Festival 18


Friday 04 May
10.00 – 18.00

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The Unconference panels, workshops, presentations & networking

The Unconference is a day of panels, workshops, presentations and networking for those working in, or aspiring to work in the music industry, as part of Live At Leeds and Leeds International Festival.

If you are involved in music at any level and hope to gain a better understanding of the music industries – as an artist, producer, manager, promoter, enthusiast or otherwise, you can attend the event to find out more from leading experts and professionals.

This years’ Unconference will feature artist & industry keynote speakers and panel discussions from a range of organisations including:

BBC Radio 1 • Music Manager’s Forum • Spring King • PRS Foundation • The Leaf Label • Deluxxe Management • The Independent • Kaiser Chiefs • Brudenell Social Club • Music Support • Big Life Management • Hookworms • Leeds City Council • Brighter Sound • Awesome Merchandise • Come Play With Me • Hannah Peel • BBC Introducing • Girl Gang • HA! Music • Studio 12 • MAP Charity • Paramount Music • Chapel FM • Marsicans • Equaliser + more!

Panels include:

Brighter Sound present: Both Sides Now – Minding The Gender Gap
Come Play With Me Selection / Listening Panel
In Conversation With… Tarek Musa (Spring King)
PRS Foundation present: Securing Momentum: A Practical Guide to Funding
Awesome Merchandise – Thinking Outside The Badge
A Manifesto for New Music & Leeds
Uncomfortable Conversations: Music & Mental Health
Music Managers Forum Panel
Yorkshire Music Forum presents Meet The Experts

Find out more information on the panels, as well as background on our speakers as they are announced (this currently reads “at https://www.unconferenceleeds.com/”)

The event takes place across Leeds College of Music and The Wardrobe in the city centre, is supported by Leeds Beckett University, Music:Leeds and PRS For Music Foundation and is free to attend.

Event partners

Friday 4 May

10.00 – 18.00

Additional Information:

Full Day Schedule
A Manifesto For New Music & Leeds
Music Managers Forum Panel
Both Sides Now – Minding The Gender Gap
Come Play With Me Selection Panel
Awesome Merchandise – Thinking Outside The Badge
Uncomfortable Conversations: Music & Mental Health
Prs Foundation Momentum Panel
In Conversation With… Tarek Musa
Yorkshire Music Forum Presents – Meet The Experts
Prs Foundation Momentum Showcase



WELCOME followed by A MANIFESTO FOR NEW MUSIC & LEEDS: 10.45am – 11.30am

SESSION 1: 12.00pm – 13.00pm
Music Managers Forum Panel. Brighter Sound present: Both Sides Now – Minding The Gender Gap
Yorkshire Music Forum presents Meet The Experts – Session #1

SESSION 2: 14.00pm – 15.00pm
Come Play With Me Selection / Listening Panel
Awesome Merchandise – Thinking Outside The Badge
Yorkshire Music Forum presents Meet The Experts – Session #2

SESSION 3: 15.30pm – 16.30pm
PRS Foundation present: Securing Momentum: A Practical Guide to Funding
Uncomfortable Conversations: Music & Mental Health
Yorkshire Music Forum presents Meet The Experts – Session #3

IN CONVERSATION WITH… : 17.00pm – 17.45pm

DRINKS & NETWORKING: 18.00pm onwards



A Manifesto For New Music & Leeds

This years’ Unconference kicks off with a series of short talks, presentations and provocations from those involved in breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for music in Leeds.
Featuring: Tom Smith (MAP Charity), Leanne Buchan (Leeds City Council), Jemma Freese (J Frisco, freese trio & JOULE), Henna Angus (Paramount Music), Nathan Clark (Brudenell Social Club), Adrian Sinclair (Chapel FM / Heads Together) + more

Music Manager’s Forum Panel

A wide ranging discussion from experienced music managers on the future of music management, how the landscape has changed, what skills are required, the barriers to entry and how you build your networks.
Featuring: Diane Wagg (MMF Chairwoman / Deluxxe), Natasha Arciniega (HA! Music), Jonny Simon (Big Life) + more

Brighter Sound present: Both Sides Now – Minding The Gender Gap

This panel will explore projects, initiatives and programmes in the music scene that are putting women front and centre – from the classroom, to the board room, to the stage. It will look at how we can support more women to engage in historically male-dominated spaces, examine the “talent pipeline” and explore what more we can all do to move things forward. Both Sides Now is supported by through Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence fund.
Featuring: Emily Marlow (Girl Gang Leeds), Jamie Hutchinson (Studio 12), Lucy Wood (Lattitude) + more

