A Pan African music business conference beckons in Johannesburg this month

The event takes place from November 25-27, 2021 at Constitution Hill and at Sci-Bono in Newtown and features industry heavyweights from around the globe.

(Page lead use my author’s pic, pic of Eddie Hatitye, pic of Evelyn Sieber  pics of Master G and Msaki, )

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor 

There is a new exciting conference focusing on the business music poised to take place in Johannesburg, and which will feature leaders in the business of music, and this is a must-attend event for those in the business of music.

But before we go into the details of the forthcoming Conference for Collaborations, Exchange and Showcases (ACCES), it is perhaps a good idea to look at the context in which the state of music business is currently operating in South Africa and certainly on the continent, and that is that the sector has been almost decimated in the last 18 months, but the good news is that it can be rebuilt for a rebound as an energized sector, that is imaginative brains are put together to re=model a new way of doing business in the music business..

Here is the thin. An extra ordinarily refreshing perspective was shared by an influential Polish film festival director at the weekend, Saturday, November 13, 2021 at the opening of Energa Camerimage Film Festival in the Gothic Polish city of Torun.

Marek Zydowicz contexualsing the situation in which the arts, especially live events find themselves in light of the current situation of Covid-19,  the respected Director of Photography drew inspiration from two  post plaque events in art history.

Variety magazine reports that  at the 29th edition of this film festival dedicated to cinematography, Zydowicz  pointed out that “after plaques come a renaissance in art,” sharing with the audience an image of the Beautiful Madonna of Torun, a revolutionary work of sculpture created amid the current of artistic expression that followed the plaque of 1300,” Variety reports.

And again, he told the audience that after the Spanish flu of 1918 killed millions, the work of early cinema artists such as F.W. Murnau emerged with fantastical imagery as did expressionist masterwork The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” adds the Variety report. 

These remarks were made thousands of kilometers away from here as Camerimage returned to full scale, with 231 screenings and 82 talks scheduled through November 20 following last year’s online only event, a move forced by Covid-19 restrictions, the report adds.

You might be wondering what does this perspective have to do with us here, a country on a different continent, and certainly thousands of kilometers away from Torun.

It has everything because by Zydowicz making this reference to previous past plagues that killed millions centuries ago, and how after those devastations in human life cost, there was an art renaissance  that gripped societies of the time. The director of Photography here is clearly making an apt comparison that to the post Covid-19 possibilities in as far as the arts are concerned. Covid-19 has affected all sectors of society, particularly the staging of live events such as musical festivals and concerts, therefore affecting the livelihoods of practitioners in the music business.

There is therefore a need for those running the music business to imagine new ways to calibrate new innovative ways in the post Covid-19 music scene.

It is in this context that the leading pan African music business event Conference for Collaborations, Exchange and Showcases (ACCES) coming to Johannesburg, South Africa, should be most welcome. Acces is taking place in South Africa for the first time this year, and leading industry heavyweights are expected to grace the occasion this month.

Music industry professionals from across the globe – including musicians, label executives, publishers, promoters, managers and festival bookers – will gather in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the fourth Music In Africa Conference for Collaborations, Exchange and Showcases (ACCES) this November.

ACCES is the leading pan-African music business event organised by the Music In Africa Foundation in a different African city every year. This year’s edition takes place at Constitution Hill and Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg from 25 to 27 November.

Organised in partnership with Europe’s leading club festival, Reeperbahn Festival, ACCES will offer an exciting programme, including keynote speakers, panel discussions, live performances, exhibitions, workshops, awards and networking sessions.

The conference programme features a dynamic roster of global musicians and industry experts including global superstar Master KG whose Jerusalema song became a global hit during hard lockdown, giving hope to humanity during a time of existential uncertainty due to the pandemic, Busiswa, Slikour, Msaki, Gigi Lamayne, Priddy Ugly, who are among more than 50 speakers and workshop facilitators confirmed for the music trade show.

 ACCESS 2021 apart from hosting what promises to be informative workshops happening against the backdrop of the impact of Covid-19 on the African music scene, participants will also experience some of the most exciting music related events after a long time of inactivity on the local live music scene due to the global pandemic, such as concerts, workshops and more planned, during this iteration of ACCES 2021.

This music business conference is important in that role players will explore new ways of running a music business in a changed and challenging music business environment as necessitated by the challenges that developed due to the world pandemic. 

For example, new models of running a music business are expected to be discussed during the event, making it a must-attend event for those interested in reviving an industry that has been left battered and in disarray in the past 18 months of devastation on the African continent.

“Reeperbahn Festival International is excited to be back in Africa for ACCES in Johannesburg! After our first successful trip to Accra in 2019 and an exclusive digital Pan-African edition earlier this year, we feel our partnership with the Music in Africa Foundation, and in particular the wonderful team behind it, has grown very strong during those difficult times.

Now more than ever, the connections between Africa and Europe should be forged and ACCES, like no other access point, gives us the opportunity to help achieving this and learn about the African market.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the support of the German Foreign Office to make this possible and look forward to welcome many representatives of the African music business at Reeperbahn Festival 2022 in Hamburg.

 “Reeperbahn Festival is Germany’s biggest urban club festival, presenting around 500 artists from all around the world in four days in September in Hamburg (figures pre Covid)

 Along with the public festival the Reeperbahn Festival Conference, with 5,900 trade visitors from over 50 countries, is Europe’s most important platform for the music and digital creative industries. The music industry event offers industry representatives a program of sessions, networking events, matchmaking, meetings and award shows and presents around 50 showcase evenings in cooperation with international partners.

 With its two closely interwoven strands – 1. the public festival program with more than 700 concerts and program items from art, film and literature, 2. the program for trade visitors – the Reeperbahn Festival follows the model of cultural-economic events such as the Berlinale/Berlin International Film Festival and the Frankfurt Book Fair.

 Next year the 17th edition of the Reeperbahn Festival takes place from 21 – 24 September. Our partner country in 2022 will be USA,” says Evelyn Sieber, Project Lead Reeperbahn Festival International.

‘Hosting a B2B trade fair in a pandemic season is what our music industry needs. We are encouraged by the response to ACCES 2021. With global music industry stakeholders participating so generously to our hybrid events is testament to the resilience of our continent when we work together. Our partnership as an example with Reeperbahn Festival and with the German Federal Foreign Office, is broadly based on facilitating sustainable business engagements and exchange between European and African music businesses and professionals, as well as the provision of performance opportunities to musicians in both territories’  says Eddie Hatitye Director of Music in Africa Foundation.

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