Over the last few years I’ve been traveling down the 401, from Montreal to Toronto, to experience one of Canada’s biggest music industry conferences and festivals: NXNE. But this year’s NXNE really broke down into a clever, and almost mathematical, formula that I’ve discovered. When you take N x N + E, it equals something really special called, networking galore!
Arriving in Toronto on a Thursday, I wasn’t sure what my plans would be. This was the first year I told myself that I would play it by ear and word of mouth, and I sure am glad that I trusted my gut feeling because the rewards were just priceless. What I discovered at this year’s NXNE was tons of rooftop parties and backyard BBQs. All these were the right spots to be, whether you were an industry-type or a musician. The first rooftop party I ended up at was hosted by the XM Verge radio show. Arriving to the rooftop with industry friends from Liberty Music Traxx and BreakingTomorrow.com out of Montreal, we hit the party and it was crammed! Tons of people squashed like sardines, and super loud due to both people chattering and bands playing in the background. I met a few people that I knew there, but my rating on this bash was so-so, compared to the others I attended. I can’t do places where you can’t even talk to the person next to you because you can’t hear each other. But overall, just sitting on a rooftop in the sun and having fun with friends can never be a bad thing.
Up next, the Friday night Red Bull & Hot Hot Heat bash! This was quite an event thanks to the great music and open bar of Red Bull Vodkas. You can never go wrong with that mix! It was great to get into that party and see more industry faces, and swap stories on what we’re all up to these days. My big word to describe this joint is: magnificent! As an architectural and design buff, this place made me excited! It was a two floor loft with the first floor being a venue / bar, which gave the feel of a very personal and intimate show. The second floor was a great concept of open offices with plenty of windows, and cool boardrooms with glass walls, right dab in the middle. There was even an adjoining lounge area. Very cool. I want a loft just like it.
Day three, Saturday, turned out to be the best day of them all, and I have to thank my friend Miriam for the hot tips! I met up with her at the Hyatt, where NXNE conferences were being held, and we walked down King St. for a few blocks West, looking for the first bash to hit: the Vice Magazine rooftop party. I was really hoping to bump into people I knew at this bash, and to make new friends since networking is always the primary goal at these events. My review of the Vice Mag party was pretty good, saw a few people I knew, but it was actually difficult to network as I found myself in a similar situation as in the XM Verge bash: everyone was crammed into a small space. I do have a few salutations to Vice however; the ribs on the BBQ and St. Ambroise beer were a great mix!!! Who doesn’t love delicious (free) booze and food?
Now, speaking of booze and food, here comes the best BBQ of them all! Joao Carvalho Mastering studio, situated somewhere on the Wast side of Toronto, put on the most exciting bash that mixed great bands (I wish could remember them all), sizzling burgers straight from the grill (props to the chef!), and an endless fountain of beer! Now, if you’re like me (i.e. a networking hound), this was the place to be as it was, by far, NXNE at its best. Getting a backyard full of industry people and artists, and getting them to shoot the shit about music and miscellaneous topics, is the perfect mixer. I met tons of people, and made tons of new friends. Thanks again to both Darryl Hurs of Indie Week and Miriam for suggesting I attend this event.
My overall summary of this year’s NXNE, on a scale of 10, is a burning 11! As a must-do fest on my checklist for music industry professionals and artists, NXNE is one of the keys to building your personal and business relationships.
For everyone who has yet to attend a NXNE, make it a to-do for next summer!
For all things NXNE visit: www.nxne.com