In 2009, SMILE (Solent Music Industries Live Event) was launched as a creative and enjoyable insight for those students who show a passion for everything the music industries has to offer. This has been carried out by introducing students to those who know it best; The professionals. Guest speakers such as Nick Halkes, the man responsible for signing mega superstars The Prodigy, are invited to share their experience and give students an outlook on everything you’d want to know about getting into the industries. Other speakers and performers included Maria Forte (former general manager at Virgin), Janine Warren (PR for bands such as Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party) and Tom Taffe from International Talent Bookers, who are responsible for representing artists such as Aerosmith, Rage Against the Machine and Bob Dylan.
If the launch wasn’t big enough, organisers were beside themselves with excitement as they announced the line up for 2010. The day was jam packed with industry professionals such as writer Gary Mulholland and marketing/promotions genius Mark Hobrough. Each year there is something for everyone, including Q&A sessions for the budding journalist, or a simply stunning performance from guitar hero Rodney Branigan. Last year included a session with Nick Halkes and industry professionals Mark Hobrough, Tony Thorpe and Steve Ager that included discussing demo tracks from unsigned acts and bands. This was an extremely rare opportunity for up and coming acts to get a serious and highly regarded opinion on their own music. Another artist that was present for the day was Deacon Blue keyboard player Jim Prime, ready to not just guest speak, but also do as Q&A session with the audience. SMILE offers so many opportunities for those looking to go into an area of the music industry, or just those that want the chance to listen and learn from those who know a thing or two.
The finale to a brilliant second year came from two artists that are renowned for being in a league of their own, singer songwriter Lauren Pritchard (Island/Universal) and British hip-hop/grime group Foreign Beggers (Dented). Every year, organisers are trying to better themselves by arranging more and more benefits for students and of course more knowledge to gain.In fact, they have so much up their sleeves that SMILE has been scheduled to take place over a whole 5 days! Music, Celebs and plenty for everyone. Now, surely that’s something to ‘smile’ about.