The International Music Festival Conference 2014 Preview

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IMFCON Logo 2015

The calm between Thanksgiving and Christmas is typically a quiet period in the music festival world and before the next wave of 2015 fests kick off at the end of the month (New Year’s Eve, January cruises, and the Australian festival season), the industry gathers together at the annual International Music Festival Conference (IMFCON) to take a look at the past, present, and future of music festivals.

Now in its sixth year, IMFCON takes place in the music festival hotbed of Austin and runs from December 7-9, 2015. While we spend most of the year on the fan experience side of the music festival coin, this year the MFW crew is heading to our favorite Texas city to hobnob with over 800 industry insiders and see what’s on tap for next year. (We also plan on spending some serious time chasing down tacos.)

While the below list doesn’t even being to cover the panels, speakers, and events at IMFCON over the course of the conference – see the full agenda on the official website — here’s six events that caught our attention.

Keynote Address: The Magic of Music Festivals — What It Means to This Generation
We’re big fans of Chip Conley and Fest300 which focuses not just on music, but on all the amazing unique festivals around the world. Nobody knows more about travel than this guy — his day job is at Airbnb, our hands down favorite place to sleep and where we are crashing in Austin (just as soon as we get around to booking a room).

Panel: What Can Festivals Learn from Tour Managers?
A panel near and dear to our hearts. In a past life the co-founders of Music Festival Wizard spent a combined fifteen years as tour managers on mobile marketing gigs. While we’re guessing that this panel will focus on the nuts and bolts of the job, we’re hoping to hear a few good road stories from these front line veterans.

Panel: Doses and Mimosas: Addressing Drug Use
As we’ve watched the War on Raves amp up year after year, it’s become apparent that current efforts like heightened security isn’t the only solution. It’s time to think outside the box and we expect this panel to provide some alternatives to the current state of affairs.

Panel: The Media is Your Message
Considering we’re technically attending as “the media”, it’s going to be nigh impossible to miss what festival organizers really think about us and our crack reporting. I assume this will be a long hour of everyone talking about how great the media is followed by a group hug.

Panel: Stairway to Heaven- The VIP Experience for Music Festivals
Our website philosophy is experiencing festivals from the viewpoints of the fans and with nearly 50+ festivals under our belt, it would be remiss for us not to report on the VIP experience. If this sounds like justification for us hanging out on beanbags and drinking with pro-wrestlers (thanks Heavy Montreal!) then by all means that’s what we will do.

Panel: What Happens in….Sustainability
Five years ago, it felt like festivals barely touched on this topic and now it’s damn near mandatory at today’s gatherings. Now that recycling bins and composting have become a part of festival life, we’re curious to see what else the industry has on the horizon.

Born during a backstage Bonnaroo downpour, Vito's mission in life is to dance, write, and travel to all the great festivals that this wide world has to offer.