Artist Development days

trac is running a series of one-day workshops aimed at part-time and full-time professional musicians in the folk/traditional sector. The workshops are designed to help musicians become better communicators and be more professional in the “business” side of a musical career.

They’ll be held at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, at a subsidised cost of only £15 each.

Book your place here

10 March
Touring, Gigging & Developing Your Audiences
How, where, when, why? Strategies and case studies for both UK & International. With Neil Pearson

• Developing strategies and plans for growing audiences in existing markets, and in developing new regions.
• Working with other artists and development partners on exchange programmes
• Getting gigs, approaching festivals and bookers (especially if you don’t have an agent), and when is it right to get an agent
• How to pitch, when to pitch, strategy around this and gaining profile with the right venues/festivals.
• Building relationships with programmers and promoters
• What are programmers thinking when they book artists, and how to use this to your advantage.
• Matching your target territories to showcase events, what is out there and what is the right event to consider.
• How and when to take the risk – when is the right time to expand and how to do this strategically, who are the partners to consider?


17 March
What makes your music unique?
Distinctiveness, authenticity and stagecraft, with Alan James

• What makes you different?
• Welsh music beyond Wales
• The Language Gateway
• Different approaches to taking your music further
• Q and A’s

An interactive session with 9Bach’s manager, Alan James. We’ll look at how the unique qualities of the Welsh language and music from Wales can be used to enhance the possibilities for touring and international work outside of Wales. Bring your experiences, your ideas and your questions.


24 March
Building your team
How to build a support network at all points in your career, with Neil Pearson

• Understanding who you are, what you can (and can’t) do on your own
• Knowing when to seek help and advice (and where to ask for it)
• When do you need to build a team, how to build a team and who should be in it
• Building networks and contacts including networking / work relationships and joining the dots
• Finding the balance between creativity and admin
• Self-motivation and work/life balance
• Working with mentors and coaches
• Delegation and letting go of things
• Working as a collective: ‘Do it Yourself Together’


coming soon

Agents, managers, and unrepresented bands

A matchmaking session, with Alan James

A day for unrepresented (folk) artists to meet agents, managers and would-be music biz professionals.

Alan James, manager of 9Bach and Spiro, leads this day on how an agent or a manager can work with a band, and facilitates introductions between unrepresented artists and a number of invited music business professionals.

If you are an agent, manager, or promoter, or would like to work with unrepresented Welsh acts, please contact trac on

The day is free to EFEx applicants, and costs £15 (towards room hire and refreshments) to other bands/artists.


Meet the tutors

Neil Pearson is a freelance producer, project manager and artist-development specialist working in music; with a particular interest in singer/songwriter, folk and the wider roots genres.

With over 17 years experience working in both the commercial and charity elements of the sector, he has worked with artists from across the UK and abroad on a range of commissions and touring collaborations with both UK and international partners. He has programmed the UK room at Folk Alliance International in North America over the past 6 years.

Recent projects include ‘Sweet Liberties’ a commission with Parliament to celebrate the Parliamentary Anniversaries, ‘Folk Nations Kolkata’ with British Council, ‘The Elizabethan Session’ with Folk by the Oak, and most recently ‘Sound Journeys’ with British Underground & British Council Canada to celebrate the Canada 150 anniversary.

As a programmer he was responsible for the music programme at Cecil Sharp House in London for 6 years, and was part of the programming team at a major festival – in addition to this he has taken on one-off shows that range from a pre-Raphaelite event at William Morris’ Red House (with the National Trust), to a night of protest songs for Museums at Night in Westminster Hall (with Parliament).

Alan James started his career, as one of the UK’s first full-time, salaried, Entertainment Officers, at the University of London Union. There he promoted important London shows for The Smiths, Joy Division, Misty In Roots, Cabaret Voltaire, The Pop Group, Wah!, The Raincoats, Scritti Politti and The Slits – amongst many others over a four year run.

In the early Eighties he became a pioneer of world music working on the inaugural WOMAD Festival in 1982 as tour manager for The Burundi Drummers on their historic first visit to Britain. The rest of that decade saw him hosting the first ever world music radio show on regional radio (Worldwide for GWR), co-programming the ground-breaking ICA, Clevedon and Mersea Island WOMAD Festivals, touring with The Smiths, setting up the Yu Fe Danse Sound System in Bristol and providing the pre-show music for Peter Gabriel’s Secret World Tour.

From 2001 to 2006 he was Head Of Contemporary Music at Arts Council England and continued his freelance DJ’ing, writing and artist management activities.

In 2007 he set up an artist management, creative production and consultancy company called Hold Tight which currently manages Spiro and 9Bach. Hold Tight has also worked with The Imagined Village, The Bays and The Heritage Orchestra, Chris Wood’s Handmade Life, Sam Lee, Johnny Kalsi’s Dhol Foundation and Sheema Mukherjee.

Alan was Chairman of EFDSS, and Chairman of the Welsh Music Foundation which developed opportunities for Welsh music and with its partnership Cerdd Cymru:Music Wales produced WOMEX, the leading world music expo, at Cardiff in 2013.

trac: Music Traditions Wales
© 2018 trac Registered charity number: 1085422;
Company limited by guarantee: 4106014


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