“An unmissable fixture in our calendar” Record Of The Day
Since its launch in 2010, Wide Days has established itself as a music industry event with a difference. The brainchild of Olaf Furniss, who has worked for and reported on many of the world’s key music business gatherings, it draws on its founder’s extensive experience of what makes a great event.
Hosted in the world’s oldest purpose-built student union, next door to the University of Edinburgh’s antique instrument collection, it is a far cry from the ubiquitous hotel function suites and sterile conference centres.
Panels, presentations and keynotes are conducted in a Victorian debating hall, while a rooftop terrace and numerous bars are ideal for meetings or socialising with other delegates. Discussion topics focus on the rapid evolution of the music business, as befits an event hosted opposite Charles Darwin’s student residence.
At the core of Wide Days’ ethos is a belief that it should be accessible to all and that the next generation of industry players and veterans should have a forum to learn from each other. Hosted by the Born To Be Wide organisation, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, admission prices are kept low through sponsorship and by selling premium, fundraiser tickets.
A maximum of eight acts are invited to showcase at Wide Days, which allows organisers to provide more support to the artists both before and during the event. The line-up is chosen in consultation with Scotland’s leading tastemakers, with a bias towards musicians in a position to make the most of the platform. All showcases are open to members of the public, who can apply for free tickets online.
As a qualified tourist guide, Furniss recognises that the best events leave visitors with a taste for where they are held. That is why speakers and those who support the convention by buying a fundraiser ticket are treated to a guided tour of Edinburgh’s Old Town, a welcome reception and are fed during the gigs. It means they don’t have to choose between dinner or music, and serves to underline that at Wide Days, business can be pleasure.