Un-Convention Music Conference Returns to Manchester in July

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Un-Convention, a key player in international music conferencing, has confirmed it will return to Manchester on the 8th and 9th July this year. The first wave of speakers has also been announced for the event, which will be the first in-person music conference in the UK since the pandemic.

The topic of conversation amongst artists, industry professionals and organisations will be reflecting on how the independent music sector has reacted to the Covid-19 crisis, including lessons learnt and how the industry moves forward.

Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien has been confirmed as one of the speakers in July. O’Brien has been working hard for over 10 years defending artist’s rights through the Featured Artists Coalition. He will be joined by Mark Davyd and Bev Whitrick from the Music Venue Trust who have continued their pivotal support of grassroots music venues throughout the pandemic.

Stuart Braithwaite will be discussing his career in music and Mogwai’s recent album, whilst re-elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham will also be speaking about the independent music sector at the event. Driift and the award-winning Manchester chapter of United We Stream (now rebranding as StreamGM) will be on hand to discuss how they turned to virtual streaming to keep audiences connected with music throughout lockdowns.

Also in attendance will be industry representatives such as Paul Reed (Association of Independent Festivals), Annabella Coldrick (Music Managers Forum), Lucie Caswell (Music Publishers Association), David Martin (Featured Artists Coalition) and Kelly Wood (Musicians’ Union).

Panelists will include including artists such as Laurie Vincent (Slaves), Sara Leigh Shaw (The Pearl Harts), John Robb (The Membranes), Elisabeth Elektra, Steve Lawson, LNA, Stewart Baxter (LIFE) and Andy Carthy (Mr Scruff), as well as managers Trevor Dietz (Fontaines DC), Shikayla Nadine (Rebecca Garton / Levelle London) and Conrad Murray (Blossoms / The Coral / Courteeners).

Un-Convention co-founder Jeff Thompson said: “We’re really excited to be bringing people from across the independent sector back to Manchester this July, and we feel very privileged and buoyed by the enthusiasm everyone has shown to get involved. It’s been such an incredibly difficult year for so many, but at the same time we’ve seen a great deal of camaraderie and community spirit throughout and that’s something we want to reflect on during the conference. 

“Our hope for the two days is that it gives people a chance to reconnect, to talk about how we move forward, and to discuss what we still need to fix. Our last event took place in early March 2020 and at the time there was a real optimism about the state of independent music, so really we’re hoping that we’re now at a point where we pick up some of those conversations again and see how we can work together to get artists, organisations, music scenes and the wider sector flourishing again.”

The conference takes place in person over two days at the 02 Ritz in Manchester with passes priced at £30 available via the Un-Convention website. Organisers have also set aside concessions for those adversely affected by the pandemic. Details can be found at www.unconventionhub.org

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