Blog » AGF Blog » Wide Days Announces Its Virtual Conference, Networking & Music Programme

Wide Days Announces Its Virtual Conference, Networking & Music Programme

Wide Days is pleased to announce details of its virtual event, with a packed programme of panels, interviews, live performances, sector meetings, social activities and a range of networking options taking place from 23–25 July.

Supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, the first two days (Thursday & Friday) will feature the conference and showcases, with the Saturday beginning with a virtual music tour, followed by the Wide Whisky Club and a Festival Takeover. This will see Focus Wales and the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival  guest programming a selection of acts.

“Over the past three months we have hosted a series of online seminars and social evenings, as well as taking part in many other online events, and right across the music industry spectrum there is a strong desire to connect and learn,” says Wide Days founder, Olaf Furniss. “At Wide Days we also want our guests to be entertained and have fun, so we will aim to translate everything we do in the physical space to the virtual environment – including the tour and whisky tasting.”

The convention will be delivered in partnership with a new digital event platform launched by Catalan company Meetmaps, ensuring that delegates can replicate networking opportunities available at the conference. Guests will be able to pre-book one-to-one meetings, hang out in themed social rooms, take part in international match-making sessions and participate in round tables hosted by event partners. Organisers will also offer an introduction to the platform the evening before the convention to ensure users get the best out of the functionality.

Panels and presentations originally announced for the physical event (rescheduled from April), have been adapted to cover challenges arising from the pandemic and some 50 speakers (confirmed speakers listed below) will be joined by representatives from industry trade organisations. Moreover, new sessions have been added and will explore how different sectors of the music industry are responding, highlight novel approaches and look at innovative key steps being taken to survive.

Reimagining Music Export will focus on how to develop business in other territories while travel and live showcases are curtailed and New Opportunities In Media explores where the media’s coverage of music has adapted to the current situation.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture for Scotland, says: Wide Days have done very important work over the past 10 years in providing a forum for the music sector to discuss extremely difficult challenges as well as emerging opportunities. It’s great to see that Wide Days will host a virtual conference for 2020 in response to the coronavirus crisis. This will be an extremely important event for helping to take the sector forward, developing new talent and new ways of working.

Reshaping The Music Industry, in partnership with leading digital consultancy Music Ally, brings together some of the sector’s brightest thinkers to ask what the music industry could look like in two years time, with an emphasis on the measures that could ensure that it recovers and thrives. IQ Magazine will also be hosting a conversation, using a case study of Laura Marling’s successful concert streams.

Wide Days’ partnership with consultancy Complete Music Update (CMU) continues, with two extended sessions, which have an added relevance in the current climate.  Data Health Check begins with a look at essential fan engagement data and is followed by how to use it for getting paid, while Video Watch will focus on creating stand-out content for a range of platforms, how it fits into a release campaign and where it can be monetised.

CMU’s Chris Cooke will also host the Getting The Service panel (in partnership with the Association of Independent Music). Joined by the organisations head of legal & business affairs, Gee Davy, they will delve into  distribution (and label) services, which play an essential part in the success of a release.

Martial Artists investigates the health and creative benefits of mixing music with martial arts, while the Local Heroes strand, respectively shines a spotlight onto two individuals – Lisa Whytock and Tom Ketley – who have helped put Scotland’s music scene on the map.

The former, whose Active Events celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, will reflect on her career as an agent, promoter and manager working with some of the leading lights of traditional Scottish music. FLY Events founder, Tom Ketley will be in-conversation talking about how his student club nights turned into large-scale open air dance events which have launched the international careers of several Scottish DJs.

As in previous years, PPL will host an introductory session – titled Get Played, Get Paid –  and representatives will be available for one-to-one appointments, while the popular A&R You Brave Enough? (in partnership with the University of the Highlands & Islands) panel, gives artists the opportunity to get feedback from a diverse industry panel. Moreover, following the Data Health Check session, delegates will also be able to book a free consultation at EmuBands’ Data Clinic.  

Most panels will take place between midday and 1745 (BST), with the mornings reserved for meetings. However, the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival will host a round table exploring how jazz musicians are working with technology, while the Scottish Music Industry Association will host a discussion with the Scottish Animation Network.

Greg Parmley, managing director International Live Music Conference / IQ Magazine, says: “As the leading magazine for the live music business, IQ is proud to partner with Wide Days. The team always delivers an engaging and valuable event, and we’re excited about this year’s virtual edition.

Additional panels  and speakers are set to be announced in the run up to the event.  

In addition to the conference, Wide Days (in partnership with PRS Foundation) will also continue in its commitment to presenting a diverse selection of six of Scotland’s most exciting new acts. They include hip hop artists Billy Got Waves x Joell., DIY multi-instrumentalist Kapil Seshasayee, atmospheric singer-songwriter Magpie Blue, post-punk duo MEMES, electro-popsters One Nine, and indie quartet Swim School.

Each will perform a 20-minute set to be broadcast on the Thursday or Friday evenings (running order TBA). The six emerging acts, who have all taken part in a mentoring programme, will follow in the footsteps of previous participants Honeyblood, Be Charlotte, Fatherson, The Ninth Wave, The Jellyman’s Daughter, and Scottish Album of the Year Award winner, Kathryn Joseph.

Joe Frankland, CEO, PRS Foundation says: “Wide Days is a fantastic gathering of music industry professionals and an important platform for Scotland’s emerging music creators, with an impressive track record of artists showcasing in the past breaking through to the next level of their careers. The Wide Days team have done an amazing job adapting the convention to ensure that their showcase artists and delegates have this much-needed online platform. The virtual Wide Days provides key aspects of their physical event and more. We are delighted to be able to carry over our partnership with them into the digital space.”

