Like so many 2020 music events, Indie Week this year will have quite a different feel. The Toronto-headquartered conference and festival has been forced to go virtual, given the ongoing pandemic, and the traditional live music component has been shelved.
Indie Week describes itself as "a yearly international music festival and conference, bringing together independent artists and top tier professionals in the music industry to educate, network, and create business opportunities. Taking place virtually for the first time ever, Indie Week focuses on cross-continental connections, music industry education, as well as one-on-one B2B opportunities. With Covid-19 rapidly developing and affecting the live events industry, Indie Week is committed to connecting leading forces within the industry with independent artists."
The 2020 edition runs this week, Nov. 10-14, and a look at the schedule reveals many interesting sessions on the slate. There will be plenty of business discussions, panels, mentorships and guest speakers from around the world. Those participating include representatives from Downtown Music, CD Baby, Chartmetric, Sound Exchange, Songtrust, CMRRA, SOCAN, Music Managers Forum Canada, Rock Paper Scissors, Bandzoogle, Bandcamp, and many more.
One of the most anticipated sessions is entitled Art & Entrepreneurship in a Time of Crisis. Set for 3-4 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 10, it features Martin Atkins, owner of Invisible Records, and a famed musician (Pigface, Nine Inch Nails, PiL). Atkins is a sought-after speaker on the conference circuit, and Indie Week terms his event " the story of a journey - art and entrepreneurship in a time of crisis. It's the story of a punk rock DIY pioneer and his reaction to the onset of the crisis, the lockdown and his efforts along with his team to make some kind of positive difference."
The challenges posed by the pandemic will be addressed in many of the events. One panel, entitled It's a Global Pandemic - now what?, will look at how event planners are adapting and moving forward. It features reps from Showpass, RAGE Touring/CTK Management. Sonicbids, Indigenous Music Awards, and Jives Management.
Another timely session is headed Maintaining Health and Wellness During Isolation, and it features Sarah Hagerman, Industry and Events Manager, Unison Benevolent Fund.
CIMA is heavily involved in Indie Week this year, co-presenting sessions focused on the Latin American, European, UK and Ireland, and African music markets.