There are a lot of incredible conferences out there. Certainly, there’s no shortage for the artist that wants to get out there, network their butt off, and really take charge of their career. But where to start?
Today, we’re highlighting some of the lesser-known conferences that have long been some of the best-kept secrets in the industry for incredible value, affordability, and networking opportunities galore.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to not only attend these, but submit your band to play at them.
Launch Music Conference and Festival
Launch is actually the first conference I ever went to, and it completely spoiled me. Held in the adorable town of Lancaster, PA, this 3-day conference is learning by day (panels and workshops) and a party at night (tons of showcases with emerging and major talent alike). It caters to the emerging artist in so many ways, not the least of which is that it’s a perfect place to get your feet wet with networking.
Because it’s such a small, intimate atmosphere, and because of the way the festival is designed, you’re practically guaranteed one on one facetime with the panelists, and you just can’t replicate that kind of access—it’s practically unheard of. Not only that, you really get to know the people around you, and because you’re all sitting in a room, learning, eating lunch, hanging out together for 5 hours a day, you have plenty to talk about and it makes for easier networking for even the most introverted of us.
Plus, Lancaster is not only cute, it’s crazily affordable so you won’t break the bank on this one.
A3C Festival & Conference
Coming back bigger and better than ever and with a new home at The Atlanta Convention Center, A3C is packed full of keynotes, panels, mixers, demos, and sessions with exhibitors and activations featuring some of the most innovative companies in music, tech, film, and entertainment.
CD BABY DIY Musician Conference
This cozy conference turned well-known entity may not be as small as it once was, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as fantastic an opportunity to get in front of some really influential people. In many ways, CD Baby is the perfect combination of coze and practicality—they always have an incredible mix of heavyweights and newer voices, and the panelists are generally fairly accessible, if not right after their talk then seen wandering around the halls over the weekend-long festival. It’s one of the more affordable festivals to attend, and given that it’s designed by a company who has been working with emerging artists and anticipating their needs for over a decade, it’s a really solid stand out.
East Coast Music Conference
Coming back to Norfolk, Virginia, ECMC brings music and tech together for musicians of all levels—connecting them with fans across the country. In the first 2 years the festival saw over 10,000 attendees and shows at nearly a dozen unique venues including breweries and rooftop shows/
Red Lodge Songwriters Fest
This one of a kind festival is part fest part retreat. Tucked into the adorable Montana town that is Red Lodge, the area transforms for the weekend into a gathering place for songwriters and fans from around the country and allows the writers and performers to find inspiration in the mountain setting while networking with a tight-knit songwriting community.
This multi-city event is jam-packed full of panels and workshops on a variety of topics from marketing to production, audio, to publicity. It has been host to Grammy Award-winning producers, engineers, and a slew of other industry professionals and covers the more audio-centric side of things that most conferences miss, like beat making and mastering.
What better place to get your Americana on and network with your people than Nashville's Americana Music Festival and Conference? They just celebrated their 20th anniversary, making this one festival that has the benefit of longevity as well as intimacy in their live performances, panels, and seminars that are all geared towards the independent Americana artist. Unique in their approach is that in addition to the normal stuff, they also cover the ever-changing needs of artists from the perspective of industry vets.
I absolutely love the feel of Indie Week. A conference by day, intimate and ripe for networking opportunities with the other attendees as well as the panelists, but also full of opportunities to connect after hours in the many shows around the city, Indie Week is a great combination of learning and rock n’ roll. (or singer-songwriter, or blues, or hip-hop—they feature a lot of genres)
It was the second conference I'd ever been to and during the first hour, I met someone who would go on to completely transform my career (not to mention becoming one of my closest friends) It's a beautifully immersive, collaborative experience and it's perfect for beginners and seasoned artists alike.
There are a ton of conferences out there, just waiting for you—all of them unique in their opportunities. You just have to find your perfect fit.
Electric City Music Conference
This Scranton, PA festival takes over downtown for the weekend as it transforms into a hotbed of music and talent. Scranton will play host to tons of artists in its bars and venues, bringing a mix of national and local talent, making it a prime place to network.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placements on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, Spotify and more. Having spoken at SXSW, CD Baby DIY Musician Conference, CMW, Indie Week, and more, she still loves nothing more than Cookie Monster ice cream, cuddles with her pup Sawyer, and a good show to binge-watch. Join her for her free Masterclass ‘How to gain your next 1,000 fans. 3 simple steps that lead to higher engagement, sold-out shows, and life-changing opportunities’.