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Sŵn Festival announces lineup of sessions to inspire music sector in Wales


TODAY, organisers of Cardiff’s n Festival are excited to announce n Industry Sessions, a programme of panels and training opportunities to inspire future generations engaged in the music industry to take their career to the next stage.

n Industry Sessions will take place at Tramshed Tech on Saturday 21 October, 9:30am – 7pm as a fringe event to the festival, which runs from Friday 20 October to Sunday 22 October in Cardiff.

With a month to go, organisers are calling for people to book their place for a day of insightful talks, panels and networking opportunities. Individuals can book a free ticket to each session, and don’t need a ticket to Sŵn Festival to attend. 

Hosted by Clwb Ifor Bach and the University of South Wales (USW), Sŵn Industry Sessions is supported by Cardiff Council and the Cardiff Music Board. The event aims to build and develop the music industry in Wales for now and the future. It also contributes to Cardiff Council’s ongoing strategy to place music at the heart of the city’s future and its commitment to talent development and innovation in music production and performance as part of its Music City work.

Cardiff Council Leader and Chair of Cardiff Music Board, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: “Sŵn Festival is all about providing a platform for new artists, but the music industry also needs promoters, labels, managers and more – people who understand everything from funding and law to press and publishing, as well as the latest innovations in production and performance.

“These industry sessions are the first of many exciting opportunities we’ll be bringing forward over the coming months as we continue to deliver Cardiff’s music strategy. They aim to secure a pipeline of talent, providing opportunities and inspiration for people just starting out, and with production and performance technology changing faster than ever, helping those already working in the industry to stay equipped for the future, so that music in Cardiff continues to grow and flourish in years to come.”

On the day, sessions and talks will be run by music industry experts from Wales, London and beyond. Attendees will also get the chance to engage and network with representatives from the best sector partners and organisations such as Performing Right Society, The PRS Foundation, Phonographic Performance Limited, The Musicians’ Union, Arts Council of Wales, Anthem, Tŷ Cerdd, University of South Wales, The Music Managers Forum and Sŵn.

The Music Managers Forum (MMF), the organisation that represents more than 1,500 UK-based music managers, will contribute to the Sŵn Industry Sessions by hosting a keynote interview with Ignition Management founder Marcus Russell on Saturday morning. Born in Ebbw Vale, Marcus remains one of the UK’s most experienced music executives, founding Ignition in 1983 and working with the likes of Electronic and The The before steering Oasis to supernova success in the 1990s. Along with partner Alec Mckinlay, Marcus continues to manage Noel Gallagher, alongside artists including Amy Macdonald and Hard Fi, as well as overseeing the Oasis catalogue. Marcus also set up and owns the independent record label Ignition Records, currently handling releases for the likes of Stereophonics, Far From Saints and Courteeners. 

Complementing this session, The MMF will host a series of ‘essential’ workshops, covering topics including recording and publishing rights, live and touring, negotiation skills and all other areas where managers require knowledge to kickstart and maximise their careers. These activities are backed by funding from Creative Wales as part of a concerted strategy to provide professional development support to Welsh-based music managers and the wider Welsh music business. 

Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive of the Music Managers Forum commented: “I am absolutely delighted that the MMF can contribute to the Sŵn Industry Sessions, and the keynote with Marcus Russell should be absolutely essential to any aspiring or upcoming manager. As well as being hugely passionate about Wales and Welsh culture, Marcus is simply one of the world’s most successful and experienced music executives. Thanks to support from the Welsh Government and Creative Wales, the MMF is now building a really strong network of Welsh-based managers, and I hope these activities will further cement that work.” 

The University of South Wales will be hosting three sessions as part of the Industry Sessions programme, including “What on Earth just hAIppened? Breaking creative barriers through the use of emerging music technology” at 3pm. Here, music producers Damon Minchella and Tom Manning (who’ve worked with some of the biggest names in UK music since the 1990’s, from Iggy Azalea to The Who) will demonstrate the creative power of emerging technology, creating and producing a brand new song in real-time with the songwriter and performer Kate Westall. USW’s immersive AI light and sound experience “PIXEL” will also be running all day at Tramshed Tech followed by a networking social from 5pm.

Lucy Squire, Head of Music and Drama at University of South Wales said: “We are excited to showcase a cutting-edge programme of technology and innovation at Sŵn where the audience can see, hear, touch and discuss how AI is being used for musical and audiovisual production, whilst also addressing the possible ethical, industrial and social consequences of its use.”

Other sessions include insights into funding, publishing, touring, festivals, promoters, managers, labels and lawyers as well as press and radio – perfect for anyone looking to cut their teeth in the music industry.

The last Sŵn industry session took place five years ago as a two-day conference at USW’s Cardiff Campus. In 2022, n Festival returned to full-scale for the first time since 2019, with 120 acts featuring across 9 Cardiff venues. Partnering with Tramshed Tech to deliver an exciting day of innovation, technology and practical support, this year’s n Industry Sessions expands the n Festival offer to re-instate opportunities for music industry practitioners to develop their skills alongside the festival programme.

Sŵn Festival is an award-winning multi-venue music festival bringing hundreds of artists to the heart of the Welsh capital. This year is no different, with the lineup boasting over 100 artists from Cymru and beyond. Part funded by the Welsh Government, Sŵn shines a spotlight on the diverse and exciting contemporary music coming out of Wales with names like Cerys Hafana, Minas, Half Happy and Gillie on the bill. 

Keep your eyes peeled for more from Sŵn as more industry names and organisations attending Sŵn Industry Sessions will be announced, but for now head to swnfest.com/swn-industry-sessions for more information and to get free session tickets (limited availability).

Free tickets to the industry sessions on Saturday 21 October are available here.