The second Brighton Music Conference (BMC) was hailed a resounding success by all who attended at the start of June. The two-day event — featuring panel discussions, tech displays, networking events and more — has quickly built itself up into the UK's answer to the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).
The DJ Mag crew arrive early, with various staff members hosting panels or doing meetings with other industry folk. Set in Brighton's palatial Dome complex, a listed Regency building that backs onto the iconic Brighton Pavilion and its Jubilee Gardens, the main hall is awash with equipment manufacturers showcasing their wares.
Just about every company who deals in dance music hardware is represented, and eager young DJ/producers bustle around the conference hall having a go on new equipment or being shown some new developments.
Panel topics include: Get Played, Get Paid; The Future Of Digital Broadcasting; Social Media — Where Next?; Clubs & Festivals — Is It A Level Raving Field?; Releasing Your Own Music; and The Art Of DJing. And that's just for starters. DJ Mag floats in and out of various ones, bumping into assorted industry movers and shakers along the way.
The sun is shining, so some delegates appear to take their meetings to nearly pubs — and why not? More than just a 'work-time' excuse to be beside the seaside, BMC is all about the networking — conferences such as this are few and far between, even internationally, and so an opportunity for the industry to get together just 50 miles south of London is too good to miss for many.
As the exclusive dance music magazine sponsor, DJ Mag has teamed up with BMC to host the main event of the first night. Taking over Patterns, formerly Audio, on the seafront, we host the post-daytime BMC networking event that slowly morphs into a kick-ass club night.
House tunes from local Code South resident Steve Whittle and London duo Better Looking Half warm things up nicely for Ralf Kollmann from Mobilee, one of the guests who has also been appearing at the conference.
Meanwhile, downstairs Tom Demac from Hypercolour is ablaze in a sea of green downlights and vocal chops as the pitch dark main-room basement of the venue starts to compress to his rolling kicks. The crowd are a mixture of all-day-hazy BMC guests and Brighton’s famously beat-curious, all rubbed up against each other in a sea of lanyards, tattoos, laminated passes and piercings.
Upstairs, DJ Mag's Carl Loben and the infamous Dave Beer from Back To Basics are swapping lazy disco, deep house and shots of something-or-other in quick succession whilst out on the terrace, waves crashing in the background, Brighton’s promoter elite are gathered to complain about Brighton’s promoter elite. The system works.
Back downstairs again, techno overlord Dave Clarke has the stage, signature name-clad headphones and this-is-not-a-drill techno re-rubs of popular tracks creating a sea of hands illuminated by an increasingly busy set of strobes.
“I’ve been awake for 22 hours. But this is all worth it,” yells a man wearing the kind of glasses that are only really socially acceptable in Brighton, pint in one hand while the other furiously fist-pumps.
There’s an injection of new faces in the crowd as Dave Clarke moves into gear — international and UK students, off-duty bar staff from venues down the road, and clear-regulars. Upstairs it continues to get out of hand. Dave Beer is doing an on-the-fly remix of an '80s synth track. DJ Mag are doing an on-the-fly remix involving beer and some kind of turquoise liquor.
The chat on the terrace has now turned to the best places to go for techno in the Czech Republic. We love this place. Downstairs, DJ Rebekah — initially from Birmingham, now residing in Berlin — has the floor, barely head and shoulders above the decks yet commanding an ambitious line in stripped-back tech house. It gets towards daylight and most of the crowd remain, even as bars begin to close down.
The next lunchtime at BMC, there are some sore heads, for sure. Dave Clarke conducts an in-conversation Q&A in the main foyer as if he wasn't out until dawn, and the panels and tech displays continue as the DJ Mag crew down coffee and prepare for another day of networking. Beats working!
ALLY BYERS & KIM O'CONNOR