V-JAM Philly Session Leader: ACT4Music

An idea that started as a concept for an iPhone app a year ago has now come into fruition at the perfect time. “When the corona pandemic took over, the idea which I had been sporadically working on suddenly got moved to the front burner,” says Anthony Tidd. “I’ve been working on it non-stop—dawn to dusk—since the beginning of March.”

What came out of Tidd’s work is ACT4Music, or Advancing Creative Transformation for Music, an organization that builds on the self-empowerment traditions underpinning the jazz community for over 100 years. Tidd says he felt there wasn’t enough support or venues dedicated to the furthering of creative music (jazz) or the uplift of this scene and community. “This led me to start exploring ways that I could develop a new venue and model for this purpose,” he says. The organization consists of Tidd, the creative director and founder, Dimitri Louis, the technical director, and four volunteers. Their first initiative: ACT4Music Fest.

“My [original] goal was to create a web-based international festival for creative music that would also feature hubs in a few major cities (London, Paris, Berlin, NYC, Philly, LA, etc…), which would present live performances along with streamed broadcasts via projectors and the iPhone app over an 8-week period,” Tidd explains. “The festival would focus on presenting creative artists to a global audience and commissioning new works to be presented as part of the festival. ACT4Music Fest is basically this hosted through a website, and obviously without the live hubs.”

ACT4Music Fest seeks to provide quarantined cities all over the world with daily opportunities to hear great performers do what they do best, while providing music loving audiences everywhere with a simple way to support the creative music community during this time of need. The ACT4Music Fest model is structured to provide artist-centric compensation, both in terms of ticket sales from shows, and in the form of a series of ACT4Music-Grants, intended specifically to help artists.

There are currently over 70 musicians and curators participating in the festival. Philadelphia musicians include: Dan Blacksberg, Ernest Stuart, Gerald Veasley, J. Michael Harrison, Mike Boone, Orrin Evans, Sumi Tonooka and a host of others.

The festival, which launched on Monday, April 20, 2020, runs for eight weeks and has four shows per day, six days per week for a total of 192 shows.