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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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MVT’s Revive Live showcase heads to ILMC

The Music Venue Trust’s Revive Live initiative, which played a significant role in restarting the UK’s grassroots sector, is coming to ILMC 34.

The scheme, which spotlights the best emerging talent as well as bringing household names to small venues, was launched in July 2021 with support from the UK National Lottery, which contributed £1 million to directly underwrite the touring and production costs of hundreds of live performances.

ILMC returns in-person to London’s Royal Garden Hotel from April 26-29. Revive Live will make its ILMC debut with a showcase at Notting Hill Arts Club – a 10-minute walk from the Royal Garden Hotel – from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 27 April (doors at 18:30), enabling delegates to make it back for MVT’s Pop Quiz, which begins at 9.30pm. The Revive Live line-up features Heartworms (7.10pm), LibraLibra (7.50pm) and LIFE (8.30pm).

In addition, ILMC will also present its annual Access All Areas programme, which allows access to registered delegates to catch some of London’s hottest shows using just their conference pass. The series of shows are available courtesy of Kilimanjaro Live, AEG Presents, MVT, Paradigm & Pitch & Smith.

Access All Areas kicks off on Tuesday 26 April with shows by George O’Hanlon (Camden Assembly, 7pm), Holy Fuck (Village Underground, 9pm), Salem (Camden Underworld, 9pm) and Luca Wilding (Omeara, 9pm).

It continues on Wednesday 27 April with Chuck Ragan (Islington Assembly Hall), Baby Queen (Electric Ballroom), Highasakite (Academy Islington), My Dad Wrote a Porno (London Palladium), Tamera (Colours Hoxton), Midlight (Signature Brew Haggerston), The Oxley-Meier Guitar Project (606 Club), José González (Roundhouse) and Diskopunk (Queen of Hoxton).

Elsewhere, Thursday 28 April will feature Xentrix (The Underworld), Wilko Johnson (Islington Assembly Hall), Stone Broken + Mason Hill + The Fallen State (Electric Ballroom), What The France X Kili presents: Terrenoire + November Ultra + Eugenie (Courtyard Theatre), Honne (O2 Academy Brixton), My Dad Wrote a Porno (London Palladium), Noah Slee (Colours Hoxton,), Morganway (The Half Moon Putney), Neil Angilley (606 Club), Kitty Fitz + Vogues + Pink Shabab (Cavendish Arms), Piri & Tommy (XOYO) and Bad Boy Chiller Crew (O2 Forum Kentish Town).

The series will then culminate on Friday 29 April with Desertfest (Electric Ballroom), Melodaze (Folklore), Pomme (Omeara), My Dad Wrote a Porno (London Palladium), Pynch (Colours Hoxton), Mariachi Las Adelitas UK (Rich Mix), Andy Fairweather Low & The Low Riders (The Half Moon Putney), Samara (606 Club), Jessica’s Brother + Tummyache + Symbol Soup (Cavendish Arms), Mae Muller (O2 Forum Kentish Town) and Naked Lunch with Simone Marie Butler (DJ) + Japanese Television (DJ) + Lonelady (DJ) from 10pm.

Full information about this year’s gathering of the international live music is online at 34.ilmc.com, including details of how to register.

 


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Bulgaria gains first music showcase and conference

Bulgaria is set to gain its first music showcase and conference festival this spring.

Spike is scheduled to take place between 26-28 May in Plovdiv, one of Bulgaria’s most historic cities.

The event will welcome music business delegates from over 12 countries, including the US and Canada.

The content of the conference will cater to executives in artist booking and management, publishing, royalties, and sync licensing, digital technology workshops and equality and diversity in the music industry.

The event was founded by Boyan Robert Pinter of Bulgarian promoter Pan Harmony, who says: “The festival’s primary goal is to create learning and networking opportunities for Bulgarian artists and professionals and to introduce international delegates to Bulgaria’s music scene. This will be done in the spirit of diversity and inclusivity.

“The festival’s primary goal is to introduce international delegates to Bulgaria’s music scene”

“We are very happy that our event will finally go live. When we took our first steps, we received a lot of international support, which gave us the confidence to continue building this platform for local artists and music professionals. We are very grateful to the city of Plovdiv – EU Capital of Culture 2019 – for being our gracious host, providing us with the perfect backdrop to our activities.”

