Indie Week's Transition From Local To Global
Indie Week, which wrapped up Saturday (Nov. 13), has pivoted like nobody’s business since the summer of 2020.
By Karen Bliss
Indie Week, which wrapped up Saturday (Nov. 13), has pivoted like nobody’s business since the summer of 2020. This is the Toronto-based conference and festival’s fifth event in 12 months. A week ago, they announced the launch of the invite-only Nation x Nation to collaborate with conferences and festivals around the world.
When covid hit in March 2020, founder Darryl Hurs cancelled Indie Week altogether, but with no end in sight to the pandemic, he went into overdrive, launching three more conferences, and a bunch of auxiliary programs:
The first was Indie Weekly, which continues to this day, every Tuesday at 4 p.m. EST (this week is a break after the jam-packed Indie Week sessions). In October 2020 came a mentorship program on how to be export-ready. Then, after setting up on Whova platform, they tried Indie Week online, which was a great success. They then created Screen x Screen in February about music and tech, which will happen again next year. In April, they did Indie 101, an education-focused conference with how-tos and presentations. They will be calling out to artists to participate for the next one (last year they did a test with 11 artists and all got invited to perform virtually on international showcases). In September, they ran Music Pro Summit with high-level industry discussions.
Indie Weekly’s discussions will soon be offered as an audio podcast. In the new year, there will be more mentorships, a new Indie Week website, plus a community space Hurs describes as “a Facebook for music,” which will include workshops, education and songwriting collabs.
Cam Carpenter has also been working on connecting with music schools across Canada to provide students access to this programming and is extending the offer to U.S. schools.
Hurs told FYI Music News in an email that he will not be rebranding Indie Week as it is the flagship event that brings all the other conferences together.
“I was considering a rebrand,” he wrote, “but with the momentum, we are having it doesn't make sense to make a change at the moment. Indie Week is what we are going to stick with right now. The other conferences are ‘produced by Indie Week’ and I feel we have started to create a strong family of brands that are under one roof but serve different needs. Indie Week is considered the flagship event or the hub of bringing all the other conferences (audiences/attendees) together with a focus that includes international connections.”