Themes of community, diversity, innovation, sustainability, change and an events industry rebooting during challenging times dominated conversations at AVA’s London Conference, which returned after a two year-hiatus last Friday afternoon. The first major industry gathering of its kind following the Pandemic, AVA’s conference delivered a programme of talks, workshops, masterclasses and panel discussions, including a roaring keynote interview between Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and Derry-born bestselling author, Séamas O’Reilly. A conversation for the ages, filled with dark humour and dance music anecdotes providing a brilliant literary start to an action packed day.
The topic of diversity was tackled by Jaguar (BBC Introducing/Radio One) NIKS (Black Artist Database) and Hannah Shogbola (Dagu / United Talent Agency) taking to the mainstage for an important conversation around The Changing Landscapes of Dance Music. Music curation, communities, and the role of social media were all tackled as platforms for diversifying music culture.
“After 2 years of collectivising and building as a community, B.A.D had the opportunity to deliver our first in real life panel at the return of AVA Printworks London. It filled my heart to bring such an important conversation to the forefront, to look out to the audience and see every chair filled with attentive eyes, ears and minds. Meeting and connecting with so many industry leaders, as well as listening and learning to an array of speakers, was a great reminder of all the talent and behind the scenes work that keeps our dance community alive. The AVA conference was truly a highlight for myself and the team, and has set an example of how to support and elevate our community in our continued mission to change the future landscapes of dance music”. – NIKS, Founder of B.A.D
Highlights of the conference were visual arts discussion between Aphex Twin collaborator Weirdcore, Irish visual artist and founder of Queer Noise Club Aja along with Matt Swoboda of Notch speaking to Creative Review. Legendary live artist and producer KiNK hosted a Masterclass, breaking down his process for all to see, breezing through the motions, animated as ever.
The pros & cons of streaming featured in brand-led discussions from Soundcloud, PRS for Music and Sentric, AFEM put a focus on sustainability in a panel while Web3 and NFT Culture cropped up – including a panel about music management post pandemic with Emerald, Georgia Taglietti, Oli Isaacs & Tom Deffee.
Patreon hosted a “Fireside Chat” with creators from Refuge Worldwide Radio, Black Artist Database and Shesaid.so – looking at the creator’s economy and discussing the differences between European music hubs. While education partner Virtuoso hosted a piece titled the Virtual Classroom with Carl Cox, Jaguar & Plastician.
Elijah’s interview drew a large crowd which will be released next week as an RA Exhange. Kode9 & Mala’s highly informative discussion with journalist Chal Ravens about London’s current landscape, black music culture, soundsystem lineages and destination specific genre microcosms such as Jungle, Grime, Drill, Jersey Club, Kwaito, GQOM, Amapiano and South African house music.
DJ Mag’s talk focussed on the impact of the pandemic on UK Nightlife – with Carly Heath (Bristol Night Time Advisor), Raji Rags (NTS Radio), NIKS (Black Artist Database), Mark Newton of (Broadwick Live) & Boyd Slater (Free The Night, Northern Ireland) – pulling out key statistics such as businesses trading at an average of 28% of their annulled pre-covid turnover in the second half of 2020.
Overall AVA London became a dedicated space for the London and international electronic music scene – bringing together musicians, producers, visual artists and key industry figures from record labels, streaming services, tech and events brands for a meaningful get together – and highly critical day discussion after two years of intense change and an industry deprived of physical events.
The Conference programme combines a series of talks and interactive sessions that play into the conference’s four key themes: Innovation, Diversity, Sustainability & Post-Pandemic. The event hosted over 50 artists and speakers across a daytime programme at the mighty venue, featuring keynote speeches from industry leaders, artist Q&As – as well as hands-on masterclasses, tech demos and workshops to make for an engaging, educational and insightful programme targeted towards young people and challenging barriers to accessing the music industry.
