As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, a group of young Welsh music enthusiasts have been compiling a music industry conference for other young people that want to get into different areas of the music industry. The project is in collaboration with Anthem, Youth Music and Welsh Government. Beacons has hired four young consultants, Lily Beau, Sizwe Chitiyo, Llew Glyn and Alexandra Jones to curate and promote an online resource suite of insightful industry talks, panel discussions, comedic sketches and resources to help with the wellbeing of creatives. The free digital event Summit spans over three days, starting from this Friday 9th April until Sunday 11th April.
The conference comes one year after music venues in Wales were forced to close, and at a time when many young people’s careers have been put on hold. The four young consultants recognised a need for additional support for those struggling to get a head start in their career. The event is significant for young people because it is going to illuminate pathways, educate them and provide opportunities for expanding networks. For various reasons, including a lack of infrastructure, there aren’t a great deal of opportunities throughout the Welsh music industry. Musicians see some support, however there has never been a support system in place for those who wish to work in the Welsh music industry behind the scenes. The organisers share that the aim of the conference is to move on from the idea that getting into the industry is about who you know, and making information and opportunities accessible and free to all.
In the development stages, the group of Young Consultants were encouraged to meet in focus groups to identify their experiences and any barriers they faced in getting into the music industry. They acknowledged issues such as lack of representation, a disconnected rural Wales and an unclear route to a career in music. The creation process of the conference included talks about how they could make Summit different to the standard industry conference. The design of the event includes user exploration, so people can get lost in the portal of Welsh music industry knowledge and conversation.
Alexandra Jones, one of the Young Consultants says, “I don’t have enough fingers to count the amount of times I’ve been told that I need to move to London in order to get a good industry job. I say, let’s build upon a thriving music industry in Wales and create our own industry jobs, because we definitely have the talent for it.”
Spike Griffiths, Youth Development Officer for Beacons says, “With so many young people keen to get into the industry, this is the perfect time to connect them with experts in different areas who can give them the knowledge and insights they need to kick start their careers.”
There will be panel talks about how to become a musical tastemaker, how to create digital content, ways to make a portfolio career, how to forge a career in radio, A&R, promoting in the current climate and PR as well as how to navigate the avenues of making money from music. There will also be discussions about issues that the LGBTQIA+ community face, as well as how to deliver political messages through music.
Speakers include Sophie Williams, Ketnipz, Rebecca Llewellyn, Owain Schiavone, Ellis Lloyd Jones, Gabriel Bernal, Asha Jane, Simon Parton, Tumi Williams, Lily Conway, Faith Adams, Ellie Wood, Sarah Morgan, Endaf Roberts, Caitlin Whelan, Luke Priestly, Casper James, Lloyd Best, Shash Appan, James Prendergast, Andrew Ogun and so many more!
The digital event is completely free and accessible to anyone who would like to get involved. Tickets can be claimed at www.beacons.cymru – the sign-up process is simple and you’ll be sent a link and ticket to your email account.
The impressive interactive website has been designed by nine female artists living and working in Wales and even includes a virtual toilet! Artists include Caitlin Doleman (Caitlin Doleman Art) designed the poster and the Community/Wellbeing section. Erin Julian (Erin Mali Art) designed the Homepage. Charlotte Fahey (Loafus) designed the DIY Series artwork. Lois Jones (Lois Jones Illustration) designed the artwork for the Forum. Mari Phillips (Mythsntits) designed the virtual toilet space. Molly Spicer (Moll Spider) designed imagery for the Infographics section. Carys Elen Jones (Paent of Milk) designed the artwork for the quick fire “Doorstopping” interview area. Beth Blanford (Blandoodles) designed the Listening Booth area. Megan Fretwell designed the Cinema area. There is so much to see from these incredible artists!
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