- Promote book
- Update knowledge
- Initiate fruitful EU partnerships
- Dodge sycophants
- Have fun! But not too much.
Isn’t it great when a plan comes together? In September last year I found the time and brain-space to look into attending a conference. One of the true perks of lecturing – on occasion, your institution will pay for you to go and expand your mind. Judging by the global galavants undertaken by some of my esteemed colleagues, this can take you to some truly far-flung and exotic places. Awesome! On learning this fortuitous fact, the question was, where to?
Eurosonic Noordverslag is, on appearances at least, a European version of the much-hyped festival-come-conference SXSW. Sort of. It’s location in Groningen, two hours north of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, is neither far-flung nor exotic —yet it manages to attract music-scene movers and shakers by the hundreds every year. In essence, Eurosonic is a convergence of panel talks, Q&A’s, industry meetings, festival awards and an abundance of live music performances from artists hailing from all over the EU. Unlike SXSW, it is focused entirely on the music industry.
Academic it is not, and this is one reason I was drawn to it. Events management might be taught in the classroom, but my students care about what’s going on in industry far more than they do theoretical debates. Technological developments, smart marketing techniques, monetising live music in a dynamic commercial terrain and accessing jobs in the live sector are all subjects that require far greater emphasis on events, music and artist management courses. Sadly, none of these subjects are ‘textbook’. This creates a real need for engaging with the people and places that are willing to share their knowledge.
So, is everything pretty clear at this point? Going to Eurosonic is all about my stoic dedication to staying relevant and nothing at all to do with the fact that the event looks enormously fun. Yup.
In truth, a weird synchronicity of events lead me in the direction of Groningen. Firstly, I can’t tell you how strong the urge was, after being confined to the library for several years writing my book, to break free. Not only to break free, but to tell anyone who’ll listen “I’M DONE!”. Writing is so isolating. When I finished writing Book Number One, I promised myself a year or two of conferences, collaborative industry projects and working in teams to get my social mojo back – a must before sacrificing my sanity to Book Number Two.
Also, I’ve always been a terribly narcissistic sort of promoter. I’m only really happy when I’m selling something, which may or may not be myself (I realise there is a slutty inference to be made there, but not one that’s intended). My love of the sell is why writing a book felt so alien and so uncomfortable. I wanted to be “out there” publicly promoting something or other, as I had done with Raisetheroof, my beloved clubnight, for so many years.
Now that my book is done, and out, I can flog it – that’s the fun bit. Hence this brick-wad of flyers that is currently weighing down my suitcase.
The question is, will anyone care? And do I care, if they don’t? Double pass… I haven’t even arrived yet. I’m still at Leeds Bradford airport, and I’m being way too keen for a Tuesday morning. And in a fleeting moment of sudden clarity, I grasp why my husband and in-laws call me ‘Lesley Knope’. You know. That bumbling, over-enthusiastic and annoyingly right-on blonde from Parks and Recreation?