Come Play With Me Selection / Listening Panel

An open playback for the selection of two artists to feature on an upcoming release on the Come Play With Me label.  A selection of tracks that have been submitted through an open submission throughout February & March will be played back to an audience, with discussion from an expert panel. For more information on the label, see http://cpwm.co.
Featuring: Abbie McCarthy (Producer, BBC Radio 1), Diane Wagg (MMF Chairwoman / Deluxxe), Simon Rix (Kaiser Chiefs), David Martin (The Leaf Label), Roisin O’Connor (The Independent)

Awesome Merchandise – Thinking outside the badge

In this hour workshop Awesome Merchandise will help you to think about merch as more than just a money maker – unshackling it from your store and unlocking its power to create collaborations and community, as well as a source of revenue.
With over 12 years experience and 500+ products made in-house, Awesome Merchandise have produced an enormous amount of custom merch for an ever-growing global community; helping everyone from start up bands and record labels, to music festivals and touring talent turn their designs into, well… Awesome Merch!
Featuring: Jonny Hodson (Awesome Merchandise, Relationship Manager), Louise Fletcher (Awesome Merchandise, Marketing & Content Assistant)

Uncomfortable Conversations: Music & Mental Health – things we need to talk about and things we can do to keep listening and making change

Uncomfortable conversations abound in the creative industries and the media sphere – from #me to #blacklivesmatter to #TimesUp – and t he music industries have been called out too, from the under representation of female acts in live music to sexual harassment.
However, a cause for concern from all quarters of the industries has been the uncomfortable reality of mental health issues that appear to endemic across all sectors of the music industries. It is this area that we want to address and we acknowledge that to do so means in all these areas we are committed to asking uncomfortable questions in the hope that this may lead to new ways of living and working together that are better and more healthy for all involved.
Featuring: Chris Madden (Counselling Pyschotherapist), Sally Anne Gross (Co-author of ‘Can Music Make You Sick’ /  University of Westminster), MJ (Hookworms / Suburban Home), Sam Parker (Music Support) + more

PRS Foundation presents: Securing Momentum – A Practical Guide to Funding

PRS Foundation’s Momentum Music Fund offers grants of £5k-£15k for artists/bands to break through to the next level of their careers. 15 – 20 artists are funded each quarter, and recent recipients include Otzeki, Dream Wife, Fizzy Blood, Coco, and Sam Fender. In this panel, for the first time ever, attendees will scrutinise and talk through a successful Momentum application, focusing on each question with industry experts, Momentum Music Fund partners, and an artist with their manager. PRS Foundation will give a short overview of funding opportunities before the panel will give hands-on practical advice on how to successfully apply for Momentum. The Momentum Music Fund is run by PRS Foundation using public funds from Arts Council England, support from PPL, and is in association with Spotify.
Featuring: Bhavesh Patel (PRS Foundation), Hannah Peel (Artist), Rob Eaglesham (Manager, Marsicans), Abbie McCarthy (BBC Radio 1)

In Conversation With… Tarek Musa (Spring King)

Tarek Musa has worked with some of the UK’s most exciting new artists including The Big Moon, Gengahr and Bad Breeding. Having graduated from the Liverpool Institute of Recording Arts (LIPA), picking up the coveted Sennheiser Studio Excellence Award (2011) along the way, he returned to his roots in Manchester and refocused on recording, mixing and writing music. Tarek also received an MPG Award (2017) in the category ‘self-produced artist’ for his work on the Spring King debut album ‘Tell Me If You Like To’.

Most notably Tarek is writer, producer and frontman/drummer for Spring King. His songs have received extensive airplay from BBC Radio One ‘BBC Introducing List’, BBC 6Music (A-List), Amazing Radio (No.1 in the Amazing charts) and XFM (Evening Playlist). They have also been playlisted on Australia’s Triple J. Spring King have had releases through Transgressive, Rough Trade NYC, Mom & Pop with a whole host of glowing reviews from the likes of NME, The Line Of Best Fit, Fake DIY, NPR (Austin top 100), Stereogum and Brooklyn Vegan. Tarek has also landed a whole host of recent synchs including; ‘Who Are You?’ on FIFA 17, Orphan Black, T-Mobile US, Skullcandy and Guitar Hero.

Tarek will be In Conversation with Emily Pilbeam (BBC Music Introducing)

Yorkshire Music Forum presents Meet The Experts

Throughout the day, our regular “Meet The Experts” sessions will also return hosted by Yorkshire Music Forum. Across the day, you will be able one-to-one meetings with music industry experts & professionals from a range of backgrounds, including organisations such as PRS For Music, Arts Council England, Kycker and business support from accountants, lawyers and The Business and IP Centre Leeds.

