Brighton Music Conference (BMC) was always going to be a headline creator. Superstar DJs rubbing dancing shoulders with world beating production companies, software creators, and game-changing educators. But the two day event which took place at Brighton’s British Airways i360 in May was more than just headliners. It was about the content and the connections being made by creators, artists, musicians, promoters, label managers, A&R, campaigners and DJs. A much needed meeting of electronic music minds by the seaside.
Now in its ninth year, BMC was a celebration of our electronic music community. After its two year COVID break the energy was at Duracell bunny levels with students, professionals, business leaders and DJs excited to be back in the room, literally, as panels, talks, demos, masterclasses and networking, oh the networking, allowed us to revel in the post-lockdown contacts we were all making again.
Diversity was so much more than a buzz word at BMC as Shesaid So’s Nikki McNeill ensured female and non-binary participants were not only represented but engaged with thought provoking panels including Discussions on the Creative Economy with artist and producer Carly Wilford, Jameel Wollaston from Patreon and He.She.They’s Steven Braines (long may he reign!), Creating Effective Platforms for Developing Diverse Talent and Inclusive Environments with Jenni Cochrane of Moving The Needle, Morgan Deane of Lasher Louis and Owyn Sidwell from SidxSide Management and the brilliant Gender Representation in Record Labels in association with Lady Of The House, with Charlie Tee, Connie Chow, Sarah Beaumont and LOTH founder Laila McKenzie.
If anyone can help secure gender parity in the electronic music industry Laila can, with her sheer determination to effect the change she wants to see leading to the creation of Lady Of The House’s new record label. Featuring only female and non-binary producers and with LOTH god-mothers Jaguar, Sam Divine, Charlie Tee and Becky Hill onboard as A&R advisors, the label’s announcement brought proud smiles to BMC as Lady Of The House, partnered with Labelworks, stepped up to find and support the soundtrack of our female and non-binary futures.
Electronic music provided the backbone to BMC with BIMM Institutes Creative Hub, and Water Bear College Of Music’s educational sessions covering everything from vocals and software, radio to promotion, remixes and producing as well as earning a living and looking after one’s mental health. The Label Lounge at the Tempest Inn provided every piece of A&R business you could need as artists connected to labels including Midnight Riot, Axtone, Krafted and Sleazy Trax. DJs including Lisa Loud, Danny Lowell, Yam Who, Wax Worx, Junipr, Toby Lawrence, Oxylion & Danger and two 1BTN radio disco queers called Wildblood and Queenie (never heard of them!) kept the festival vibes fabulous beachside in the Disco Bug supported by Istreem and Gaydio. Thanks to Alex Baker and Ellie Talebain for making playing disco in a VW campervan in the sunshine possible. I believe all of us BMC Gaydio DJs owe you both a pint.
Of course you can’t get over 250 industry professionals together without throwing a party and BMC did not disappoint – delivering pinch yourself moments in the i360 Viewing Tower as Sam Divine, Dubfire and Stanton Warriors produced the Beatport Pod Party thrills, Mr C, and the Stompa Phunk crew kept the beats filthy at the Waterbear Venue, Istreem brought the vibes to Hotel Una, Lady Of The House delivered the smiles to the Southern Belle with DJs Charlie Tee, Carly Wilford and Just Her, PRS the disco grooves to Ohso Social courtesy of Mighty Mouse, Sophie Lloyd, and friends whilst Greg Wilson at Concorde 2 and DJs Jon Carter, Steve Mac, Carl Loben and gang at Block kept the farewell sweet.
As an autistic queer DJ unused to the conference life I was a little nervous of fitting into the BMC network. I needn’t have worried. My overthinking was more than matched by the thought and details behind the event’s organisation. Founder and CEO Billy Mauseth has created a team that not only loves the electronic music played, studied, signed, danced to, talked about or hoped for at BMC but one that believes in the potential and value of each person walking through their doors – lanyard and all.
From the bright eyed and naive, to the experienced and certain, every story told, lesson shared or question asked was listened to and respected, loved and connected. You left feeling taller, believing the electronic music industry you’ve chosen was right to pick you. BMC22 – a community created in just two days destined to last and sound real, real good for many years to come.