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Our Mission: Produce FREE concerts and support music-education causes on Massachusetts' North Shore. Tax ID 26-2029408


The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that produces FREE concerts to raise money in support of music-education programs for the youth of Massachusetts’ North Shore.

The mission of the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival is to raise money to support music education initiatives North of Boston. Studies show that children who play a musical instrument are more likely to excel in school and pursue a college education. Music education programs help children attain critical life skills like discipline, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and leadership. The arts are a crucial part any child’s intellectual development, and they need our continual support. 

Since our inception, the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival has distributed more than $55,000 to music-education initiatives throughout the North Shore.  Other ways our effort has impacted local youth and our community at large:

  • Disbursed scholarships for students to attend regional music camps
  • Made grants to area group homes and after-school music programs
  • Donated money and new equipment to North Shore high school jazz bands
  • Created a monthly music series for grade-schoolers at Salem Public Library and homeless families at a North Shore hotel
  • Produced more than 60 free concerts
  • Run an annual music-related art contest for children in elementary school
  • Funded an 8-week interactive workshop for children in the autism spectrum
  • Developed an intern program in which local high school students can learn audio production
  • Won Massachusetts Cultural Council’s “Gold Star Award” In 2013


The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival’s season lasts May through August – when we put on monthly, free concerts in partnership with Berklee College of Music – and culminates in a two-day festival at the Salem Willows in mid-August, featuring local, regional and national bands. The season is book-ended by ticketed fundraisers at area venues. The festival is financed through merchandise sales, personal donations, grants and corporate sponsorship. We’re a grass-roots organization run by a volunteer board of directors made up of North Shore residents.


Our reach has grown to support music education programs in a variety of Greater Boston cities and towns. Our beneficiaries include music programs at Salem High School, the Lynn Public Schools, Everett High School, the North Shore Recovery High School in Beverly and Northeast ARC. We’ve also recently expanded our educational mission to include our own music-education programming, as well as hosting student interns from North Shore Recovery High School and the Art Institute of Boston.

Music Education in our Festival Series

Our annual music series is rich with music education opportunities, and as always, all of them are offered free to the public. Our SJSF/Berklee Summer Series incorporate a Q&A session with the performers. These sessions give the audience insight into the music-education process as well as highlighting topics such as instrumentation and orchestration, composition, arranging and other facets of the artistic process.

One of the highlights of our main festival is our Education Tent, in which patrons can partake in a variety of free workshops and lectures. Programs have included workshops with artists such as Dwight & Nicole and members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. We are constantly striving to improve our education tent offerings and have expanded programming to include mini-performances and demonstrations on a variety topics such as African hand drumming, Jazz improvisation and Gypsy Jazz. Our 2016 season promises another schedule of interesting topics such as Celtic Folk Music, and Mbira, African finger piano, workshop and a Beatles sing-a-long.

Our festival also includes our Kids Tent where children of all ages can explore different musical instruments, gain instruction, and access a resource board containing information on local music instructors and organizations.


Our contributions to North Shore community take on a variety of forms. In the past, our grants have paid for equipment purchases for area high schools, sponsored intensive master classes for students with area educators, and provided scholarships to local high school students to attend area music camps. In 2015, we were able to give eleven students the opportunity to attend Salem State University’s Northeast Jazz and Recording Camp. These students gained invaluable knowledge through their camp experience and a life time of inspiration.  We look forward to our continued support in all of these areas.

As part of our ongoing dedication to music education, we have recently begun expanding our education initiatives. Not only are we providing financial support to local music programs, we have undertaken some of our own educational programming to benefit the North Shore Community. All programs are free and open to the public.

Through a collaboration with Salem State University and the Salem Public Library, we are now hosting our MusicKidz series of workshops. These workshops take place the second Saturday of each month in the children’s room at Salem YMCA. They are open to children in grades K-5, free to all and covering a variety of topics meant to inspire while educating children on the wonders of music!

Of course we cannot do any of this without your help. Please donate and share your support for the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival.  Let’s keep music alive for generations to come.