As festival goers flocked to venues around Victoria on the weekend to take advantage of the talent in town for Rifflandia Music Festival, so too were musicians reaping the benefits of a city temporarily saturated with music industry professionals. Run in conjunction with the music festival, the three-day Rifflandia Gathering music industry conference offered musicians a variety of panel sessions, one-on-one mentoring and networking opportunities to help foster their music careers.
The panel sessions, stacked with diverse industry leaders, included how to book a tour, be your own manager, get a talent agent, get your music on the radio, do your own recording, select a producer, write a grant, load-in and sound check, promote your show and more. There were 20 panel sessions with 74 panelists from all across Canada and as far away as India, providing invaluable advice and interaction for emerging musicians.
“We want to work with western Canadian artists. That’s why we are here,” said Julien Desaulniers of Festival Du Voyaguer.
Wealth of information flowing today at the Rifflandia Gathering. Music industry leaders share knowledge and advice on getting an agent, industry etiquette, how to prep for festivals, and how to make your city a music community. @Rifflandia #RifflandiaGathering pic.twitter.com/aSMyzqxhqw
— Keri Coles (@KeriColesPhotog) September 15, 2018
“The positive feedback has made putting this event together really rewarding,” said Rifflandia Gathering Director Deb Beaton-Smith, speaking to the enthusiasm and engagement of the musicians and panelists.
Advice ranged from communication do’s and don’ts to industry expectations.
“Tell your story in an economical way. Nobody has time to read a novel,” said Chris Fryer of Winnipeg Folk Fest. “And with the free high quality technology available today, there is no excuse to not have a quality kit.”
Grant Paley of Paquin Entertainment recommends that musicians foster their hometown and build their audience there first.
Reaching out to those in the industry and meeting face-to-face is also key.
“It’s easier to say no to someone I don’t know,” said Julie Fowler of ArtsWells. “We want to know people who want to be a part of the community. Reach out, go to live events and mingle, invite us to your shows.”
Reoccurring in many panel discussions was the consensus on the value of showcases for emerging musicians.
“Showcasing is the best way for emerging artists to get into festivals,” said Rob Oakie, Music PEI. “You never know who is going to be in the room when you are showcasing. Bring your best. Prepare well. Most events will publish a delegates list prior to the event. Use that and invite people to your showcase. Make sure they know when you are playing.”
The industry event, now in its second year, fills a gap on the West Coast, according to Beaton-Smith, and provides a necessary role that helps to keep a healthy music community.
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