Gigbeth Conference lineup

Digital Central has the Gigbeth conference line-up for the 1st of November. Speakers scheduled for the day are David Ashworth, Dan B, Andrew Dubber, Neil Emery, John Hemming, Anthony Hughes, Cliff Manning, John Mostyn, Matt Parsons, Tim Riches, Ben Sandbrook, Robert Sharl and Chris Thompson. Information about who these people are, with links to their online presences, is at the link.

With no criticism implied I notice that they’re all blokes. Hmm.


  1. Charlotte Carey

    I also noticed the all male line up and am biting my lip and avoiding my high horse. Also aware that my research is leading me to have a particular sensitivity to the role of gender in the creative inds. Still Ruby Turner is delivering a key note.

  2. We have had the same reservations in the office. As well as Ruby we also have 6 females on our young person’s panel in the morning – they are just not on the list publicly yet.

    We’ve also been working on a female for final panel debate – but fallen a bit short on that one – all suggestions gratefully received!

  3. Sophie Smith

    It’s slightly worrying for Birmingham that in the Great Escape gets guest speakers like Michael Eavis (Glastonbury Festival), Laurence Bell (Domino), Tony Wadsworth (EMI), Peter Hook (New Order) and Rob da Bank (Radio1 / Sunday Best) whereas Gigbeth gets notables from the West Midlands music scene who may be big fish in this small Birmingham pond, but hardly shape the face of the UK music industry?

    Any thoughts?

  4. I assume you mean the Brighton Great Escape? There appear to be a number of them…

    Two opinions to this. Firstly Gigbeth is a new thing for Birmingham so it’s going to take time to bed into the national consciousness, industry-wise. I say that in the sense that there hasn’t (to my knowledge) been an industry-style conference in the city for a while now.

    Secondly we’re talking about Brighton here who, by any stretch, can kick our arses when it comes to organising this sort of thing. Let’s not be under any illusions here. I wouldn’t want to live there but you gotta respect the place for what they do well.

    Additional thought – while the “big names” might not be that impressive this does give us the chance to mould the conference into something unique to the region rather than just copying In The City or whathaveyou. I do think Birmingham needs to stop imitating and start originating these big schemes, but that’s probably another discussion.

  5. Sophie Smith

    Just by way of a follow up, why are Zoot Management not speaking on how they turned The Twang from an unsigned band who played at Gigbeth last year into a band who gained major NME attention before signing a massive record deal and released their debut album? Or how they did it with Editors before that?

    As far as I know, Nizlopi don’t seem to have done much of note since the release of the JCB Song back in the wilds on 2005.

    I’m certain they’d sell a lot more conference tickets that way, and it would probably be a more informative talk ;)

  6. On a smaller scale I’d be intrigued to know why Zoot parted ways with The Flapper. Just because I get the feeling there might be a juicy story behind it.

    I thought Brighton was a lovely place when I went last month.

  7. I saw Nizlopi at the Moseley Folk Festival and was struck by how different they were from the JCB song. I wonder if they got stuck in that Novelty Record syndrome where everyone expected them to sound like that all the time. Rather like Cornershop after Brimful of Asha. Chart success is a cruel mistress.

  8. Just to note we did a music and radio industry conference last March. It was small with a mix of national and local speakers, both academic and industry and was largely a ‘let’s get some thoughts about the region’s industry off our chest’ type event. Went fairly well and might be something to build on for future years.

    There’s a podcast of a couple of the speakers on the 4 talent site. Other speakers were Beth Appleton, V2 music, Professor Tim Wall and Ninder Johal from Nachural Records.

    As Gigbeth has an education focus the speakers lined up seem more than appropriate and many have a national reputation in their field.


  9. John Mostyn

    Sympathising with Sophie here on the sexes front but I’m sure the organisers are well intentioned. I attended the first conference and there was a fine mix of sexes there including a key note from Joan Armatrading.

    My suggestions to bring a balance would be Sue Whitehouse – managed the Darkness. Sarah Williams – music industry Lawyer, Cath Manners – manages leading classical composers – all of whom have worked for me at sometime in the last decade. Frances Anderson – local media lawyer, Katie Beswick – works with Nizlopi, the Capsule team,and Jackie from Zoot They are all serious players

    On the big names question I don’t think that’s what this is about. What was unique about the last conference was the mix of business and educators and that was of real value. No point trying to copy Brighton, much better to build on Gigbeth’s usp.

  10. Plenty of females working within the music industry that would have been interesting to have had included. We were in fact going organise a panel with the following but there was no budget, Julie Weir – A&R director of Visible Noise – responsible for Lost Prophets, Bullet for my Valentine, also runs Subverse, an all ages music event. Allison Schnackenberg head of Southern Records, instrumental in developing DIY culture and bands in the UK –
    Lisa Macey runs Zero Tolerance Magazine. I could go on…

  11. Boy Wonder

    I agree with Sophie’s first point, Gigbeth is very local, very very local indeed. For me this is not a strong enough USP particularly not for “The UK’s most diverse music festival” and for that reason alone I can’t ever see it being relevant outside the region unlike “In the City”, “Camden Crawl”, “Great Escape” or even our very own Supersonic etc. I think it is a fair enough event and wish them well but it is as significant as it wants or claims to be. The Zoot point is a good one particularly with their connections to the Editors.

  12. Just for the record, although it’s nice to be listed alongside the other quality names as a speaker, I am in fact only a humble session facilitator at the breakout sessions of the conference (I wouldn’t wish my speeches or stand up routine on anyone). To the debate around representation, I think it is important to consider the factors involved here. The ‘theme’ of the conference, the ‘timing’ of the conference, the ‘monies’ allocated to speakers and their ‘availability’. All of which may narrow down the number of people either available or invited regardless of race, sex or genre. If these are considerations that have all been explored then it’s a shame, but not deliberate or through lack of trying. If there was no consideration given to this in the first place (Which I suspect would not be the case) then cause for concern is expected and should be openly discussed. I feel that including Jackie & indeed Rob would have been a good opportunity to extend some long overdue formal recognition for, not just the success of Twang and Editors but also the years of promotion at the Flapper. There is no shortage of female names in all aspects of the industry as John pointed out and depending on budget you could go as high and as expensive as you like (Lisa Voice – who owns a publishing empire is probably so rich that she has stopped bothering to commanding fees to attend anywhere). But lets support Clare and Gigbeth to become what all of us hope it will rather than what it is not at present. It is early days and the foundation is now there to build on.

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