A New Music Conference for the New Music Economy – This Weekend

I made a note to myself that for 2009 (not a resolution now) I would get on the road more – get to Dublin more, grab a coffee in the Absolute Hotel in Limerick at some stage, and hit more events and evenings. One event I’m sorry to be missing though (it’s a five hour drive up and I’m swamped for the weekend) is UnConvention, taking place in Belfast today and tomorrow.

What is UnConvention?

Unconvention is an unconference aimed at the grass roots of the music industry – bringing together musicians and industry professionals for conversation, inspiration and collaboration.

or as About.com have it listed…

“a music industry convention that really isn’t like a music industry convention at all. The event is aimed at the independent music industry. Entrance fees are in keeping with indie music budgets (free!) and the discussions all surround making it in music outside of the mainstream machine. At night, indie musicians get to show off their chops on local stages”

Bands, labels, entrepreneurs, music industry insiders and outsiders – it’s an event that I should really be at and I know I should be at so I’m happy to be following the activity for the weekend here on Twitter and here at UnConventionBelfast.com.

The Official Blurb

The 2-day conference has attracted strong interest from all over the UK and Ireland; organisations who have signed up for involvement include BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio Ulster, Music Managers Forum, Island Records, Sony Music Publishing, NIMIC, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Birmingham University, Fat Northerner Records, Smalltown America Records, Richter Collective and First Music Contact, among many others. Radio 1’s Huw Stephens was one of the first to sign up to the event, and had this to say: “I’m looking forward to finding out more about the scene in Belfast, which seems to be thriving at the moment. Rory McConnell’s Radio 1 show features so many quality artists from Northern Ireland so to get to Belfast and meet the bands and managers is an exciting prospect. In the music world, doing it yourself is essential at the moment, and so I’m looking forward to seeing what will be discussed.”

Friday night’s showcase line-up includes Ed Zealous, A Plastic Rose, Colenso Parade and Strait Laces on the live stage, and Vertigo Smith, Escape Act, Junior Johnson, Cat Molojian, Seven Summits and The Monts; spanning a highly diverse range of styles and genres.

From a music industry perspective, the potential of UnConvention to boost the industry locally and further afield was recognised by key sponsor, Belfast City Council. Councillor Michael Browne, Chairman of BCC’s Development Committee comments “Belfast City Council is committed to helping support the development of the creative industries in our city which, if nurtured and supported in the right way, have the ability to make Belfast truly competitive on the global stage. UnConvention provides an exciting opportunity to showcase Belfast’s eclectic music scene and musicians and provide useful networking and business development opportunities for those working in this sector.”

Attendees can that Rich Dale, Tracy Dempsey, Nick Fitzsimons, Jennie McCullough and Andy McMillan for organising the event.