Big Changes Mark This Year's We R Indie Music Conference

The Indiegrrl Music Conference that returns to Knoxville next month is both bigger and smaller than the one held last year in downtown Knoxville. It's definitely a little different, since its official name is now the We R Indie and Indiegrrl Music Conference, reflecting the broader scope the non-profit organization has taken on since last year's event.

After last year's conference, which included seminars about navigating the professional music industry for independents artist, organizers decided to make the overall event less gender-specific.

"Frankly, it was the first time ever that we had more attendees that were male than female," says local singer/songwriter Karen E. Reynolds, a member of the We R Indie board. (The organization is based in Virginia and has held its annual conference for several years; last year was the first time it was held in Knoxville.) "Making it We R Indie opened it up. There's just a larger platform there. ... Indiegrrl still exists, it's just under the umbrella of We R Indie."

The other major change is that the 2011 conference will be held exclusively at the conference center at the Holiday Inn on Henley Street. Last year's conference also included music performances at clubs and bars all over downtown and in the Old City. This year will still feature live music, but it will all be on two stages inside the hotel.

"It's not out in the venues," Reynolds says. "The organization lost a little bit of money last year with that. It spread everything out too much—the events at the conference center were lower-attended. We may have been a little ambitious for the first year having it here. But the venues were all well-attended."

The conference, set for Aug. 18-20, will include presentations from publicists, publishers, songwriters, and artists. Performances for the weekend include a solo songwriter contest and a battle of the bands. Admission to the conference is $200, but a $5 cover will get you access to each night's performances. Visit We R Indie for more info.