Request for Proposals: Casting 51 Carillon Bells

The National Bell Festival is seeking the services of a professional bell foundry with extensive experience and craftsmanship in bell making to cast a set of bells for a new bell tower and garden planned for Washington, D.C.

Deliverables and Scope of Work

Bell foundries interested in submitting proposals must address the following project requirements:

  1. Casting of 51 concert-pitch bells across 4 octaves and a whole-tone, fully-chromatic keyboard range: G3, Bb3, C4 to C8.
  2. Inscription of each bell to include one line of text unique to each bell, plus the seal of the National Bell Festival.
  3. Production of properly-weighted cast iron clappers, frame, stainless steel supports, and mechanical equipment necessary for the full function of the carillon.
  4. Production of both a carillon keyboard (world keyboard standard) and a mechanical, acoustic practice instrument.
  5. Shipping, delivery, and installation of the bells, keyboard, and practice instrument at a purpose-built site in Washington, D.C.
  6. Installation of a digital bell ringing assembly to sound bells at quarter melody strike and hour strike.

Please line-item costs related to the above deliverables, as appropriate. This RFP is intended to provide bell foundries with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to address the project requirements, while providing a comprehensive cost estimate for the work. To assist the National Bell Festival in evaluating each proposal, the following are minimum requirements that should be included:

  • A narrative describing the bell foundry’s understanding of the scope of services, the approach to the project, the deliverables that are to be presented, and a plan that outlines the foundry’s methodology. 
  • An expected timeline and/or schedule from contract award through the delivery of bells to the project site (along with any shipping or importing considerations, as needed). The foundry will be expected to supervise and execute the installation of bells into the structure, along with setup and testing of the keyboard. All required installation equipment, safety considerations, and insurances are the duty of the bell foundry.
  • A description of the bell foundry’s experience, expertise, capabilities, and resources in bell making, as it relates to similar projects involving harmonically-tuned carillon bells.
  • A minimum of three references, including contact person, address, email, and phone, for similar projects.
  • A clear account of any time a subcontractor would be expected to complete work in the execution of the requirements and deliverables, along with a description of their contribution and business details.

Submissions are not to exceed 10 pages, with any supplemental material (images, et al.) limited to 5 additional pages.


The National Bell Festival shall not be responsible for any expenses that bell foundries may incur in the preparation and submitting of a proposal. Bell foundries shall furnish such additional information that may reasonably be required to evaluate proposals equally. The National Bell Festival also reserves the right to negotiate modifications to the proposals that it deems are acceptable, reject any and all proposals, and to waive any minor irregularities in the procedures. The issuance of this RFP does not obligate the National Bell Festival to enter into a contract for any services.

It is expected that the awarded bell foundry will:

  • Provide progress reports at reasonable intervals and be generally responsive to questions or feedback.
  • Provide complete blueprints of bell layout, rigging, and carillon playing action following contract award.
  • Provide high-resolution photography of the casting, finishing, shipping, and installation of the bells for National Bell Festival marketing purposes, or allow access to a third-party photographer at such times.
  • Be open to allowing high-level donors and guests of the National Bell Festival to the foundry to witness the casting of the bells (at a mutually-agreed time and with proper safety measures in place).
  • Deliver the bells a day or two earlier than the expected installation date, for the purposes of a “meet the bells” donor reception.
  • Work with the selected architect and general contractor on the design and installation of bells within the tower.
  • Understand that any substantial increase in cost between contract award and deposit will need to be justified and may result in a retraction of the contract award.


Submitted proposals will be evaluated by an independent committee brought together for the sole purpose of proposal evaluation, comparison, and selection. The committee comprises carillonists, campanologists, and community stakeholders. Proposals will be evaluated on:

  • Compliance with RFP submission requirements and completeness of submission
  • Suitability to the project brief
  • Proposed cost and ability to deliver within the project timeframe
  • Recognized expertise and experience on similar projects

The selection committee will be organized and coordinated by Paul Ashe, Director of the National Bell Festival, who will be a non-voting member of the committee. His role is to: collect submissions; distribute them for equal consideration to all committee members; plan and run any meetings, as needed; and to receive the committee’s recommended selection, which will be presented to the National Bell Festival Board of Directors for approval and contract award.


Proposals must be received no later than Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, at 5:00pm (EST). Please submit via email an electronic PDF version to the attention of Paul Ashe, Director, National Bell Festival. No proposal will be accepted by oral communication, telephone, or facsimile transmission. Proposals may be withdrawn prior to the time set for closing. Any proposal received after the time set for closing will be rejected and returned without review.

For complete submission requirements and contact details, including additional information on the yet-to-be-announced bell tower theme and location, credentialed bell foundries are invited to contact the National Bell Festival. A complete request for proposal (RFP) packet will be emailed in response.