Unconvention @ The Edge, 12 & 13 June 2010

I really wish I’d written some notes about the first UnConvention back in June 2010. Normally I try to add a few notes to use as a basis for a post when I set it up in WordPress or alternatively copy and paste relevent tweets into the draft post to act as an aide memoire but didn’t document anything in any physical form over the two days. It’s a shame as I had so much I wanted to write about that’s now been lost to long-term memory recall. Instead I’ll have to use the post for the 2011 UnConvention, when I get around to writing that.

The highlight of the two days was the networking session on the Sunday morning. The trouble with conferences can be finding the people you want to talk to or sometimes even putting a name to a face. I can’t remember if there were name badges last year (there were in 2011, at least for the panelists) but they’re key to a successful conference, especially when coupled with a distributed attendee list (I don’t think there was one of these at either the 2010 or 2011 conference). It was good to meet a few new people, especially with Brisbane being such a small scene and with only a couple of degrees of separation between just about anyone in the scene and a lot of shared associates. It was a shame that it was mainly the attendees rather than all of the panelists as well, as it was an ideal set-up to share knowledge and experience on a much smaller scale and more directly than the panels would allow.

The main panel I was interested in was the Music and Media panel on the Sunday afternoon although from memory it was a bit disappointing. The panel was far too big and there were too many people with similar backgrounds (i.e. two street press editors and an ex-street press employee, which meant that once one of them had answered a question there wasn’t much any of the others could add. There was an amusing, nonsensical├é┬árant from Paul Curtis though. I guess I was hoping for some slightly more ‘difficult’ questions about the role of street press, whether they are really anything more than weekly listings, whether they could/should be more than they are, have proper editorials and more opinion-based features rather than just being caught in the cycle of interviews to support new releases and gigs that week, whether they do go easy on local acts (I mean when was the last time you saw a bad review of a Brisbane act: either we’re living in a cultural utopia or there’s some sort of handicap system in place where local bands get (at least) a one-star head start). But from what I remember of the panel it was more about getting to write for street press and also about how acts should approach street press to get them interested in them. As I am writing this over 18 months I might be completely wrong but I think that’s what I remember.

I didn’t take any photos of the panels over the two days (other than a few quick photos for posterity) but photographed the bands playing the showcase on the Saturday night. The showcase made it into the industry sections of street press given that the person who was given the responsibility of curating the evening managed to book a band he manages to play and was called up on the conflict of interest. Funny really,considering that BigSound do the same thing year-on-year on a much grander scale and no one bats an eyelid or says a single word about it. The showcases were good although it was a shame that more people weren’t there to see the bands play; it was noticeable that the numbers were down on those that had been at The Edge during the day. The couple of hours intermission between the panels ending for the day and the showcases starting didn’t help, with people heading off and not coming back and they missed some good performances.

Next up, my experiences at UnConvention 2011.

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