Since its birth in 2010, Wide Days has grown into a superb ambassador to showcase Scotland’s music industry and its musical talent.
Born To Be Wide was founded by journalist, Olaf Furniss in 2004, and Wide Days was born later in the country’s capital city. 2018 is looking like its strongest year ever and this weekend will play host to an eclectic range of panels, showcases and much more. His aim was to create an event that took the best of what he enjoyed from other conventions and something that wouldn’t be stale or counter-productive for those attending.
A Modern Way Management & Recordings co-manager, Michael Lambert joined Born To Be Wide in 2009 bringing his own industry skills to the table. His experience as a musician and his subsequent move into artist management meant that he had a real insider knowledge when it came to how musicians need to progress and the tools and support they need.
It’s clear from speaking with Furniss and Lambert that there is a real passion for what they do. Behind the scenes, the amount of work that is put into ensuring that there’s a harmony between the core elements that make up Wide Days is sometimes overlooked, but more often, not seen.
This year, it was announced that Wide Days would be part of the PRS Foundation Keychange initiative whereby a pledge has been made towards achieving a 50/50 gender balance across festivals by 2022. Glancing, even just briefly, at the programme, it’s clear that this has been incorporated, but it’s important to say that this has always been something they have been consciously supporting.
Some of the convention panel highlights this year include:
Access All Areas with Gideon Felman
An introduction to how venues, festivals and musicians can improve access for disabled music fans without incurring costs, what assistance is available for improving facilities and where to access specialist information.
50/50 Festivals In Partnership With PRS For Music with Sarah Kiely, Stuart Fleming, Nick Roberts, Bev Burton, Runa Strindin, Nicola Meighan
As festivals with male-dominated lineups are increasingly the focus of criticism, we look at what role the wider industry can play towards creating more balanced bills and what factors are holding up change.
10 Things… I Hate About You with Bev Burton, Colin Keenan, Olivia Sime, Iain Scott, Emma Zillman
Wide Days have invited agents and promoters to vent about what drives them mad about each other and look at what steps can be taken to create greater harmony in the live business.
One of the most important panels for us will be the Staying Healthy On Tour In Partnership with Help Musicians Scotland. Having invested time this year in exploring mental health more as a site with side projects, we have had so many conversations with musicians, tour managers, techs and more about how detrimental it is to be on tour at times. Now that Help Musicians are more established in Scotland, it’s the hope that more of these conversations will be had and Wide Days is a fantastic starting point.
Another side to the convention is the ever-important showcases. The positive here is that you are not rushing about or planning a full week in advance around hundreds of artists. Instead, you have Crystal, Edwin Organ, Strata, Lucia, Rascalton, Wuh Oh and Zoe Graham.
With the help of industry insiders, these musicians were selected and will be showcasing free shows over Friday 20 April over various venues.
One of the highlights this year is jazz collective Strata. Led by percussionist Graham Costello, they are one of the most exciting and innovative artists this year. Their musicianship is faultless and have gained a notable reputation for their live performances.
It’s clear that Wide Days are serious about Scotland’s music industry and the talent we have to export. As well as the strong business elements, there is heart at the centre of what they do. The desire for artists to progress to the next level and the push they put behind this as an aim has to be taken seriously. For me, this year has taken a step up and it feels more rounded, ambitious and relevant than ever before.
Wide Days takes place 20 & 21 April – limited passes available HERE
Full convention information: HERE
Full showcase information including ticket links: HERE