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Bringing together artists, professionals and organisations from the independent music sector, the 106th Un-Convention will take place at the 02 Ritz in Manchester on the 8th and 9th July 2021. One of the first in-person conferences of its kind in the UK since the outbreak of the pandemic, it will reflect on how the music industry has adapted over the past year, the lessons learnt, and the steps it can take to ensure a brighter future.
Speakers at the two day event include Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, who has spent more than a decade championing artists’ rights through his work with the Featured Artists Coalition, and Mark Davyd and Bev Whitrick from the Music Venue Trust, which continues to be instrumental in supporting hundreds of grassroots venues across the country. Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite will discuss his experiences as a musician and the hugely successful campaign behind the band’s most recent album, whilst organisations such as Driift and Manchester’s award-winning United We Stream (now rebranding as StreamGM) will explain how they connected with audiences around the world for some of the most memorable musical moments of 2020.
The two-day programme will explore everything from the reopening of regional music scenes to the challenges of Brexit, with panellists including artists 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 such as Trevor Dietz (Fontaines DC), Shikayla Nadine (Rebecca Garton / Levelle London) and Conrad Murray (Blossoms / The Coral / The Courteeners), plus a host of independent promoters, labels, venues and festival organisers. Alongside a speech from Manchester’s newly re-elected Mayor Andy Burnham, there will be in-depth analysis of how the independent music sector is currently holding up, as well as a showcase of twenty innovative new business ideas for the music sector, covering everything from virtual reality to mental health.
Speaking about the event, Un-Convention co-founder Jeff Thompson said:
“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.”