We run through five main takeaways from the AVA conference 2023 at Printworks.

Printworks Must Stay


Despite the wealth of interesting panels, spare a thought for the venue itself. Printworks’ impact over its short tenure has been substantial and it would be a great loss for dance music to see it go. Some of the nights have gone down in folklore and the jobs created would be a massive squandering.

Broadwick Live, the company behind Printworks has already taken steps to soften the blow. Their new venue The Beams has hosted similar events since opening in October last year.

Given the economic gloom, we could all do something to look forward to and Printworks on a weekend is that. Plus the venue regularly hosts things such as AVA Conference and other daytime events thus creating jobs and boosting the local economy.

It’s going to be massively missed and whatever we can all be doing to prevent its closure we should.

“It’s Music Or Prison”

AVA Conference Neurodivergancy
Panel on Neurodiversity

Following on the tails of our lead interview with Tristan Hunt, the ex-AFEM Regional Manager hosted a fascinating panel on ADHD and associated conditions within dance music.

There was a wealth of fascinating insight and the admission that 80% of those in prison have ADHD. What this suggests is there remain huge misconceptions about ADHD and that many in the creative industries have some form, possibly undiagnosed.

The interesting thread between all the hosts Jeryly Wilkton-Kruger, Hayleigh Beckles, Jen O’Neill, Saytek, and Esta Rae is that neurodiversity is a power and not a problem. It’s possible to thrive with Neurodivergence conditions and each panellist had their own way of doing so.

Headliners have the power to effect change

Sherelle and Niks AVA Conference 2023
Sherelle and Niks

Diversity. It’s a term that gets thrown around but perhaps not enough, and perhaps by some in a tokenistic manner.

Thankfully, though, there are things we can all do to help. One of the ways this could be done is with a diversity rider. As Jaguar explained it’s where she’ll only play if the lineup has a particular representation as indicated in her rider.

To date, that seems to be having some impact. But by her own admission, having reached out to the likes of Calvin Harris and David Guetta, without seeing the change at the top, there’s still some way to go.

AI is just getting started

David Rudnick AVA Conference 2023
David Rudnick

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to many that AI was discussed at this year’s AVA conference. From songwriting to social media consulting, artists have been finding creative ways to use AI to their advantage.

It isn’t all good news for everyone though and quite a few people are frightened by the possibilities of AI. With Google’s recently developed AI song generator MusicLM now capable of generating full five-minute songs and Spotify’s brand new AI DJ being released could AIs be the artists of the future?

We need more data in our industry

Progressing Gender Representation in UK Dance Music Report
The Jaguar Foundation Report

Fantastic reports such as The Jaguar Foundations’ “Progressing Gender Representation In UK Dance Music” report and the NTIA’s “Nighttime Economy Report” have highlighted just how valuable data can be in understanding this industry and the issues that it faces.

For example, the Jaguar Foundation’s report found that only 28% of artists on the average festival lineup in 2022 were women or non-binary individuals, while the NTIA’s report found that in the past three years, almost 30% of clubs in the UK have closed.

People may have been aware of the struggles of women and non-binary individuals in the electronic music industry and the struggle of clubs in recent years but it’s the data that really gives these findings context and makes them really shocking.

Going forward our industry will be much better off if it can embrace data and what its collection can lead us to understand. Crunch the numbers!

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2nd March, 2023

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