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The Great Escape ramps up for ‘historic’ comeback

UK showcase festival and convention The Great Escape (TGE) will return to its in-person format for the first time in two years.

TGE 2022 is set to take place next week (11–14 May) in venues across the seaside city of Brighton, with around 3,500 music industry professionals in attendance.

This year’s edition will showcase 500 emerging artists from all over the world including Baby Queen, Muna, Lynks, Moa Moa, Let’s Eat Grandma and Cassyette.

Running alongside the showcases will be a three-strand conference jointly presented by CMU, which focuses on education, data and video.

“After a two-year absence due to Covid, The Great Escape has been straining at the leash to get back to Brighton to bring the best new music from around the world into the light,” says Rory Bett, CEO of TGE promoter MAMA Festivals.

“Artists have had the gift of time during covid to really engage with their creativity. The 500 stunning bands programmed across 60 indoor venues and outdoor spaces this year, will have some very special and surprising work to perform.”

“Our conference programme seeks to tackle the key issues and questions facing the industry and we will attempt to examine them thoroughly from many different and world authority perspectives. Discovery and networking are always at the heart of TGE and with the current sense of building excitement for the show, mixed with a weather forecast of 21 degrees and a sunny, we plan to come back with a Great Escape for the history books.”

The music + education conference will take place on the first day of the 2022 event, with music educators, music development organisations and the music industry coming together to discuss the best ways to nurture early-career music-makers on and off stage.

“[We’ve] has been straining at the leash to bring the best new music from around the world into the light”

Day two will see the music and data conference, which will put the spotlight on all the ways data now drives success in the music business – from ticketing to marketing and music discovery to streaming.

Finally, the music and video conference will give an overview of how video can be a revenue generator for artists, songwriters and the wider music industry.

CMU and TGE are also presenting a series of keynote in-conversations with guests including music PR legend Barbara Charone, who will be talking through the highlights and key moments of her career in the music industry ahead of the publication of her memoir ‘Access All Areas: A Backstage Pass Through 50 Years Of Music And Culture’.

MP and culture select committee member Kevin Brennan and musician and #BrokenRecord founder Tom Gray will also be in conversation.

Elsewhere, Ed Sheeran’s legal team will be discussing the recent headline-grabbing court battle over the star’s hit ‘Shape Of You’.

Organisers of the event also confirmed Ireland as lead country partner, Music Support as the charity partner and music school BIMM as the education partner.

Delegate passes for TGE are still available and can be bought here.


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AGF to accredit uni courses on sustainability in events

A Greener Festival (AGF) will now be able to accredit university courses which focus on sustainability in the event and festival industries after gaining official recognition from the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa).

The first courses to achieve AGF’s accreditation are Falmouth University’s BA (Hons) sustainable festival management, BA(Hons) sustainable tourism management and BA(Hons) creative events management.

Accreditation by AGF means that students will gain theory and knowledge of current practice required by environmental practitioners in the event industry, both in the UK and internationally.

“AGF has had education at the core of its mission to help events and festivals reduce their environmental impact”

Teresa Moore, AGF director and lead on education and research says: “Since its inception in 2006, AGF has had education at the core of its mission to help events and festivals understand and reduce their environmental impact.

“Over the years AGF has worked closely with a number of universities to help create and deliver course content and at the same time has developed its own, acclaimed environmental assessor training courses for industry professionals.

“Having come from the higher education sector, I understand how invaluable it is to students to know that their degree course is recognised by industry bodies working in their chosen field.”

Adrian Bossey, acting director of the school of entrepreneurship at Falmouth University said: “We are really excited that our innovative degrees are the first in the world to be accredited by AGF and look forward to further developing this pioneering partnership.”


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Report: Music fuels economic growth in cities

Sound Diplomacy, a London-based music strategy consultancy, has released a 13-point manual illustrating how investing in music can lead to economic, social and cultural development in cities.

‘The Music Cities Manual’ sets out 13 steps for city councils or civic leaders to increase economic growth through music.

The manual indicates how cities can benefit from enhancing education, supporting live venues and investing in music technology. The report also lays out how to integrate music into development and regeneration strategies, helping to safeguard infrastructure while creating new opportunities for inward investment, tourism and talent attraction.

The subject of music and urban economic growth is also the focus of Sound Diplomacy’s United Nations-backed music tourism white paper ‘Music is the New Gastronomy’, used as the framework for the tourism and destination business workshop at ILMC 31.

“The Music Cities Manual helps to underline the massive cultural and economic contribution music makes to its environment”

The Music Cities Manual advises that local governments stop cutting music education funding, appoint “night czars”, support a night time economy policy and ensure arts, music and cultural venues are incorporated into local urban planning.

“This manual is our attempt to synergise our work with city leaders around the world into 13 actionable steps,” comments Shain Shapiro PhD, founder of Sound Diplomacy. “There’s huge scope for cities, regions and place shapers of all kinds to improve their communities and effect real, positive change through music.”

