THIS week marks the return of Scotland’s biggest music convention Wide Days, which is set to return to the historic Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh form 13th-15th April, as well as some of the city’s most popular music venues.
Born of a desire to highlight the nation’s thriving industry and to impart wisdom with the next generation of artists and professionals, Wide Days is an absolute must for students, industry professionals, musicians and those looking to pursue a career in the music industry. It’s a hub of creativity and networking – now renowned for its alumni of breakout stars, as well as its increasingly varied programming.
Over a decade on from its inception, the event’s expansion shows no signs of slowing down. This year’s convention, which is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund, begins at noon on Thursday 13th April with a varied conference programme and the newly minted Talent Development showcase, before continuing on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th April for the conference, the New from Scotland showcase, festival takeover and more.
Some of the many highlights include a newly announced in-conversation with Simon Williams, founder of Fierce Panda Records, who will also be signing copies of his autobiography, Pandamonium – How Not To Run A Record Label. His interview takes place on Friday afternoon and a full schedule is available at www.widedays.com. In addition, this year’s Local Hero will be Regular Music’s Moira McKenzie, interviewed by Bruce Findlay.
They are among a flurry of new speakers and sessions added to the event. These include a rare opportunity to hear what booking agents look for in artists and what musicians should be asking to ensure they end up working with the right person. Moreover, a panel featuring representatives from several industry conferences, will discuss setting a minimum standard for showcases, as well as outlining what their respective events offer. The session includes representatives from Waves Vienna (Austria), Mad Cool Pro (Spain), Future Echoes (Sweden) and M For Montreal (Canada).
Moreover, in a special presentation, immigration lawyer Brian Zabinski (Tamizdat / Covey Law) will outline the different requirements for being able to legally perform in the USA.
A previously announced round table focusing on how the music industry can work effectively with government and the public sector, sees the addition of presentations from Dr Adam Behr (Newcastle University) and Lena Ingversen, managing director of the Music Cities Network. She will provide a range of recommendations about how to incorporate music into the heart of local policy, which are set to be included in a handbook published later in the year.
This session combines an informal workshop format with short case studies, with the aim of fostering ideas, identifying challenges, establishing an ongoing dialogue and fostering collaborations.
The 15 Minutes of Knowledge programme also sees several additions covering a broad range of topics. They include:
- Making A Music Metaverse (on a budget)
- Working with Adaptive & Interactive Sound
- Fan Engagement – From Stone Age To Space Age
- How Not To Get Synced (avoiding the most common mistakes)
- Five Steps Towards Equitable Streaming
- 12 Months In The Music Business
The conference also offers the opportunity to book meetings with speakers and other industry delegates via the event app.
The event will host presentations on a renewable energy system that generates electricity from the body heat of audiences, music in advertising, Glasgow’s innovative musical instrument library and a new guide to funding in Europe. Moreover, a cross section of music industry professionals will take part in a panel titled Reimagining Live, focusing on what the sector could look like in a perfect world.
Inclusivity has always been at the heart of Wide Days agenda and this year organisers are offering bursary passes in partnership with digital music distribution service EmuBands, as well as childcare grants for parents facing financial challenges. In addition, presentations on neurodiversity and accessible design will form part of the programme introduced by Attitude is Everything, the UK charity championing better access for disabled musicians, industry professionals and audiences.
As part of its ongoing work to facilitate music export connections, Wide Days 2023 will present a special opportunity for artists, labels and publishers to receive feedback from a panel of music supervisors and sync agents, specialising in a range of different fields, including film, tv, games and advertising.
They include Pam Lewis-Rudden (Plutonic Group, UK), Josh Rabinowitz (Brooklyn Music Experience, USA) and Leyla Flores (Loud MB, Mexico).To ensure that delegates are prepared to capitalise fully on interest, an advance seminar will be hosted online by Patricia Carrera (Control Freaks, Mexico).
“Sync can create an invaluable source of income for artists, labels and publishers,” says Wide Days founder, Olaf Furniss. “The addition of the online workshop and the Sync or Swim feedback season aims to help artists be better placed to take advantage of the opportunities.”
Other confirmed conference speakers include Ana Rodriguez (Head of the International Music Managers Forum, Mexico), Jen O’Brian (Music Broth), Jess Partridge (Sounds & Strategy), Umong Shah (Fortitude Music/Future Echoes), David Walls (TownRock Energy) and Alesha Duncan (V&A Dundee).
The final day of the event will offer a range of networking activities including music and record shop tours, a brunch and both exotic soft drink and whisky tastings. This will be followed by the Festival Takeover, with M For Montreal and FOCUS Wales each guest programming a venue.
Following the previously announced Montreal quintet Choses Sauvages and 2019 Polaris Prize nominee Laurence-Anne, M for Montreal are also bringing to Edinburgh the intimate sparkling sounds of Club Bibi and soulful pop from Laroie. Another Saturday highlight is the Focus Wales Festival Takeover showcase presenting folk-tinged, wondrous indie pop musician Ailsa Tully and Welsh drill artist Sage Todz. Further additions to the Friday night’s New From Scotland lineup are Glasgow punks Humour, multi-instrumentalist poet Iona Zajac, indie folk singer-songwriter Tommy Ashby and an alt rock four piece Uninvited.
Platinum pass holders, speakers and event partners will also be invited to participate in a programme of daytime activities on Saturday 15th April. This includes a music-themed walking tour of Edinburgh, a delegate brunch, a record shop tour and both a whisky and exotic soft-drink tasting.
Check out the full conference programme here.