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Focus on DIY confirmed for Great Escape convention

By | Published on Thursday 29 March 2012

The Great Escape

Following the addition of 141 more bands to the line up of The Great Escape festival yesterday, today more details are being revealed about the CMU-programmed TGE convention, the UK’s biggest music business conference.

And new to the billing today is a series of sessions under the banner ‘DIY In The Spotlight’, specifically aimed at artists, managers and music entrepreneurs early on in their careers, and those musicians looking to self-release their own work for the first time. Bringing together key innovators from across the independent music community – plus artists, managers and marketers working on self-release campaigns – these sessions will be packed with practical advice, tricks of the trade, and inspiring stories.

Sessions will include a focus on what artists and their managers need to do logistically and legally when setting up their own music enterprise; insights on how new artists can build profile, and the importance of gigging, social media and networking in that process; a discussion about the sorts of team members and partners an artist needs to successfully go it alone and how to find and enthuse those people; and the inside track on what it’s like to set up and run an independent record label, from the founders of four of the UK’s best independents.

Already confirmed to take part in these sessions are Holy Roar’s Alex Fitzpatrick, Chris T-T, Good Lizard’s David Riley, Create Spark’s Debbie Ball, ACUMEN’s Josh Little, Sony By Toad’s Matthew Young, Memphis Industries’ Ollie Jacob, Tru Thoughts’ Robert Luis and Sentric Music’s Simon Pursehouse.

There will also be the first ever Great Escape Digital Pitch Party, at which representatives from various providers of online promotional and sell-through platforms for artists will get ninety seconds to introduce their service, three minutes to take questions, and then an opportunity to socialise and network with delegates while consuming a drink of their choice. Full details of the platforms set to present will be published next month.

Commenting on the DIY In The Spotlight strand, CMU Publisher and TGE Convention Programmer Chris Cooke says this: “There has been a lot of talk about artists going the ‘DIY’ route in recent years, especially early on in their career as labels look to sign slightly more developed talent. But what does ‘DIY’ mean in this context? Not ‘do it yourself’ for starters, because being successful at this grass roots level means putting together a team, forming partnerships, and capitalising on tools and technologies out there that can help. This programme of sessions will throw the spotlight on everything new artists and their teams need to know, and offer plenty of valuable tips for more established music business professionals too”.

The DIY In The Spotlight strand is being enabled by Arts Council England, who have confirmed they are supporting a number of activities at The Great Escape this year. Sally Abbott, Regional Director of Arts Council England, South East, told CMU: “Arts Council England are delighted to support The Great Escape festival in Brighton with £38,000 of Grants For The Arts funding”.

She added: “The Great Escape festival attracts music fans, young people and industry specialists from all over the world to Brighton and we are delighted to support it in delivering local collaborations, education and development and to promote international diversity and collaboration between artists”.

The DIY In The Spotlight strand of The Great Escape joins the other previously announced In Conversation events in the convention programme, including Xfm’s John Kennedy talking to Jon Hillcock about twenty years of championing new music on air, and The Great Festival Conversation, featuring Glastonbury’s Michael Eavis, Bestival’s Rob da Bank and three more inspirational British festival promoters.

Full details of many more sessions will be announced in the coming weeks, including those being staged by PRS For Music, who will once again present a whole strand of panels, keynotes and conversations on day one of the convention this May. Meanwhile basic details about over 75% of the convention programme is already online in the convention section at

All of which means it’s probably time to get your delegates pass – and do so before 11 April and it will only cost you a mere £120. Again, is where you need to go for that.

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