Live Report: Wide Days 2024

Scotland's premiere music showcase returns...

Throughout it’s fifteen years Wide Days has stayed at the forefront of important music industry topics, from being the first UK gender balanced music conference to this year’s focus on accessibility. Despite being concerned that they would not be able to deliver the event as planned due to having their funding denied, the three days were packed with deep diving panels and amazing showcases. 

Wednesday saw the panel ‘Computer Says Yes’ which brought together professionals from across the industries to discuss the changing landscape of AI in music. It addressed not just the threats that new technology poses but also the opportunities it affords the industry. Providing a compelling insight into how AI could be used in the future as a tool to further music practices. 

‘Accessibility in Music’ took place on Thursday highlighting different organisations like Attitude is Everything who are taking strides in making venues accessible for both artists and audiences, while Gig Buddies are helping adults with learning disabilities get involved in music and attend gigs. Panellist Supermann on da Beat (aka Sanjeev Mann), a disabled Scottish producer/songwriter and campaigner, is one of those bringing attention to accessibility within Scottish music. This panel highlighted a major theme running through the convention, every venue was made wheelchair accessible for artists and audiences as they believe music should be for everyone. There was also a Quite Room provided for the first time for anyone who needed a space away from the busy schedule/atmosphere. 

The convention also included the Local Heroes series which spotlighted Edinburgh businesses: The radio station EHFM and Hidden Doors who host events in disused spaces around the city. This provided interesting glimpses into the important businesses that add to Edinburgh’s unique music landscape.

The daily events provided a great platform for delegates to gain insight to an industry that can often come with a lot of mystique. Such as the panels ‘Sync or Swim’ and ‘A&R You Brave Enough?’ which gave artists a chance to submit their songs for feedback from industry specialists. While the 15 Minutes of Knowledge series provided brief but fascinating presentations on specialised subjects like American PR and Digital Ads. 

Other aspects included appointments with a BAPAM doctor for musicians and 1-to-1 meetings, allowing attendees the opportunity to schedule 15-minute meetings with speakers, industry specialists and other delegates. 

Wide Days was the host to 24 talented artists over the three days. Three staple Edinburgh venues, Sneaky Pete’s, Le Belle Angele and The Bongo Club welcomed the showcases which were packed with mainly Scottish talent but also Welsh and Canadian artists through partnerships with FOCUS Wales and M for Montréal. Every act that graced the stages of Wide Days were astounding, I have focused on a few but I would encourage everyone to check out all the artists. 

Scottish singer songwriter Leif Coffield wrapped up the Wednesday night talent development showcase with a bang. He demonstrated his magnificent showmanship entering under a cloak to chanting and the anticipation in the audience was palatable. His high energy numbers with catchy lyrics kept the audience dancing for the full set. He ended on his newest release ‘Only Fascination’, bringing a 70’s synth and groove to the set that I can only imagine had people humming the chorus all the way home. 

Canadian Emilie Kahn was joined on stage by a five-foot harp that beautifully accompanied her captivating soft voice. Her pop songs reveal a vulnerability as she sings about life experiences ranging between hopeful and uncertain, her lyrics are heavy hitting in the best way. With influences like Arlo Parks and Lana Del Rey her music pulls the audience in and left them in awe throughout her performance. 

DVTR ended Thursday night at the Bongo Club, the French-speaking Canadian duo provided the audience with an exhilarating performance. The excitement could be felt as the energy from the duo rippled through the room and the audience enjoyed their complex mix of electronic and punk. 

Supermann on da Beat, a Scottish disabled South Asian producer, provided an electric set, inviting other artists to join him on stage. His songs span genres like hip-hop, rock, pop and a variety of others creating unique compositions that kept the audience dancing and excited. The range of songs demonstrated Supermann’s musical diversity and showcased his talent as a producer. 

Adjua, a singer songwriter and producer from Cardiff, provided a stripped back set that created a laid-back but entrancing environment. Her music covers genres like alt-R&B, Latin and Indie creating songs with their own special feel. The vocals throughout were rich, smooth, and enthralling as she delivered reflective lyrics. If this is what she can do with just a guitar and vocals, then I can’t wait to see her accompanied by her full band. 

Glasgow born and bred Pearling delivered an ethereal performance. The electronic music performer and producer is striking in her use of autotune to create dreamy and mystical compositions. Pearling’s enthusiasm when performing translated to the audience as she got them involved, it is hard not to be entranced by her angelic sound. 

Other acts include Neev whose songs have a poetic anthemic quality that provide a guttural feeling that you can’t help but move along to. The Joshua Hotel who blend electronic with indie music to create an eclectic sonic experience that energised the crowd. Mama Terra brought a great blend of jazz and soul to Sneaky Pete’s. Eyve’s storytelling through a unique blend of genres like rap, hip hop and jazz captivated the Bongo Club, while Indoor Foxes cutting lyrics with high energy instrumentation provided catharsis to the crowd as she encouraged everyone to scream along. 

Overall Wide Days number 15 was a whirlwind of thoughtful panels, fun activities, and thrilling artists. Their ambition to continue bettering the music industries and providing opportunities for artists, organisations and industry professionals shows their love for music and why they should remain a staple in the Scottish music industry calendar. 

Words: Natasha Brown

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