchase group tickets or additional individual concert tickets to evening concerts online. (Please note: A two-day festival pass provides entry into Friday and Saturday evening concerts, a Friday pass provides entry to Friday’s evening concert and a Saturday pass provides entry to Saturday’s evening concert. Day-only passes do not include entry to evening concerts).