Yes, it is conference season for performing arts centers—August, September, October, November, and of course January. This means booking conferences like Arts Northwest, + and Arts Midwest which just passed, and in January, the big conference in the US, Arts Presenters. In Europe there is Womex and in Canada, many province-wide conferences occur along with Capacoa and Cinars, a biennale conference. Along with the major conferences, many state and provincial arts councils also host conferences. So, if you are not yet ready for the bigger conferences, check out those closer to home by reviewing your state presenter’s network or arts council website.
Are You a Conference Newbie or a Veteran?
If you have never attended a booking conference, then this hot tip is for you. But, if you are a conference veteran, then this may give you a new way to approach your conference season participation.
Now there are those who think you ought to jump into the frying pan and attend as many conferences as your budget will afford to make a big splash. I’m of a mind to concentrate your efforts and your money on a conference that centralizes you to a region where you already have some recognition and where it will be easy for you to tour and expand your reputation.
I also think that jumping in and getting a booth and doing some kind of showcase first time around can be overwhelming if you are new at this conference scene.
So my suggestion is to take it a bit more slowly and plan to simply attend the conference and not showcase or take a booth the first year. Just go as an attendee. This way you are not tied to a booth during exhibit hall hours. Instead, you have the freedom to really examine the exhibitor’s booths, talk with them, check out their booth décor, marketing methods, and materials. This will give you plenty of great ideas for your own booth.
Since you are not worried about showcasing, you have ample time to attend other showcases and see how it’s done and how well each artist uses their brief time on stage.
Your Big Advantage
Another big advantage for an attendee with no restraints or responsibilities is that you may participate in as many workshops as you are able to fit in. This allows you to get to know some of the workshop presenters who are often leaders in their region either as an agent or manager or performing arts presenter. You’ll have an opportunity to meet them after the workshop and hand them some of your promo or at least a card.
Then during the various social activities planned such as cocktail hours or dinners, you’ll have plenty of time to network and get to know the regional insiders.
This process will better prepare you to create a more effective booth and a more interesting showcase should you decide to take the plunge next year. You’ll have met some of the industry professionals already and have made some contacts. When you do attend the next year, you’ll no longer be a newbie or an unknown. You’ll have some history with the conference and be more productive throughout the conference.
Conferences = Career Development
If you are planning to make conferences part of your career development, then check the conferences coming up in the next few months so you can simply attend the one best suited for your touring plans. Don’t miss this chance to explore a conference in your region without the added pressure of having to exhibit, or showcase. The time approaches! Take advantage of simply attending this year, so next year you’ll be prepared to attend as a showcasing, exhibiting artist.
Conference season is here. Are you participating? Would you like to? What has your experience been in the past if you are a conference veteran?
Leave me a comment below or on the Performingbiz Success Strategies Facebook page.
I can’t wait to hear about your success.
Thanks to Carol Ehrlich for this week’s Biz Booster graphic image, “Conference Season.”
Now, Thanks to the Band Curfew from the UK for providing the Biz Booster theme Music, Future Dance. Check them out at www.curfew.co.uk
And for more career-boosting tips, articles, books, resources, teleseminars and online courses, visit me at Performingbiz.com