This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the first annual Yellow Phone Music Conference. Even though I had the luxury of a later start to the morning, it was a groggy drive into Milwaukee for me. And no, not because I had been up with a few cans of Milwaukee’s Best the night before; in reality, my arteries had nearly stopped blood flow as a result from all the food I had consumed the previous day. (Picture me in a Culver’s parking lot with a bag of fried cheese curds in one hand while the other contained a generous scoop of chocolate frozen custard. Classy, I know.)
The daytime events were all held at the InterContinental, so needless to say the whole event was a class act. In my deep-fried haze, I might’ve felt a little out of place, but I was greeted to the YPMC with a smiling staff and probably the best swag bag I had ever received at a conference – complete with a hardcover coffee table book, t-shirt and in true Milwaukee fashion: a ridiculous amount of free alcohol.
I had a great time on my panel. It was one of the most casual and dialog-friendly discussions I’ve been involved in at a conference. We covered everything from writing a great elevator pitch and biography (one band asked an interesting question about what would be the positives and negatives of completely making up your band’s story), social media best practices, and even how bands felt about partnering with consumer brands to grow their fan base. I caught other panels that day which ranged between working with booking agents, band management and how to approach partnerships with manufacturers like Taylor and Sennheiser.
That night I enjoyed a bunch of music - a healthy mix of singer/songwriters like Jerome Holloway and rock'n'rollers like The Ragadors (both awesome - check 'em out!). A highlight for me was seeing Kate Diaz. After getting over the moment of depression I had when I realized that a 14-year-old had more musical talent than I’ll ever have, I really enjoyed listening to her voice and I was shocked at her incredibly mature songwriting. She explained that her song “At The Same Time” was about her being torn between playing music and soccer, but after listening I really just think “soccer” was a code word she gave her parents for “boyfriend.” (Don’t worry Kate, I won’t tell!)
All in all, I had an awesome day at The Yellow Phone Music Conference and highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a more mellow and intimate conference experience. Congrats to all involved on a great first year!