The Spike showcase will take place across several locations on Plovdiv’s main street, including the Temple Bar, Bezistenа, and Rock Bar Download. A special selection of artists will be chosen to perform at the city’s Roman Stadium, downtown, which was built in the 2nd century AD.

“There are many surprises in store for our international delegates, as we’d like to them to experience the wonderful architecture, delicious food, and the hip, laid-back vibe that Plovdiv can offer,” says Pinter.

 


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Runway Artists announces four hires, new showcase

Independent UK booking agency Runway Artists is expanding its team with four new hires and launching a new live showcase event for the music industry.

Joining founder Matt Hanner (formerly of ATC Live) and agent Steve Backman (formerly of Primary Talent) at the agency are agents Dotun Bolaji and Craig Wylie, new music A&R scout Amy Greig, and assistant Heather Mosselson.

Wylie previously held positions at promoters CPL and MAMA Group, as well as London’s Roundhouse venue.

Over the course of his career, he has promoted artists including Pete Doherty, Maroon 5, Ray Lamontagne, Fall Out Boy, Madeleine Peyroux, Roxy Music and Kris Kristofferson.

Prior to joining Runway, Wylie was operating as an independent, at a grassroots level, since 2018.

“As a new agency, it’s been really exciting for us to have the opportunity to put some of our key principles into practice”

Greig has worked as a promoter for a number of London’s famous grassroots venues including The Grace and The Camden Assembly, as well as promoting her own nights at The Amersham Arms and The George Tavern.

During his time at university, Bolaji booked and promoted a number of acts that would go on to become big names, including Giggs, Chip, AJ Tracey and DJ EZ. After leaving university, he promoted London’s SuperLative Sessions.

Mosselson began her career as assistant booker for Glastonbury, where she organised the festival’s very first hip hop day in 1999.

She went on to become a senior assistant at VAT Agency before moving to Primary Talent International, where she worked as director’s assistant.

During her time at Primary, Mosselson was the booking agent for DJ Noize, MC Supernatural, Foreign Beggars, Mystro, Braintax, Skinnyman and DJ Flip.

“We’ve been able to bring in a real range of experience, knowledge and ages”

Commenting on the new appointments, Hanner says: “As a new agency, it’s been really exciting for us to have the opportunity to put some of our key principles into practice – not just in respect of our artists but also our team.

“We’ve been able to bring in a real range of experience, knowledge and ages – from a rookie agent such as Dotun, who we’ve been able to bring in as he makes his first moves in representing talent, and Amy who has worked at a grassroots level across London; through to the varied industry backgrounds of both Craig and Heather who are able to bring so much to the table as we continue to grow.”

Runway will also launch a new live showcase this month, which will see the agency collaborate with other music companies to put together line-ups of new talent.

The first edition of In Transit, at London’s Strongroom on 23 February, has been curated in partnership with independent publisher Bucks Music Group.

Beharie, Amaroun, Hallan and Catty are slated to perform at the showcase, and Steve Lamacq is billed to deliver a DJ set.

“We know we’re not reinventing the wheel by launching a showcase event, but there’s always demand from our artists”

Hanner said: “We know we’re not reinventing the wheel by launching a showcase event, but there’s always demand from our artists to play low-pressures shows, be it to test out new material, invite curious industry or just shake off the cobwebs after a couple of years of inactivity. As an agency, Runway wants to be proactive in helping our artists practically, even if it doesn’t fall into an agent’s traditional wheelhouse.

“It also gives us the opportunity to further collaborate with our friends in the industry. For the first edition, that’s Bucks but we’re looking to develop the brand in a way that means we could even accommodate artists from other agencies in the future if it made sense. At times over the last couple of years, there has been a renewed sense of co-operation across the live industry and we certainly don’t want to lose that just because touring’s back on the agenda.”

London-based Runway was one of the rafts of new agencies to launch during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It represents a number of acts including Lanterns On The Lake, A Certain Ratio, Sleeper, Art School Girlfriend, Pom Poko, Mourning [A] BLKstar, Astrid, Brother Zulu and Flo Perlin.

 


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TGE 2020 adds more acts ahead of live launch

Fourteen more acts have been added to the Great Escape 2020 line-up, ahead of the showcase festival’s ‘First Fifty’ live launch in London this week.

A total of 50 artists are now on the bill for 2020 event, which will host over 450 acts in total across more than 30 venues.

