Three UK independent music festivals have linked up with Louder Than War to launch Off The Record, a new Manchester-based showcase and conference aimed at championing new talent.
The teams behind Kendal Calling, Sound City and Bluedot will bring around 30 new bands to six venues - Night and Day, The Castle, Gullivers, Soup Kitchen, Aatma, Ruby Lounge and Methodist Central Buildings - in the city's Northern Quarter on November 4.
The line-up will be curated by the likes of Guy Garvey, Huw Stephens, John Kennedy, Tim Burgess, and Frank Turner, plus Manchester music shop Piccadilly Records, and local writers, radio presenters, and bloggers. Each will put forward three hotly-tipped artists, defined as having been together less than two years and not yet released a debut album. The bill will not be revealed until 24 hours before the event.
Andy Smith (pictured), director of From The Fields, the promoter of Kendal Calling and Bluedot, said: “Each curator will nominate the top three emerging acts that they believe will make the biggest impact on the national stage in the next 18 months. Their combined recommendations will see the most nominated 30 acts programmed to perform. And these will be new acts, acts which have formed within the last 24 months and yet to release an album. We believe that new music is at a creative high and we will prove it with this unique event.
"We’ve taken the unusual step to not release a line-up until the event is nearly upon us. For most emerging artists a captivating live performance comes well before they have the opportunity to step foot in a professional recording studio - we want to capture the thrill of seeing something truly special and new on stage for the first time with no preconceptions."
In addition to the new music on offer, Off The Record also includes an extensive conference programme designed to address the latest industry developments and provide networking opportunities for industry professionals and fresh talent. It will feature the new guard of the music industry - label and publishing A&R, agents, bloggers and promoters.
"The networking element of conferences is very important to me," added Smith. "The idea for Kendal Calling was formed at a music conference in Kendal back in 2005, and I’ve gone on to meet brilliant people at conferences as far apart as Brighton, Norwich and Halifax [Nova Scotia], some of whom have become very key members of our team. I hope the conference will prove a very useful gathering for Manchester and the north’s music industry, whether aspiring or professional.”
John Robb, of Louder Than War, said: “As a music fan who listens to new music all the time and loves the way music culture has fast forwarded into the 21st century I am thrilled to be part of this new music conference that puts Manchester back at the centre of UK music. There is so much great new music not only to talk about and listen to but also to discuss how we get to listen to it and encourage it into the future.”
Gig passes are available from £16.50, delegate passes start at £35.