“A huge body of evidence supports not just the economic gains, but the social benefits from having music incorporated right across the policy landscape,” adds Shapiro.

“The Music Cities Manual helps to underline the massive cultural and economic contribution music makes to its environment,” comments Paul Pacifico, chief executive of UK trade body Association of Independent Music. “It is undoubtedly an important document for independent labels, artists and the musical ecosystem as a whole.”

The full report is available to download here.


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StubHub to invest $3m into music education

Through its charitable StubHub Foundation, secondary ticketer StubHub is to invest US$3 million over the next three years into buying musical instruments for US state schools, it announced at South by Southwest today.

Building on a 2015 commitment that has already put more than $2m in instruments into schools, the latest round of funding extends the company’s partnership with the Mr Holland’s Opus Foundation (MHOF) charity to provide more “at-risk [state] school music programmes” with new musical instruments.

“We believe that music needs to be a core component of education in America,” says Perkins Miller, StubHub’s North America GM. “Numerous studies have shown the benefits that music education plays in student enrichment and development, which is why we are proud to support the efforts of Mr Holland’s Opus Foundation and all those who help keep music alive in schools across America.”

The initiative, known as the Next Stage programme, kicks off at SXSW today, with the first school, Bedichek Middle School in Austin, Texas, receiving more than $12,000 in musical instruments. Bedichek students are today invited to a private acoustic SXSW performance by Jukebox the Ghost, and will then serve as the opening ‘performers’ for StubHub’s two-day SXSW Next Stage showcase at Banger’s in Austin.

Schools interested in the Next Stage programme are invited to inquire directly through MHOF.


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New RAH outreach scheme for tomorrow’s programmers

The Royal Albert Hall has launched a new scheme for prospective programmers hoping to break into the live music industry.

Young Producers, part of the London venue’s education and outreach programme, will give 18- to 25-year-olds the opportunity to create their own mini-series of live events. Applications opened today, with a closing date of 8 September 2017.

Successful applicants, selected in September, will embark on a “six-month crash course in programming, marketing and event manager”, culminating with two nights of events on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 April 2018.

“The Young Producers scheme will … equip those taking part with skills essential to pursue a career in the arts”

Lucy Noble, the Royal Albert Hall’s artistic director, says: “We want to give young people a voice – and a chance. The Young Producers scheme will not just allow those taking part to funnel their passion and ideas into creating unforgettable events, but also equip them with skills essential to pursue a career in the arts.

“The hall is committed to fostering a love of music in young people, attracting new audiences and creating a uniquely diverse programme, so we’re incredibly excited by this new project.”

No previous experience (or a degree) are necessary, but applications should have a “passion for the arts and an interest in pursuing a career in the creative industries”. More information is available at the Royal Albert Hall website.


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Education, responsibility key to ending EDM deaths

After a particularly lethal year in electronic dance music (EDM), industry figures came together in Las Vegas last week to discuss how to prevent future drug-related deaths at EDM events and plot a way forward for the embattled genre.

The ‘Drugs in Dance Music: It’s Time for the Industry to Act’ panel, moderated by the Association for Electronic Music (AFEM)’s Mark Lawrence, was held during the fifth EDMbiz conference on 14 June, on the eve of Insomniac/Live Nation’s Electric Daisy Carnival festival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Panellists included Maren Steiner, Insomniac’s director of health and safety, Patt Ochoa of Sustain Recovery, which provides care for drug-addicted young people, the Drug Policy Alliance’s Stefanie Jones, DJ Kennedy Jones and director Kevin Kerslake.

Stefanie Jones called for a three-pronged approach combining better education, an effective medical response and the need for the industry to “come together and look out for each other”.

After thanking and saying she was “in awe” of audience members who came onstage to share their own experiences with drugs, Jones criticised the “tiny, limited conversation about drug use” in America, saying the lack of discussion and transparency about drug use at festivals is symptomatic of a “wider cultural issue” at the heart of EDM’s drug problem.

“We have a tiny, limited conversation about drug use in this country, and that’s one of the things that needs to change”

Other panellists echoed Jones’s call for improved peer-to-peer education.

The consensus was also, however, that personal responsibility is key, and that festivalgoers should be accountable for their own actions and aware of exactly what they’re putting into their bodies.

Following the deaths of two people at Sunset Music Festival in Tampa in late May and five fatalities at Forever Summer in the Philippines the week before, the death toll for major EDM festivals now stands at 24 in the 13-month period since May 2015.

Other EDMbiz highlights included the ‘Beyond the Boys’ Club: What’s Next for Women in Dance Music’ panel, in which the Recording Academy’s Neda Azarfar said that to increase female participation in the industry would take the efforts of both men and women (“It’s about both the men on the inside […] being aware of their biases, and the women who have made it giving back ten-fold to the women below and behind”), and a presentation by Nielsen’s Matthew Yazge in which he profiled the spending habits of EDM fans, finding that they spend 35% more on music, are 68% more likely to attend music festivals and 21% more likely attend concerts than the average concertgoer.


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