By Night a festival scale line up took to the Press Halls and Inwells including headliners Maribou State, Prospa (LIVE), Mala B2B Kode9, Powder B2B Hashman Deejay, KiNK, Jaguar, Holly Lester, Kessler, re:ni, Roman Flugel and many more – with stand out sets from Brame, KiNK, Prosa, and Belfast’s own Carlton Doom plus a stunning audiovisual show created by UVA and delivered by Rebel Overlay.
“AVA London was ducking brilliant.” – Irvine Welsh
“AVA was my first opportunity to meet a lot of people I’ve been talking to online throughout the pandemic and it was good to have a space to talk about all the things we care about in real life. It’s important these kinds of events happen more, in London and beyond!” – Elijah
“The AVA conference was truly a highlight for myself and the team, and has set an example of how to support and elevate our community in our continued mission to change the future landscapes of dance music”. – NIKS, Founder of B.A.D
“An exceptionally hosted, presented and curated daytime showcase, twinned with an eclectic evening of electronic music – AVA continues to bring some much-needed breadth to the London scene’s offering, representing our side of the industry in full.”– Ajay Jayaram, Head of Music, Broadwick Live
“As a brand Patreon’s mission is to empower creators to do what they do best, by giving them tools and a platform to achieve creative independence. AVA Conference understood this approach intrinsically, collaborating on programming a discussion featuring three on-platform collectives addressing imbalance in the Music Industry. Both the production of the space and the on-site signage integrated the brand into the event, while communication with the team on site was flawless. All in all a great first collaboration” – Patreon
The AVA team continues to deliver informative, relevant and forward-thinking conference programmes year after year. Always delighted to be a part of the process and to be able to take the opportunity to engage with artists and peers from the electronic music community. – Sentric Electronic
“It felt like a very special event for all involved, selling out after our two year pandemic induced break and coming back to Printworks in true AVA Style. A lot of exciting and also difficult conversations were had, some of the best live shows from Kink and Prospa alongside seriously good selections from Maribou State & More, this gathering together felt better than ever! Roll on our Festival in Belfast at the start of June.” – Sarah McBriar, AVA Festival
In addition to the programme the Drop In Area hosted brands including Sentric Electronic, SoundCloud, Musician’s Union, PRS Foundation, Velocity Press, Notch, War Child & The Right To Dance. Networking activities increased with space for meetings and industry catch-ups – aimed at generating business and attracting talent.
Focusing on four key themes: Innovation, Diversity, Post-Pandemic & Sustainability – AVA brought its core values forward and centre important conversations around an industry rebuilding itself throughout unprecedented times. Working with over 50 industry thought leaders bringing their diverse and extensive perspectives to the conference.
AVA LONDON CLUB ARTISTS
Brame & Hamo, Carlton Doom, FAUZIA, George FitzGerald, Holly Lester, JAGUAR, Kessler, KiNK [LIVE], MALA B2B Kode9, Maribou State [DJ SET], Tailor Jae, Powder B2B Hashman Deejay, Prospa [LIVE], re:ni, Roman Flügel
AJA – CARL COX – FILMED Q&A – ELIJAH – IRVINE WELSH – JAGUAR – HANNAH SHOGBOLA – KINK – KODE9 – MALA – MATT SWOBODA – NIKS – PLASTICIAN – WEIRDCORE
AFEM – A Greener Festival – Black Artist Database – Broadwick Live – Beggars Group – Boudica – DJ Mag – Hospital Records – NTIA – PRS for Music – Patreon – Refuge Worldwide Radio – Resident Advisor – Sentric – Electronic – Shesaid.so – Virtuoso – War Child
Brame & Hamo – Carlton Doom – FAUZIA – George FitzGerald – Holly Lester – JAGUAR – Kessler – KiNK [LIVE] – MALA B2B Kode9 – Maribou State [DJ SET] – Tailor Jae – Powder B2B Hashman Deejay – Prospa [LIVE] – Re:ni – Roman Flügel