When I heard about the East Coast Music Conference (ECMC), excitement was just one of many emotions whirling in my mind.
Luckily for me, I knew of someone who could help satiate my growing curiosity concerning what I assumed to be a celebration of the music industry. Enter my friend Drew.
I knew Drew Little owned an independent music label and is the kind of guy to have his hands all over an event like this. Sure enough, he’s all over this.
“[Like any conference we’re] going to have speakers, but we’re also going to have workshops where musicians can sit down one on one with an expert and have their marketing plan reviewed or created.” Little said. “We’ve had artists apply from as far away as Brazil and Japan and actually have accepted an artist from Japan.”
Being a man of the industry himself, Drew was able to help plan this event from a different perspective.
“[At] most conferences, the musicians lament how little opportunity there is to play,” he said. “There [will be] more than 100 live performances. People [will literally be able to] walk in off the street and listen to music and participate in interactive activities.”
This event will cater to music fans, musicians, and industry leaders by “bringing the industry people and musicians together with the local fans who are really their target.” I for one think fans and musicians alike will love The Green Screen Challenge, “a competition in which attending artists will use Slover’s video suite and some expert help we provide to make a full music video during the conference.” These music videos will be shared with event goers and posted on YouTube to be voted up for a chance to win bragging rights. But that’s not the only audio-visual entertainment on deck. There will also be a film screening of Hardcore Norfolk along with a live panel.
The event will be held at the beautiful Slover Library in Norfolk, which is in close proximity to the Marriott, hosting the event’s Expo. While Little commended all the seven cities for their unique and admirable qualities, he admitted that the Slover venue and the compactness of Downtown Norfolk were immediate draws.
“We’re going to be able to have far more going on, in a smaller, walkable perimeter, than at the DIY Conference in Nashville or Mondo in New York,” he said. “That’s a function of how much great stuff is tightly packed in Downtown Norfolk.”
Little also noted a rising music culture thanks to the efforts of longer established entities such as The Norva, FM, Tap It Local and more.
“Norfolk’s support of the arts is a massive reason why,” he said of choosing Norfolk. “All the pieces are on the table: great places to eat and socialize, a wealth of live music venues, people accustomed to venturing downtown for larger events at Scope and Town Point Park, other arts organizations like the Virginia Stage Company, with whom we’ve already partnered, Virginia Opera, Chrysler Museum, The Governor’s School, and on and on.”
There are a number of ways fans and event goers could get involved.
“We have a place on the website for people who want to volunteer or apply to work at the ECMC to get in touch,” Little said. “We’re going to be doing some fun things on social media coming up so definitely follow us on Facebook and Instagram. You can always ask questions on Facebook too. Artists can apply for the programmed stages on SonicBids. If you want to play in an open mic or participate in some of the improvisational events that we’ll be offering, follow us on Facebook for announcements about those things.”
Sign me up, as they say.
According to the organizers, “The East Coast Music Conference (ECMC) celebrates the intersection of the music industry and music fans, bringing them together for 4 days of fun interaction, learning, and great live shows in surprising spaces.” This is such a fitting statement. I can say, without a doubt, that I’m so looking forward to this event. The East Coast Music Conference is just what I need in my music-loving life right now. How about you?
Note: Drew Little and the ECMC team will be speaking at Slover Library at 10 a.m. on December 5th. The topic will be A Music City Blueprint for Norfolk. The talk will cover music industry economic development and upcoming events and initiatives in Norfolk’s music industry, including Norfolk’s potential and future as a major music city. For more on that event, click here.
For more on the main event, which takes place May 10, 2018 – May 13, 2018, click here.