A leading light in Belfast’s growing electronic music community and a sell-out success last year, AVA Festival is an event that celebrates and nurtures talent from across Ireland.

After announcing a mega bill of the evening headline performances, AVA and Generator NI, Northern Ireland’s Music Industry Development Programme, are proud to announce the first set of speakers, panels, and sessions for the FREE Daytime Conference happening from 11am on Saturday June 4.

Juan Atkins, Dave Haslam, Bicep, Mark Lawrence, Shanti Celeste, Lizzy Bowman, Halina Wielogorska, Mark Lawrence, Sarah McBriar, Ableton, Pioneer, Native Instruments, Belfast Underground Records and more will take part in panels, talks, workshops and sessions throughout the day, plus record fairs, street food, art and more.

Often known as the ‘Originator of Techno’ and boss of Metroplex Records, Detroit hero Juan Atkins will be the lead speaker at AVA’s conference. In 1985 Juan was inspired by European pioneers Kraftwerk and the novels of Alvin Toffler to create a futuristic soundscape, that he then named ‘TECHNO.’ After rejection of the ‘techno’ concept from big labels, Juan embraced the enterprising spirit of his hometown and created his own label, Metroplex Records. His career and journey through 40 years of electronic music will form the basis for his talk. This session will cover the origins and growth of techno, Juan’s career, starting a label, as well as advice for fellow producers, followed by a Q&A.

Juan Atkins

Juan Atkins

DJ and writer Dave Haslam DJ’d over 450 times at the legendary Hacienda in Manchester during the late 1980s and is a household name in the club world. He’s the author of ‘Manchester England’, a groundbreaking study of Manchester’s radical and musical history, and three more books; including the latest ‘Life After Dark: A History of British Nightclubs & Music Venues’ in 2015. Dave will be joined by Mark Lawrence, the director of the Association of Electronic Music, to discuss ‘Life after Dark’ – his book, the culture of nightclubs and the nighttime economy, touching on political and cultural issues that are at the forefront of the industry.

Original Belfast lads Bicep have gone from bedroom DJs to globally acclaimed artists, an inspiring journey. Venturing into new territory by creating a full live / AV show this year, the Feel My Bicep lads, Matt & Andy will host a special talk discussing the transition into the live world. From inspirations and successes to challenges and leanings, this talk will be an insightful look into artist development and growth. On top of this, the talk and Q&A will prepare the audience for the debut of the Bicep live show, part of AVA’s night programming.

Pushing the dial on Women in Electronic Music’ will host 5 inspirational women from across the electronic music industry. A panel consisting of Lizzy Bowman (Red Light Management), Halina Wielogorska (She said.so, Clintons Law, Boiler Room), Sarah McBriar (Up Productions & AVA Festival Founder) and Shanti Celeste (BRSTL, NTS, Idle Hands) will discuss how women can join together to inspire the next generation, share experiences of how they have progressed throughout their own careers in a space historically occupied primarily by men, followed by the challenges they face.

Shanti Celeste

Shanti Celeste

Interactive technology and equipment drop-in spaces also makes up elements of the conference programming, with specialists & master classes from Ableton, Pioneer, Native Instruments and The Beat Emporium. Focused on the audio, visual and arts talent and industry within Northern Ireland and beyond, AVA will offer connections and knowledge of the music, film and arts worlds. Whether people are there to get fully involved, or are just curious, all are welcomed. More keynotes, talks, talent and sessions to be announced.

Register now for the FREE AVA Conference – www.avafestival.com/conference.

Further commitment to developing talent comes in the form of the emerging producers & DJs competition – shining a light on the fresh faces coming from Ireland’s thriving underground scene.

DJ Comp

The emerging DJ competition gives the opportunity for an up-and-coming DJ to showcase their skills in a 30 minute mix, with 3 finalists performing in a live final at Belfast Underground Records. The winner wins a slot AVA 2016, feature on the Feel my Bicep Blog and show on Belfast Underground Records Radio.

Producer Comp

Unsigned producers can enter the AVA competition to feature on an EP with Extended Play, a feature on the Feel My Bicep blog and mentoring and artist development support from JMX & T-BONE. Submit your track or mini-mix via email to info@avafestival.com add in the subject: ‘AVA Emerging Artist Track – Your Name’ by May 20.
A one-of-a-kind event in Belfast, AVA Festival and Conference is paving the way for a new generation of talent. There are limited free spaces on the AVA conference workshops, available via www.avafestival.com/conference and limited tickets for the AVA evening showcase available via www.avafestival.com/tickets, with a price tag of just £30, with less than 50% remaining.
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