Newly announced acts include GoGo Penguin, Velvet Negroni, Larry Pink The Human and Evie Irie, joining previously confirmed artists such as Master Peace, Do Nothing, House of Pharaohs and Sons of Raphael.

Many of the TGE 2020 acts are performing tonight (Wednesday 13 November) and tomorrow in ‘First Fifty’ gigs at six venues in East London: Sebright Arms (150-cap.), the Old Blue Last (60-cap.), Colours (300-cap.), the Courtyard Theatre (150-cap.), the Macbeth (300-cap.) and the Curtain – LP Room (160-cap.).

A full list of concerts can be found here, with tickets available for £5 each.

The 15th edition of the Great Escape takes place from 13 to 16 May in Brighton, UK, with South Korea as lead country partner and core conference topics of education, media and global markets. Delegate passes are available here.

 


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IFF 2019 gets under way

The fifth International Festival Forum (IFF) kicked off today, Tuesday 24 September, with a day of speed meetings between agent and festival delegates.

IFF, an invitation-only event for festival bookers and booking agents, is taking place at venues around Camden, North London, from 24 to 26 September.

This year’s sold-out edition has doubled the amount of networking space around the main venue, Dingwalls, and introduced pop-up agency offices within, or close by, the conference.

United Talent Agency (UTA), one of IFF’s agency partners, is hosting the opening party tonight at the Camden Assembly, allowing delegates to begin their conference in style, with an evening of canapes and cocktails.

Later on, a showcase by fellow partner Solo Agency sees artists Chinchilla, Electric Enemy, Wild Front and Paradisia perform at IFF venue the Monarch.

IFF, an invitation-only event for festival bookers and booking agents, is taking place at venues around Camden, North London, from 24 to 26 September

Other showcase highlights over the next few days include Brighton buzz band Squid (ATC Live) London-based six-piece Sports Team (Primary Talent); guitar trailblazers Life (ITB); alt-rockers Happyness (Pitch & Smith); 21-year old Hull native and hotly tipped new talent Charlotte (Paradigm); and Niklas Paschburg (Toutpartout).

X-ray Touring’s showcase offering, meanwhile, includes multi-platinum-selling band the Darkness.

Conference sessions begin tomorrow, with topics including festival billing, consolidation, competition from new market entrants, gender splits on line-ups, and niche events appearing on the bill. This year’s IFF Keynote interview is Rock Werchter founder and Live Nation Belgium head Herman Schueremans.

To wrap up IFF’s fifth anniversary event on Thursday evening, a joint birthday party will be held with European metal festival behemoth Wacken Open Air (30 this year) and Japan’s Summer Sonic’s (20 this year).

Full event information can be found at www.iff.rocks.

 


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Ticketmaster signs Waves Vienna

Ticketmaster has added Waves Vienna, the Austrian conference and showcase festival, to its roster of industry events.

The company is now the lead ticket agent for Norway’s by:Larm, the UK’s the Great Escape and the Netherlands’ Eurosonic Noorderslag, and also tickets Wide Days in Scotland.

“We’re happy to welcome Vienna’s first music showcase festival, Waves, to the family,” says Jon West, Ticketmaster artist services marketing director.

“The magic of these events is their dual nature – the music right alongside the conference”

“We’ve been supporting important showcase festivals like the Great Escape, Eurosonic, by:Larm and more for many years now. We get a big kick out of supporting and spotlighting new artists, and festivals like Waves help us do exactly that.

“The magic of these events is their dual nature – the music right alongside the conference – and we have the technology and experience to handle both.”

 


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Focus Wales gears up for tenth anniversary

Welsh showcase festival Focus Wales has announced dates and released delegate passes for its upcoming tenth anniversary festival.

Taking place from 7 to 9 May in venues across Wrexham, North Wales, the festival will showcase acts from all over the world, alongside conference sessions, arts events and film screenings.

Focus Wales has released a limited number delegate passes at the super early bird rate of £80. Delegate passes give priority access to all live shows, panels and keynote talks, as well as to mixer events and the festival opening party.

Over 200 delegates attended the festival in 2019, with representatives from Glastonbury Festival, Eurosonic, Cambridge Folk Festival and BBC 6Music, among others.

“Focus Wales is a truly international affair”

Performer applications for Focus Wales 2020 are also now open to artists worldwide. The first 50 acts for 2020 will be selected in September, so artists are encouraged to submit applications early.

Over 240 acts performed at the 240 festival last year, including Neck Deep, Cate Le Bon and Boy Azooga.