Momentum Music Fund Showcase

The Unconference concludes and Live at Leedsweekend kicks off with a very special showcase presented by PRS Foundation’s Momentum Music Fund at The Wardrobe Leeds – featuring appearances from supported artists Our Girl, Chelou, Fenne Lilyand very special guest headliners Marsicans!


Abbie McCarthy is the go-to-girl for the best new music recommendations. Abbie currently presents BBC Music Introducing in Kent, a radio show that is greatly respected amongst members of the industry and music fans alike for its top music curation. Abbie has discovered and championed a vast array of great acts and is very popular with listeners because of her warm, fun presentational style and infectious sense of humour.

Abbie first took to the radio controls whilst she was studying at Warwick University, presenting and producing three shows every single week. Her hard work and tremendous talent were recognised at the 2012 Student Radio Awards where she won the accolade of Best Newcomer.

You’ll now hear Abbie regularly covering shows on BBC Radio 1, most recently depping for Huw Stephens in the evenings, Phil Taggart on The Specialist Chart and Matt Edmondson at the weekends.

Abbie has also reported from a variety of festivals, bringing all the highlights and excitement to the audience at home. As well as this, she has flown the BBC Introducing flag internationally, presenting a series of special shows on SXSWfm, ahead of the legendary music festival in Austin, Texas.

Abbie can also be heard from time to time covering the British Council’s weekly new music show The Selector, which is broadcast across 40 countries to a listenership of around 3 million people.

Abbie is a brilliant and entertaining compere, having hosted stages at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, Glastonbury and The Great Escape.

Abbie is the mastermind behind Good Karma Club, a club night championing the hottest new bands around. Previous alumni include The Amazons, Pale Waves and Tom Grennan. The inaugural Good Karma Club tour kicks off in April 2018.

Abbie is one of the best and most heralded tastemakers in the UK and is a true force to be reckoned with!


Alan Raw is currently is his 16th year as a multi-award-winning BBC Radio DJ, Producer & Music Photographer, and has been hosting the BBC Introducing Stage at Leeds Festival since he started it over a decade ago. Alan presents BBC Music Introducing in West Yorkshire & Humberside. He is also CEO of Creative & Cultural Co managing Arts Education Centres & galleries in Hull; Creative Director of the Hull International Photography Festival; Curator of the HIP Gallery in Hull and Photo City London; patron of Hull Folk Festival; drummer in the band Celtarabia; much sought after session percussionist with Rhythm Tech & Regal Tip; Chair of the World Drumming Network; and has previously produced and location-managed for MTV, BBC2 and BBCi.

Alan is known for picking great music and he DJ’s at Lending Room Leeds for #360RAW supported by Denon DJ. #360RAW offers not-for-profit support to new bands and artists in the North, with advice, promotion and performance opportunities.

Harry Ridgway is a music PR and promoter based in Leeds. He currently works at I Like Press and is the co-founder of High & Lonesome festival.

Growing up in sleepy Lincolnshire, Harry settled in Leeds after a short and misjudged period spent in a bedsit in West London. Once in Leeds, he began promoting shows as part of the team that delivered Communion Presents shows in the city. In his career he has worked with Communion presents, Music Glue, a festival that took place during the Tour de France Grand Depart that we don’t talk about, High & Lonesome Festival, Oporto and I Like Press. He also writes miserable songs as Altar Hanglands and played a short tour of Germany with Bear’s Den where he got to go on a tour bus.


Based in Manchester, Daniel Jones is PRS for Music’s Education and Outreach Manager for the North of England. Daniel has worked in the Membership department at PRS for Music for over a decade, and his role is to engage with music educators, organisations and professionals in order to raise awareness and a better understanding about PRS for Music and be a key point of contact for our members in the region.

Daniel provides talks and lectures at educational establishments, is involved in music industry events and develops and hosts PRS for Music events and advice sessions throughout the north of England.

As a keen musician, Daniel is also a PRS writer member, who has played guitar and bass in a number of bands and has contributed as a writer to numerous online and print outlets.


A continual passion of mine is to provide a free, accessible multifunctional space for people of Leeds. Where people can access the latest industry developments. A space that allows people to grow, develop and find a way into a positive and fulfilling role within the audiovisual media arts. We are in a lucky in Leeds to have such a forward-thinking Library Service and to have such a place with Studio12 that I have been running for the past 14 years.

Each year I open my door to 1000’s of young people with the expectation of discovering the latest groundbreakers from this city. To be in a position where I can offer opportunities to young people to reach their full potential fills me with great honour and I champion the talent we have, the great creativity and the great richness in this city.


As frontman for arch miserablists, I LIKE TRAINS, David Martin has released music on a number of distinguished independent record labels including Beggars Banquet, Fierce Panda, Fantastic Plastic and Leeds’ very own Dance To The Radio.