In order to make the event as accessible as possible, the cost of a delegate registration is set at a flat rate of £30. This will go towards paying the team of freelancers who deliver Wide Days, many of whom have lost the majority of their work since March.

Delegates will also have the option to pay-forward a ticket as part of a bursary system set up to allow those hardest hit in the Scottish industry, to apply for a free accreditation. Organisers will also match each donated ticket.

Confirmed speakers:  
Agnese Daverio (Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival), Andrew Mikkelsen (Atlantic Records), Arusa Qureshi (The List), Chris Cooke (CMU), Ellen De Faux (LS Productions), Gee Davy (Association of Independent Music), Hannah Rankin (bassoonist & boxer), Jess Partridge (In Stereo Group), Joe Hendry (musician & wrestler), Jumi Akinfenwa (Pitch & Sync), Keith Harris (Manager & Martial Artist), Lauren Bauld (PPL), Lisa Whytock (Active Events), Nabihah Iqbal (Musician & Martial Artist), Nancy Mills (PPL), Olaf Furniss (Wide Events), Paul Brindley (Music Ally), Rachel Grace Almeida (Crack Magazine), Renell Shaw (composer & martial artist), Sam Taylor (CMU), Sammy Andrews (Deviate Digital), Shain Shapiro (Sound Diplomacy), Tina Hart (Tina Hart Media), Tom Ketley (FLY Events)

Updated speakers list:
Pictures and Logos:
Showcase Acts:

Programme details, speakers profiles, bursary info and ticket link are all available at


Jamie Houston, music officer, Creative Scotland, says: “There has never been a more important time for Scotland’s music community to come together, welcome newcomers and reach the wider international industry. Integral to Scotland’s music network, Wide Days’ virtual 2020 conference and showcase promises to be as stimulating as ever. Featuring a great line up of some of our most promising acts and a packed itinerary of networking activities, this is also a timely opportunity for the industry to come together to look at how we can tackle the challenges ahead.”

Chris Cooke, Founder & managing director, CMU, says: “It’s great to be able to team up with Wide Days once again. The big up side of everything shifting online is this that people from all over the world will be able to join the conversation. COVID-19, of course, poses lots of challenges for the music community, with lots of things in flux. But we know for certain that, whatever happens, getting data and video content right is now absolutely vital for running a successful artist business. And those are the topics CMU will be exploring at Wide Days this year”.

Sarah Mitchell, Director of Membership & Communications, PPL says:
“Wide Days has been a fixture of the Scottish music scene for over ten years, providing an opportunity for many to learn from their peers, hear new music and meet those that make the Scottish industry so vibrant. PPL has supported it since it began in 2010 and, this year, we will be taking part in virtual sessions and meet-ups to help attendees understand more about neighbouring rights and how PPL can support their career. We are proud to be a part of Wide Days and are looking forward to yet again celebrating Scottish music.”

Jude McArdle, Membership Manager, AIM says: “We’re delighted that Wide Days has been able to adapt so efficiently to a virtual event. It’s a key moment in the calendar year for the Scottish industry and a pleasure for AIM to continue our support. The programme has something for everyone who’s trying to navigate the ins-and-outs of maintaining a music business throughout the Covid-19 crisis, as well as a great line-up of networking and social activities. With the new virtual format bringing Edinburgh to the world, it’s not one to miss this year!”

Robert Kilpatrick, General Manager, Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) says: “The SMIA has been a long-term and proud partner of Wide Days, and we’re delighted to both continue and re-imagine our partnership in 2020 to see the team deliver what will undoubtedly be their most important conference to date. As the organisation which exists to represent and develop Scotland’s music industry – representing over 3000 members – supporting and partnering with domestic conferences like Wide Days is key to the SMIA’s work, and that’s never been the case more than now.”

Cesc Riera, co-founder & head of marketing, Meetmaps, says: “We are delighted that Wide Days will be using our new virtual event platform, which we have designed to ensure that delegates can enjoy many of the benefits of a physical convention, including a range of meeting, networking and exhibitor options.”

Toni Malyn, head of marketing & artist relations, EmuBands, says: “We’re pleased to continue our long-running partnership with Wide Days in 2020. In particular EmuBands are pleased to take part in the virtual event, which will allow us to connect with artists, managers, and their wider teams, allowing us to support and guide them through the digital landscape during the current climate”

Suzanne Miller, regional manager, Help Musicians Scotland, says: “To show support for Wide Days 2020 digital conference and in honour of an ongoing partnership, the independent charity Help Musicians has invested in the purchase of 60 delegate tickets. These passes will be distributed to Help Musicians Scottish Creative Grant funded beneficiaries providing free, all-access passes to this digital event.”

David Watt, Sector Manager Music and Music Business, University of the Highlands and Islands, Perth College, says: “We are delighted to continue our long-standing partnership with Wide Days in 2020. Our students benefit each year from attending and are looking forward to the virtual version this year.”

Agnese Daverio, Programme Manager, Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, says: “We are delighted to be partnering up with Wide Days to present a session on jazz, improvised music and the use of new technologies – and are very excited to present a Festival Takeover on the featuring some of the most exciting young musicians from Scotland who cross boundaries of the genre, producing unique new sounds.”

Paul Brindley, CEO & Co-Founder, Music Ally, says: “Music Ally is delighted to collaborate with Wide Days on their forthcoming online music convention. Wide Days and the Music Ally TV Show will present a one-off special as part of the convention. Music Ally TV is an initiative we launched in the last few months to keep the business informed and entertained at a difficult time for everyone.”

Andy Jones, co-founder and Music Programmer, Focus Wales, says: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with Wide Days to showcase a selection of exciting new Welsh artists as part of the Festival Takeover. We highly value this cultural exchange between Wales and Scotland, which we’re able to facilitate between our two events, and it’s one that we’re looking to develop year-on-year.”