The life-changing potential of Wide Days and goNORTH

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of cause and effect, those little twists of fate that have potentially life-changing consequences.

If PAWS hadn’t played at last June’s goNORTH, they wouldn’t have been seen by Alex Knight, the label boss who subsequently signed them to FatCat.

However, Alex wouldn’t even have been in Inverness had Olaf Furniss not tipped him off after being so impressed by PAWS at his own Wide Days event in Edinburgh a couple of months earlier.

Just last week, Olaf spotted the promo video of Quickbeam’s gorgeous debut single Seven Hundred Birds on my Facebook page. Had I waited another day to post it, it would have been too late for Olaf to rip up the Wide Days 2012 programme and offer the band a showcase slot at next month’s event, which is precisely what happened.

It’s no coincidence that Wide Days and goNORTH increase the likelihood of these happy accidents happening. If you’re an artist with a desire to get your music into the hands of people who could progress your career, or if you have ambitions of working in the music industry, then turning up at either event is as smart a move as any.

For the uninitiated, both are music conferences with a mixture of daytime seminars/workshops and evening showcase gigs and they’re run by – and attract – genuinely good, passionate people.

The third annual Wide Days is at Edinburgh’s Teviot on April 11-12 (tickets). Panel discussions will cover topics such as getting gigs abroad, music innovations, online audience-building, music tourism and playing at sporting events. The one with most potential for carnage is called ‘A&R You Brave Enough?’, in which musicians are invited to submit a track for an honest appraisal from an A&R panel.

The showcase gigs on April 12 are free for anyone to attend, but ticketed:

The Third Door – Michael Cassidy, Quickbeam (tickets)
Electric Circus – Donna Maciocia, Honningbarna, Lady North (tickets)
Sneaky Pete’s – Honeyblood, Homework (tickets)

The 11th goNORTH takes place across several venues all within walking distance of each other in Inverness on June 6-7. The seminar schedule hasn’t been released yet, but artists hoping to get on the bill of one of the showcase gigs (there are at least a dozen) must apply before the April 1 deadline.

Some of the artists chosen will secure additional slots on the goNORTH Festival Tour, which includes Belladrum, Wickerman, Summer In The City, B-Fest and Loopallu. One act will also be invited to play three European festivals – Play (Belgium), Freeze (Netherlands) and SPOT (Denmark).

All goNORTH showcases, seminars and workshops are free and open to the public.

Previous posts:
– What I learned at Wide Days 2011
– GoNorth 2011 review

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