Tony Wilson’s son behind new music industry festival for Manchester

New Order to launch festival at SXSW

Beyond The Music, a new global music conference and festival, has announced its first edition to take place in Manchester from 11-14 October 2023.

The festival is the brainchild of producer Oli Wilson, son of legendary Manchester cultural catalyst, TV presenter and Factory Records boss, Tony Wilson, who died in 2007.

And Wilson junior himself has established his name as a producer, presenter, promoter and social enterprise founder. 

Wilson said Beyond The Music will aim to explore, define and tackle pressing issues in the music industry, as well as showcase new talent. It is designed very much along the same lines as iconic music and digital festival South By South West (SXSW) held every March in Austin, Texas and seen as where technology and creative industries collide and co-operate.

Beyond The Music has named Manchester band New Order (pictured) as its first ambassador, who will launch the event with an exclusive concert during the SXSW festival at The Moody Theatre in Austin, Texas on 13 March.

Wilson, will work alongside BTM director Sarah Pearson, founder of Wasted Youth Music, and chair of governance Rose Marley, chief executive of Co-Operatives UK, and a committee that includes Michael Adex, chief executive of NQ, and Jane Beese director of music, MIF / Factory International.

The SXSW concert will feature Manchester band The Orielles and post-punk group Loose Articles as support acts. Both acts are being supported to attend SXSW by GMCA (Greater Manchester Combined Authority) and were selected by the Greater Manchester Music Commission and Manchester Music Cities Network.

With Beyond The Music, Oli Wilson intends to build upon the foundations laid by his late father Tony Wilson, who is known the world over for creating Factory Records and the Hacienda nightclub, but also the In The City music industry conference which brought record label bosses and major artists to Manchester when it launched in 1992 to offer a platform for new bands and artists to reach music industry heavyweights, with events and talks during the day and gigs at night.

Oli Wilson said, “It’s a pivotal time in the history of the music industry and for Manchester, so it’s only right the two are coming together again to decide what the future is going to look like. Building on our civic traditions of innovation and cooperation we are creating a forum for the music industry to shape its future in the new cultural economy, and delivering a new music festival that will realign Manchester as the global capital of music.

“Whether it has been with technology or creating new business models within the industry, from the very beginning of their career, New Order have always led the curve. Now in 2023 we are proud to have New Order as our first artists ambassadors, as they embody the spirit of Manchester and share the same commitment to innovation as Beyond The Music.”

Organisers said the event will bring together tech, AV, gaming, brands, and literature and will gather artists, entrepreneurs, creatives and music industry professionals over the course of three days.

The event has also received the support of Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who is to be a founding ambassador. Burnham said: “Beyond The Music will be the most innovative new offering for the international music industry and a parliament for UK music. Discovering new talent, breaking new boundaries and going beyond the conventional, it’s no surprise it’s formed in Greater Manchester, where tech meets content meets social reform.”


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