CHANGES Music Summit 2018: A Volunteer’s Experience

Hello friends, and welcome to another blog post.

I had a few second thoughts about sharing this post, because I wasn’t sure if my experience was deep enough to merit an entire blog post, but I’ve just finished up my second and final day, and thought…’what the heck, my blog, my posts‘, so here I am.

Over the 4-5th of July, the CHANGES Music Summit took place in Melbourne for the first time ever. What is it? Well, if you head to their website, this is the rough gist of it;

Over two days, CHANGES will outline the future of the music industry. Across the realms of music, tech, talks and ideas, CHANGES has assembled a roster of ground-breaking voices to ignite one question: what’s next?

Headquartered within the stunning ACU Melbourne campus, on July 4 and 5, CHANGES will begin to draw a roadmap for the future.

It sounds cool, right?

The summit covered changes throughout the entire industry, ‘music, tech, talks and ideas’. A plethora of subjects were covered over the two days such as;

  • The Changing Mindset Of Contemporary Artists
  • The Importance Of Covering Artists Outside of The Mainstream
  • It’s Not Digital Marketing: It’s Marketing
  • Elevating A Visual Experience With Technology
  • DIY Party And Event Projects
  • Gameboy Music Workshop
  • The Benefits Of Being Multi-Disciplinary
  • Women In Music – Hearing Voices You Can’t See

and a ton more.

Not only that, but from around 6PM onwards, the summit transformed into the music festival, and instead of stages that you would have at a regular festival, iconic live music venues, some that I’ve mentioned in my Music In Melbourne post, became stops to see up and coming as well as well-known Melbourne artists, allowing live pass and summit pass holders to travel around the city, and catch some amazing acts.

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However, I found out about the summit, through my university email inbox. I often take it for granted, because on the odd occasion that I choose to check those emails, and go through the pile of mostly junk, I’m always certain to come across some sort of opportunity, tickets available, free passes, internship offers and so on.

A couple months ago, I came across an email seeking volunteers for the CHANGES Summit, and without really giving it much thought, decided it would be cool to give it a go and fill out the application. I’m telling you, the second I closed the tab on my phone, the entire thing was forgotten.

Which made it all the more surprising for me when I received an email last month telling me I had been selected as part of the volunteer roster for the summit. The best part, I had a free pass for the day I wasn’t rostered on. Hence, my short volunteering stint began.

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Having been rostered on for a half day shift on the first day of the summit, I was quite pleased considering some of the the talks I was keen on seeing were the following day. The day before the festival kicked off, I headed to Fitzroy, catching a tram out of the city, to find out where I would be stationed, get my volunteer pass and my T-shirt. It was a short, quick, fun meeting, and I met a couple other people from my university course who were all going to be in and around the event.

For the first day, my role as an Event Runner had me stationed at the CHANGES Hub, which was the first port of call for anyone and everyone who was going to be attending the summit. Considering I started at 1 and finished at 5, it was a pretty breezy shift, taking into consideration most people arrived earlier in the day. My role quickly turned into one of security/attendee assistance/registration.

I spent quite a while keeping people out of the staff and volunteer areas, helping them with  problems that arose with finding schedules and maps and knowing where they were meant to be, and when the next wave of people came in, I ended up helping out at the registration desk, finding people their passes, putting on live past wrist bands, printing out new name stickers for passes and watching as industry professionals struggled with the sliding door that refused to open on command unless you were one centimetre away from it.

It was a fun shift, and a lot of the other volunteers were students like I was, either interested in music, event management or festival work. It was a great atmosphere.

The second day was a lot more chill, considering I didn’t have a shift, so once again, I caught the tram in and headed towards my first talk, Music Passport: Live America.

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The talk was really interesting, and covered a lot of grounds around the export of live Australian music in the USA, festivals like SXSW in Austin, making decisions surrounding taking bands over there for managers and labels, the costs involved, the processes and so on.

Following that session, a couple other volunteers and I headed back to the Hub, for the all ages lunch showcase, with RAT!hammock playing that afternoon. If you’re looking for a funky, bedroom-pop, Mac DeMarco type sound, definitely check them out because I loved their set! My favourite song was definitely Mud, though all the songs they played were really good, and easy to listen to.

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After RAT!hammock, I caught one more keynote talk, one that I was really keen to listen to, and that was The Benefits of Being A Multi-Disciplinary. The talk was incredibly interesting for me. While being a musician, working towards songwriting and maybe performance one day, are my main aspirations, they haven’t stopped me from becoming a ‘slashie’, as they say; someone with a couple of slashes in their title. For example, old blog favourite, Donald Glover. He’s got all the slashes. If you looked at his title it would probably be something like;

Rapper/Singer/Songwriter/DJ/Record Producer/Actor/Comedian/Writer/Director

Along the way, I’ve kind of picked up my own set of skills, and while I’m not incredibly mind-blowing amazing at all of them, I’m good enough that I can list them as a skill set, which in turn makes me more valuable to hire or work with. Things like photography, videography, music journalism, blogging, editing and producing (we are getting there) can be added to my singer/songwriter/musician title, and help me hopefully get more jobs that carry more weight. I know a lot of us bloggers are already ‘slashies’, due to the nature of the endeavour requiring not only a lot of extra out-of-pocket work, but also different avenues to make money and sustain ourselves at the same time.

Uppy, the speaker, a radio host at Triple J and currently a Music Director at Red Bull Australia, also gave seven key tips to help us ‘slashies’.

  • Ask questions from colleagues: there is always something to learn, and if you can dip your feet into all aspects of a project or work, then you can gain more insight and knowledge into how those roles are filled, the skills needed and how you can make it work for you.
  • Find someone you trust who can mentor you.
  • Read about the stuff you can read about: Keeping on top of everything that’s out there for you, puts you a step ahead.
  • YouTube is a rad resource of how to do things.
  • Attend music conferences and summits: they are one of the best places to network and navigate the industry, make connections and form relationships you can rely on further down the track in the future.
  • Consider doing an online course or qualification if the traditional educational route is more your jam: while DIY self-taught work ethic is well respected, so is someone with a degree or qualification that guarantees their value.
  • Take care of yourself because burnout is real: the point of being a ‘slashie’ is to be good at a lot of things, which doesn’t work if you yourself aren’t in your best form.

I made sure to note those tips because I could see how well they could lend themselves to all types of career movement and trajectory. Those tips, as well as the entire session were really worth the time it took to get to and from the summit.

Although it started out as a mindless process for me, one I forgot about almost instantaneously, the CHANGES summit was an amazing experience. I really enjoyed attending the festival, meeting all the amazing people I did over the two days, and opening myself up to the real inner workings of the music industry and the people within it. Who knows, I’ll probably be back at the summit next year, either as a volunteer or a regular pass holder!

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3 thoughts on “CHANGES Music Summit 2018: A Volunteer’s Experience

  1. PRIYA I WANT YOUR LIFE. Literally whenever you share these things I’m just like “wow what a freaking amazing opportunity!”. This honestly sounds like it was absolutely perfect for you and I’m glad you got so much out of it! xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Omg Mia it was honestly just the biggest amount of luck I checked my emails on that day, applied because I thought ‘lol what the heck’, forgot about it, but got selected, like it was the most fun three days ever xx

      Like

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