After COVID-19 caused Ohio University’s nationally recognized annual music industry summit to go entirely virtual last year, it will return to Athens this Tuesday and Wednesday in a hybrid format.
Some of the summit’s sponsors include Revada and the Haden DeRoberts Foundation, as well as the Scripps College of Communication, the School of Media Arts and Studies, and the Center for Entrepreneurship.
The summit will feature musicians from all genres, from Athens-based folk band CAAMP to Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner. Other artists include rapper Saba and Fitz and Noelle Scaggs of Fitz and the Tantrums.
Summit director Josh Antonuccio said the process of securing these performers is tedious, taking about eight to 10 months to establish a schedule of performers and keynote addresses.
“It’s always a logistical challenge because we’re so far from the airport and we also have to work around people’s visits and commitments,” Antonuccio said. “The Grammys ended up being a disrupter because we had people lined up and some we had to rearrange because the Grammys adjusted to the weekend ahead of us. There are a lot of moving parts and also just trying to work around people’s personal and professional schedules.
The program aims to attract music fans and students involved in music or music production, whether at UO or nearby regional schools.
“It’s great if you can get to New York, Austin, Nashville for big conferences, but there’s a cost, (and) there’s a time factor that makes it prohibitive,” Antonuccio said. “The accessibility factor is a big part of the ethos that we’re really trying to build. For OU students, for regional high schoolers, for people in Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Cincinnati, Toledo, having a place three and a half hours away is so much more doable.
In addition to providing accessibility, one of the goals of the summit is to reach students who live in Appalachia.
“I believe students in the Appalachian community deserve access to the same level of performance in MemAud as our big city counterparts,” said Andrew Holzaepfel, Performing Arts and Concert Series Director. “Students here at Ohio University deserve access to the thinkers, the music industry professionals that people at other big city universities have as well.”
The students are thrilled with this two-day event and can’t wait to hear some of their favorite artists.
“I love Japanese breakfast,” said Zack Shober, a first-year environmental health science student. “It’s a good opportunity to not only see the artists you want to see, but also to get personal stories from them and learn more about them. It looks more like a one-on-one opportunity than a gig or something.
On Tuesday, Stuart’s Opera House, 52 Public Square, will host an opening night, featuring a DJ set from Zauner to kick off day one of the summit. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. and the DJ set begins at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $6.25 for students and $9.25 for non-students.
Little Fish Brewing will host the Music + Tech Happy Hour from 5:30-7:00 p.m. for summit attendees and guests to tune in. The event is free, but registration is required and is restricted to conference registrants.
CAAMP will perform at Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium on Wednesday after their keynote at 1 p.m. The concert will benefit the Newport Festivals Foundation. Doors to the concert open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and are expected to sell out.
“It’s about creating hotspots, not just for networking, but also for learning, that really belong to our university,” Antonuccio said. “Students should really get excited about this and engage.”