INTERVIEW: On Point Music Conference | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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What a difference a couple of years makes…the first On Point Music Conference at Stockton’s Georgian Theatre was in January 2020, before the world shut down and the music landscape changed considerably. If anything, last year’s Covid-induced online event showed just how the music scene has adapted to the new climate, and this year’s event – taking place at the venue on Friday 17th February – continues to react to the aftermath of the pandemic, taking a focus on the cost of living crisis.

The day-long music conference is run by Tees Music Alliance, and aims to offer artists and activists a chance to hear from a series of panels and round-table discussions featuring industry professionals who will discuss how to make money and keep costs down, as well as signposting information on funding and support in the region.

Music Development Manager David Saunders explains: “The cost of living crisis is having a big impact on artists (both signed and independent) being able to tour and release music, as well as actually being able to be musicians in the first place. We’re hoping that these talks and roundtable sessions will give some practical, and maybe overlooked, advice on how musicians can save money or, dare I say it, even make money from their music.”

We’re hoping that these talks and roundtable sessions will give some practical, and maybe overlooked, advice

The Keynote Discussion will come from Tees Music Alliance’s Paul Burns, Generator’s Mick Ross and Sage Gateshead’s Jo Thornton as they discuss the North East Alliance and the strength to be found in working together for the benefit of the region’s music scene. A discussion around making your money go further will follow, featuring panellists Lisa Murphy (Production Room), Laura Rothwell (Crystallised PR) and Ian Hutchinson (tour manager for Miles Kane), hosted by BBC Tees Introducing presenter and local rapper Shakk. Next up, chats around how to increase your revenue will come courtesy of panellists John Esplen (Wipe Out Music), Alannah Lamb (F54 Promotions) and Danny Lowe (Press On Vinyl), hosted by Sister Shack CIC’s Chantal Herbert. After lunch, roundtable discussions will offer support for musicians. Representatives from local development organisations include Sarah Wilson (Tracks), Helen Walkinshaw (Generator), Rianne Thompson and Lucy Scott (Sage Gateshead) and Chris Cobain (Tees Music Alliance); plus there’s reps from local music businesses including Stephen Gill (Butterfly Effect), Danny Lowe (Press On Vinyl), Henry Carden (Pay For The Piano) and David Saunders puts his NARC. Magazine hat on for the afternoon; plus there’s a planned session from fundraisers too. Entry is free, although spaces are limited so booking is essential.

As well as providing helpful information and assistance, a key part of On Point lies in being able to welcome musicians back into spaces to find commonality and camaraderie. “Aside from the valuable information that can be obtained from the day, the event brings artists and activists from around the region under one roof, which in turn creates networking opportunities, alongside a sense of community and solidarity that can be morale boosting in these tough times.” David explains.

Tees Music Alliance Chief Executive Paul Burns says: “We’re genuinely excited to be welcoming some really knowledgeable music businesses experts through our doors as part of On Point 2023. There’s a wealth of developing talent here in the Tees Valley, and getting the chance to discuss current music industry issues on home turf is an opportunity that rarely comes around. It’s shaping up to be a great day.”

On Point Music Conference takes place at The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Friday 17th February.

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