Brenden and I spent the last weekend at Millennium Music Conference. What an experience! It was Brenden's first music conference, and my second only. We kind of knew what to expect, but kept our mind open.
First night was the kick-off party - a pretty solid lineup of live music: Almond & Olive, Animal Sun, Autopilot, Single by Sunday, and Silver Screen. Almond & Olive were sweethearts and I really wish I could just carry them in my pocket, banjo and guitar and everything. Single By Sunday were something else! They are a pop-punk band from Glasgow, Scotland - definitely not the type of music I'd usually seek - but their energy was incredible and I was sold within a few seconds. Brenden and I may or may not have spent that evening sitting on our hotel beds looking up their videos. Maybe.
Me possibly fan-girling w/ Josh Ladds & Jonny Eakins
Friday morning/afternoon was jam-packed with panels and workshops. I had the chance to see Suz (The Rock/Star Advocate) speak and learned that I have "Perfection Paralysis" a/k/a I am holding onto material for fear it isn't perfect enough. Spoiler alert: nothing is perfect. I also saw a panel with Jason Spiewak (JLS Artist Management), Vanessa Ferrer (Merch Cat), Logan Summey (Rock Mill Industries), and Jim Logrando (Craft Services). They discussed all the ways to monetize your music and had a great Q&A session.
I also had the chance to sit down and have a half-hour mentoring session with Kevin McCove. I saw him speak at Elm City Music Fest last year, and I admire his work ethic and his ability to think outside the box. It was great to pick his brains and get some pointers.
Friday night we played at The Midtown Tavern in Harrisburg, and shared the stage with other great bands - one of them being Featherburn. A mix of The Decemberists, Modest Mouse, and something else entirely their own, Featherburn had the entire venue banging bicycle parts as percussion, while frontman Milo undressed into his full-on bicycle outfit. True entertainment!
Our Friday night set went so well that we were invited to return to Midtown for a second set on Saturday night. We were overwhelmed and happy with the amount of support we had that night - we met so many people, gave lots of hugs, and ended the evening feeling incredibly proud.
Post-show hang with our new friends Sarah and Wes from Westernsun Media Design.
Saturday was another day of learning and networking. After eating a feast...erm...breakfast at a local diner, we spent the beginning of the day hanging with Rachel Rocks from PA Musician Magazine, who was running an all-day open mic at the trade show room. We saw some good music and met some new friends. Our highlight was meeting The Foxfires, who captivated the room with their fun and engaging energy.
My favorite workshop of the day was with Chris Kurtz from The Mediatwist Group. Chris had a very no-nonsense approach to the music industry and how to handle your presence as an artist. Very informing and entertaining at the same time.
Now you never know what you're gonna get at these conferences/festivals. Spread over several venues, the nighttime showcases were everywhere - from art galleries to strip clubs. Yes, you read it right. Our friend Ez Bluez, also a performer for the event, was booked to perform at Savannnah's on Hanna, a gentlemen's club in Harrisburg. We will never forget the awkwardness and sheer surrealism that was watching them dance to solo acoustic guitar music. What a strange memory. I can't wait to tell my grandkids someday.
From there we ran back to The Midtown Tavern for our promised second set. Again, we were met with love and support from the locals and our fellow bands. That evening we had the pleasure of meeting our new friends Epic Season. Hailing from New Hampshire, they melted my face so hard I was speechless by the end of their set. I wish you were there to see me try to talk to them afterwards. Very confusing. For them.
Epic Season melting my fricken face.
When we returned to the hotel after the show, ready to plop on our beds, we were called to the second floor of the hotel lobby, like a sailor trapped in a siren's song - we found our holy grail: the 2 AM jam. In that corporate-looking meeting room, artists brought the colors in the shape of music, jamming in a near-tribal way. Random objects were turned into percussion, as more and more of us joined in to sing and laugh together. What a great way to end the weekend!
Sunday morning was time to say goodbye. We packed our bags, and made our way around the hotel, trying to find our new friends and a chance to hug them goodbye. As we processed all the new friendships, learning, music, and memories, we drove back to Connecticut with our hearts full.
Bren might have been a bit tired on the drive back.
A shout out to all organizers, volunteers, and musicians who made this weekend possible. THANK YOU! We sure look forward to coming back.
PS: Check out our video log of the weekend below for more shenanigans!