I LIKE TRAINS have gone on to set up their own record label with
international distribution and continue to release music, albeit very slowly. Alongside his rock duties, David Martin wears several hats at The Leaf Label, mostly concerning himself with digital marketing and social media.

Jemma Freese is a keyboardist, vocalist, poet and composer involved in several projects; J Frisco; Freese trio; JOULE & DOMI. These include a variety of genres such as; genre-fluid improv; triphop/grunge; glitch/sad-dance and dark electronic pop. She writes poetry about mental health issues inspired by her own life, lives around her and her favourite authors such as Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Bukowski and Irvine Welsh, which is the basis of the lyrics she writes.

Jemma has been selected at Jazz North’s Introducing Artist 2017 with J Frisco, and as part of these different projects has been on KMAH radio, Chapel FM, BBC Introducing West Yorkshire, NTS radio, and performed at Sounds Like THIS festival, Lancaster Jazz Festival, Marsden Jazz festival, Vortex Jazz Club, The Basement (York). She is soon to perform at Gateshead International Jazz Festival, Rough Trade Records (Bristol) and a week-long tour in Holland performing at venues, radios and DJ-ing.


Leanne works for the Leeds City Council Culture and Sports team, alongside running her own freelance cultural consultancy. She led the development of the Leeds Culture Strategy and the associated Delivery Plan for the city pioneering a co-produced, open-sourced approach. She is also the Leeds 2023 team lead for Marketing, Communications & Artistic Projects.

Having worked on major cultural programmes for projects including Tour de France Grand Départ 2014, Rugby World Cup 2015, and Unfold celebrating the Leeds visual art scene and welcoming British Art Show 8 to the city in 2015, her professional interests explore how culture can be used as a catalyst for change, engagement, and investment. Her experience takes in everything from strategic cultural development and managing European peer-learning projects to commissioning artists and events, and marketing and promotions for cultural programmes.

Dorothea is a solicitor working across all areas of the commercial music and entertainment practice at Bray & Krais, with a particular interest in working with emerging talent and developing projects.

She is based in London but with eyes and ears on the scene outside the capital, including connections to the north of England. Her clients include British, European and international artists, songwriters, producers and performers, for example, who she looks to assist on a long-term basis.

She regularly advises on management, recording, publishing and producer/mixer agreements, as well as providing bespoke advice on new and innovative business models and commercial arrangements. Dorothea also writes for various publications and speaks at events on issues related to music, entertainment, copyright, and branding, as well as supporting women and young people in their careers in the creative industries.

Tom Smith is the co-founder and project director of MAP Charity. He started the charity with Charlie Stobbart and Kat Soutar in 2008, who at the time were all in their early 20s. With a background in music production and social work, Tom wanted to explore ways in which arts and education could interact to create positive social change.

Tom is also an audio engineer and DJ, and has spent years hand building and fine-tuning what is now regarded as one of the finest high fidelity club systems in the country, the Cosmic Slop Soundsystem, now used by resident and international DJs in-house to raise funds for MAP Charity. Tom’s varied interests range from hydroponics and permaculture to carpentry and print-making; he passionately applies his skills to the charity’s programmes, continually providing new inspiration and opportunities for young people.


Emily is a founding member of Girl Gang Leeds. Along with the rest of the core team, Emily works on all aspects of the organisation, this includes everything from event production, marketing and business management to sitting on the door at events, admin and cleaning up after everyone’s gone home.

Prior to Girl Gang Leeds, Emily worked as a Festival Assistant with I Like Press working on events such as Live at Leeds, Slam Dunk, Long Division and Beacons Metro.


Roisin O’Connor is Music Correspondent at The Independent – writing features, live gig reviews, festival coverage, interviews with established and up-and-coming artists, and a weekly column about new music. She created Music Box sessions – stripped-down sessions filmed in a studio on-site – to give emerging artists a better platform to showcase their talent.


Sally Anne Gross has been working in the music industry for nearly 3 decades now, as an artist manager, record label director and head of business affairs. She is the program director of the MA Music Business Management at the University of Westminster. Sally was the lead researcher on ‘Can Music Make You Sick’ the largest ever research project into mental health issues in the music industry that was funded by the charity Help Musicians UK and published in November 2017.


Tony Ereira is the founder of Come Play With Me, a social enterprise established in 2015 to help people in the Leeds City Region that are looking to create sustainable careers within music. Tony is also one of the founding directors of Hatch Records, a Leeds-based record label/publisher that has seen releases from Deadwall, Then Thickens, Nine Black Alps, The Spitfires and The Wedding Present.