Posts Tagged ‘unconvention brisbane’

You may remember that about this time last year I posted about an even called Unconvention. The set up will be pretty similar to last year’s event, featuring a discussion forum, networking event and musical showcase. However they key difference in the 2011 event will be the addition of a workshop! Complete details and full program can be viewed here and tickets can be bought here. I’ve said this a million times, but the event last year was a complete invaluable experience for me, and I’m certain this year’s will be as well. Hope to see some of you there!


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Day 2 of Unconvention Brisbane started with a networking sessions. But rather than just chucking us all into a room and seeing what happens, we got paired up speed dating style. This was pretty beneficial for those of us who are pretty shy, and gave us the opportunity to meet a pretty wide range of people.

From there, the Unconvention crew hosted a sausage sizzle for us while winners of the band competition Calais and Freak Morice played a few tracks. The music was of surprisingly high quality considering how young all of them were!

After lunch was the first panel of the day, Music and Media, led by journalist and blogger Andrew McMillen. The rest of the panel was of extremely high calibre, featuring Matt Hickey (Co-editor whothehell.net), Crystle Fleper (Editor, Faster Louder QLD), Chris Harms (Editor, Rave Magazine), Steve Bell (Editor, Time Off), Michelle Brown (4ZzZ), and Matt Rabbidge (Lick It Media). This segment was definitely the most interesting to me because it discussed mixing a passion for music with blogging, journalism, radio, marketing, publicity etc. I loved hearing about everyone’s different experiences in street press and blogging, as well as learning some tips and tricks of the trade.

The next sessions was Music as a Culture, led by Ian Rogers (independent artist, researcher of underground music). The panel featured Andrew Stafford (author, Pig City), Everett True (music critic), Kellie Lloyd (QMusic, Screamfeeder), Andy Bennett (Center for Public Culture and Ideas), Cam Smith ((Founder, Incremental Records / Music blogger, Before Hollywood), Tom Hall (media artist).

Compared to the previous sessions, this one was more interesting than ‘valuable’ per se. The group was there to discuss the value of music within society, but it really turned into a free for all. There was everything from discussions on hair cuts, breaking out into song and important insight into ‘why do you we play music’. There was a quote by Everett True that pretty much summed things up for me, “The only reason I wrote about music was to make sense of my own life.” I’m sure there’s more than a few people out there who could relate to that.

The weekend was an invaluable experience for me. It was enlightening to hear people’s views on the ever changing music scene in Brisbane, and it certainly gave me a more positive perspective on it. If you didn’t get to make it this year, I would highly recommend it for next year.

*Photos courtesy of Andrew McMillen from the Unconvention Twitter feed. Also apologies if I missed out on any panelists, things seemed to get changed around a little bit on the day.

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I was a little unsure of how all of this would work going into it. I basically thought it would be a lot more formal, and a lot more serious. Thankfully though the mood was kept pretty light, and I especially liked the whole ‘no egos’ idea that Maggie brought up at the start of the day. While I stayed as my shy self and didn’t ask any questions, there were definitely some interesting points brought forward.

The day started with Music as Service, led by Maggie Collins (band manager, Triple J presenter). The rest of the panel consisted of Kathleen Hore (publicist with Secret Service), Nick Smethurst (promoter and musician), Sam Beck (Lick It Media), Jesse Barbera (Fans Group), and Nick Braban (owner Bar Soma).

The discussions revolved around how to independently perform, promote, manage, tour and sell music. Various points were covered, such as the importance of volunteering, and at what point does a band need a manager. The DIY ethic was discussed, and I recall someone saying “DIY is not just scrappy punk rock anymore”, instead saying that the term “We’re here to do it together” fits a lot better. It was also interesting to see different people’s perspectives on booking agents, and why international bands don’t play in Brisbane.

The next session was Music as a Product, led by Tim Price and Sarah Hamilton of Musicadium. The panel featured Simon Homer (Plus One Records), Blair Hughes (Founder of Brisbane Sounds), Sally McPherson (music lawyer), Shayne Locke (Cowbell Digital Music), and Jaymis Loveday (Create Digital Media). The discussions centred on how music can be sold and traded as a product.

Without a doubt this was the most useful session of the day for me. The group has some very forward thinking ideas on downloading music. For the most part, everyone agreed that downloading is here and downloading is happening and there is really no way to stop it. The panel suggested to embrace downloading and use it as a promotional tool. They suggested to focus instead on other income streams such as merchandise and live shows.

There were also some valuable discussions about the internet as a marketing tool and the importance of not only social media such as Myspace and Facebook, but in also owning your own website.

The final talk of the day was Music, Technology and Entrepreneurialism led by Nick O’Byrne (general manager of Australian Independent Record Labels Association). The panel consisted of Julian Hewitt (music lawyer), Lawrence English (composer and media artist), Stephen Green (music entrepreneur), Hans van Vliet (musician). While this wasn’t quite as valuable in terms of learning about the industry, it was great to hear some first hand experiences from these people. I found it particularly interesting to hear how Stephen Green started his career by saying yes to every opportunity, and hearing about where those experiences have taken him. It was a bit daunting though to hear some horror stories from Lawrence English about smoke alarms and fire trucks and trying to re-organise a festival from the middle of nowhere in Antarctica (thought I’d like to think I’ll never get myself into that particular situation…).

Unfortunately I left before the live showcase. If anyone did go to that, I’d love to hear how it went. The day was a blast, albeit a tiring one. My brain was (and still is) overloaded with all sorts of ideas. Stay tuned for my wrap up of day 2!

Photos courtesy of Andrew McMillen from the Unconvention Twitter feed

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This coming weekend, June 12-13, Unconvention Brisbane will be held at The Edge in South Bank (near the Cultural Centre). Unconvention is a world renowned not for profit music conference for DIY and independent promoters, labels, entrepreneurs, writers, technologists, innovators and artists. The creators stress that they aren’t concerned with “discovering rock stars” but instead would rather focus on the community within the city who want to work in the music industry. The goal of the conference is to bring like-minded individuals together to discuss the future of music in Brisbane and how it will change and develop over the coming years.

The conference is held over two days and features panel discussions and networking events, as well as a free, all-ages independent music showcase on the Saturday night. The main panel discussions address ‘music as a service’, ‘music as a product’, ‘music and media’, ‘music, technology and entrepreneurialism’ and ‘music as culture’. Some of the speakers include Everett True, Andrew Stafford, Andrew McMillen, Steve Bell, Maggie Collins and many many more. Check out the full program here.

The music showcase will feature local Brisbane acts Laneous & the Family Yah, Lion Island, the Cairos and Hunz.

This sounds like an exciting opportunity to get involved and be part of the discussions about the ever changing music scene in Brisbane. Not to mention a chance to put faces to a few names (for me at least!). Hopefully, if the conference is successful, this can become an annual event to help build a strong local community.

Tickets are priced at $20 for access to both days. Click here to book via OzTix. Come and say hi if you see me there!

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