Getting The Most Out AEMCON: A First Timer's Guide

Jake Robertz giving a Vocal Recording & Processing Crash Course at AEMCON, 2018. Photo: Module Creative Agency (@modulecreativeagency)

Jake Robertz giving a Vocal Recording & Processing Crash Course at AEMCON, 2018. Photo: Module Creative Agency (@modulecreativeagency)

If you are an aspiring or established industry professional, you are likely used to festivals or club shows, but a conference might be a whole new type of event for you. It is kind of like a festival, but a lot nerdier. The focus is on education, meeting like-minded creatives, and and learning how to elevate your craft and the electronic music community as a whole. Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, AEMCON can take your career to the next level. We want you to take away as much as you possibly can from the event, so here are some tips to get the most out of the conference:

AEMCON is one of the best annual hubs for networking in this region, tying in people from not only across Alberta but tastemakers and artists from the western Canadian provinces as well as North America and Europe. Workshops, lectures as well as events showcase the collaborative strength that Albertan artists have as a small but powerful community as locals and helps up-and coming artists take bigger strides in advancing their respective careers.
— Jeremy Howard, DJ Sinistarr, Producer, Detroit

Come Ready to Mix & Mingle

It’s all about networking! We suggest that you make it a priority to attend as many of the mixers as possible, especially the larger one at Studio Bell on Friday night. This is a great time to break the ice, and rub shoulders with some industry veterans. The mixers will help you network and build new connections, right off the hop. Soon you’ll be running into familiar faces for the rest of the weekend. 

Make the most out of the nightlife events (stay tuned for the nightlife programming announcement). The parties are your opportunity to keep conversations going outside of the conference, foster new relationships, find inspiration in new sounds, and dance the night away! 

Remember that they key to successful networking is quality interactions over quantity. Focus on building genuine, mutually beneficial relationships with a few key people, and follow up on those connections after the event. 

Engaging panel discussions bring new and old friends together. Photo: Leigh-Anne Hazard (@miss.hazard)

Engaging panel discussions bring new and old friends together. Photo: Leigh-Anne Hazard (@miss.hazard)

AEMCON gave my career a massive shot in the arm. Some of the outcomes of AEMCON include: receiving multiple gig offers, signing a 12” with an international label, and getting the ball rolling on funding applications. I also connected with several great avenues for publicity resulting in a high-profile remix competition and print media interview. It’s impossible to overstate how helpful AEMCON was at this stage in my career.
— John Rolodex, Artist, Label Owner, Edmonton

Come Ready to Learn

This event combines insight from international headliners, workshops by industry veterans, and panel discussions to bring you a weekend that will fill your brain, and blow your mind. There is a huge volume of information to take in, so we suggest that you:

  • Plan your schedule in advance, but be open to taking in programming that you may not have initially considered. 

  • Bring a notepad, and take notes.

  • Sign up for a 1-on-1 session (launching for pass-holders in October), to get individual career advice from an industry pro.

  • Be engaged, contribute, and ask questions.

  • Keep the conversation going with your peers, outside of the classroom.

  • Get your hands on some new equipment to try out at the Marketplace.

Class is in session! Fill your mind, and your note book. Photo: BraidenSchmidt (@braidenks)

Class is in session! Fill your mind, and your note book. Photo: BraidenSchmidt (@braidenks)

Come With an Open Mind

Not everyone has the same opinions as you on all the big issues, and that’s ok! It would make for a fairly boring conversation, if everyone agreed all the time. 

We are going to be addressing some big topics (stay tuned for our major themes announcement); subjects that people tend to get a little fired up over. We love your passion. However, be respectful of other people's perspectives. We want to keep the conversations open and the dialogue flowing. These diverse and thought provoking conversations are what drive progress forward, and will elevate our community. 

The 2018 panel discussion, Safer Scenes: Moving Beyond Call Out Culture. Photo: Michael Benz (@michaelbenz)

The 2018 panel discussion, Safer Scenes: Moving Beyond Call Out Culture. Photo: Michael Benz (@michaelbenz)

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

If you’re shy, approaching strangers can be scary. This may sound like Networking 101, but start small by striking up conversations with acquaintances or people you recognize from your social scene. After a few successful interactions, you’ll begin to feel more confident. Once you have built up some confidence, go and initiate a conversation with someone who you admire. AEMCON is a great equalizer. Everyone is there for the same reason; you share a unifying passion for music and community. So, put yourself out there! Surround yourself with ambitious people, be generous with your time & energy, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Networking with TMSV, Carissa Gem, Kate Roberts, and others in the halls of Studio Bell. Photo: Neil McElmon (@consertsocks)

Networking with TMSV, Carissa Gem, Kate Roberts, and others in the halls of Studio Bell. Photo: Neil McElmon (@consertsocks)

Take Care of Yourself

If you want to be able to learn all day and party all night, you’ve got to pace yourself. It’s a long weekend, packed full of lectures, panels, seminars, and parties. Get some sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and stay hydrated - your brain will thank you. 

For more information on Harm Reduction at AEMCON, click here.