“A truly international affair”, each year Focus Wales hosts a selection of dedicated international showcases. 2019 showcases included BreakOut West, Catalan Arts Music, Fira B!, Nova Scotia Music Week and WestSide Music Sweden.

Delegate passes can be purchased here.

 


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Wide Days announces mini-summit on EU relations

Scotland’s music convention, Wide Days, is hosting a mini-summit of industry figures from across the European Union to strengthen and maintain ties with Europe and develop international opportunities.

The summit forms part of the tenth-anniversary edition of the convention, which takes place in Edinburgh from 11 to 13 April, and will be attended by representatives from showcase events, festivals and export offices from nine different countries.

Topics on the agenda include the potential for European events to guest-curate stages at future conventions as part of Wide Days’ new Festival Takeover initiative, which this year sees Scottish summer festivals Tenement Trail, Electric Fields and Kelburn Garden Party each programme a stage.

The Festival Takeover also sees the launch of artist exchanges with Focus Wales and Sound of Belfast, featuring performances by Welsh band Kidsmoke and Derry-based “grumpy electro-pop” artist Roe, who recently supported Snow Patrol on their UK arena tour. Wide Days organisers hope to establish closer ties with European events through the initiative in the coming years.

“Since its launch in 2010, Wide Days has built strong ties across Europe and we want to make sure these are maintained and developed further,” says Wide Days founder, Olaf Furniss. “At the summit we will be discussing the possibility of us hosting international festivals in the future.”

“Wide Days has built strong ties across Europe and we want to make sure these are maintained and developed further”

Delegates from Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway will attend the summit. Representatives from the Dutch, German, Irish and Austrian music export offices and the French festival association Prodiss will be present, as well as a range of promoters.

Alan Morrison, head of programming at Creative Scotland, welcomes the addition of the summit. “International showcasing is a two-way street. Scottish bands need to be out there breaking new markets and building up audiences abroad, but it’s equally important that the key players from foreign territories come here and witness our talent first-hand,” says Morrison.

“The delegate presence in 2019 proves that Wide Days is a first point of destination for international agents and bookers who want to check out our dynamic and diverse music scene,” adds Morrison.

“Creative Scotland is proud to support an event that’s ultimately all about building bridges across borders and bringing musicians, fans and the industry together on an international scale.”

The panel line-up for Wide Days 2019 includes Stevie Wonder’s manager Keith Harris, Radio 1 DJs Phil Taggart and Abbie McCarthy, Radio Scotland’s Vic Galloway and representatives from Bandcamp, Soundcloud, EmuBands PPL and charity partner Help Musicians Scotland.

 


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Portugal’s Westway Lab announces artist residencies

Westway Lab, Portugal’s first showcase festival and music conference, has announced the return of its artist residency programme, which welcomes eight artists to work together and showcase material on the 10 and 11 April.

The sixth edition of Westway Lab takes place in Guimarães, Portugal from 10 to 13 April, combining artist residencies, professional conferences and showcases.

This year, the festival hosts Portuguese musicians Beatriz Nunes and João Pascoal of the Happy Mess, Lince (Sofia Ribeiro) and Captain Boy (Pedro Ribeiro). Other residencies are taken by Venezuelan singer Yosune, Italian singer-songwriter Violetta Zironi, indie-pop Austro-Slovakian duo Mickey and the Canadian pop-rock band Tribe Royal.

The festival and conference has also announced Canada as its spotlight country. The Canadian representation will be folk focused with singer-songwriters Sarah MacDougall and Megan Nash, along with folk trio the East Pointers. Music by duo Les Deuxluxes and Tribe Royal will have more of a rock focus.

“[Westway Lab is] a powerful world of possibility on a human scale”

Westway Lab again hosts the Why Portugal event organised by the Portuguese music export office, featuring local artists Neev, Marta Pereira da Costa and Vaarwell. The Portuguese Independent Music Trade Association brings Europe in Synch to the conference, a programme focusing on the training of young music professionals actively involved in sync licensing.

The festival is a member of the the European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP), which promotes European musicians across the world, and showcase festival association the Innovation Network of European Showcases (INES).

Rui Torrinha, artistic director of the festival describes Westway LAB as “a powerful world of possibility on a human scale”, outlining the consistent “quality” of the artists who have participated in the festival over the years.

A full conference programme and registration for this year’s Westway Lab are available here.

 


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