This Year’s BBC Introducing Live event at Tobacco Dock built upon the foundations laid by last year’s successful expo, attracting an audience of around 18,000 rising artists and business representatives to the east London venue.
I arrived on the Wednesday afternoon (30th) to oversee the installation of the MU stand in the area we had agreed to share with UK Music downstairs in the South Vault. I had also arranged for a photographic backdrop to be delivered and in partnership with Oliver Morris of UK Music we collectively prepared the space for the anticipated visitors.
The show opened on the Thursday morning and there was soon a very long queue outside, with some people reporting that it took over an hour to pass through accreditation. Oliver had arranged for a variety of events including live performances, in partnership with the Roundhouse, plus a number of interesting panel discussions. The MU stand was especially busy in the afternoon and I joined my colleagues Sam Jordan and Maddy Radcliff in answering a steady stream of questions from musicians and administrators.
BBC Introducing Live can be quite intimidating for the newcomer to the industry, with the sheer number of topics and in-depth conversations engaged in by panellists proving a challenge to those not yet familiar with the jargon of the professional world.
We certainly welcomed numerous visitors with enquiries to our stand and many expressed interest in both the benefits of MU membership and our current campaigns.
The day passed extremely quickly and I returned once more to my base for the week (the Holiday Inn on the corner of Commercial Road and Cavell Street) for a dinner and relaxing evening.
Friday saw the arrival of the MU’s Autumn Sharkey, plus photographer Jonathan Stewart and journalist Neil Crossley who were to cover the event on my behalf for the winter issue of The Musician.
Being occupied with activities on our stand meant I could not drop in on as many seminars as I would have liked, however I did manage to catch a quick five minutes in the main theatre, where Nile Rodgers was offering business tips to a captive audience.
At six o’clock, Johnny, Oliver and I could be found in the popular on-site bar and I had my first alcoholic drink for three months. I had abstained since the 31 July but the appeal of a lager or two could not be resisted on this occasion! Four of us then walked up to Commercial Road where we had a superb meal in the Turkish Restaurant, Ruyam.
The following day, Saturday, meant a change of team on the stand, with East & South East Regional Organiser Paul Burrows joining me. It was very quiet in the morning but picked up considerably in the afternoon. I was responsible for a panel focusing on the theme of Night Safety for Musician at 3.15pm and I particularly wish to thank MU members Anna Neale, Luisa Santiago, Zoe Konez and Emily Marlow, CEO of Girl Gang Leeds, for their valuable contributions.
The event closed at 6pm and Mark Batchelor and I caught a cab to Brick Lane where we enjoyed an Indian meal, before walking to Spitalfields and a couple of drinks in The Golden Heart and the Ten Bells.