The story behind Focus Wales

Blog by Louise Dodgson under Artist Managers, Music Training & Careers

Focus Wales is a 3 day music industry convention held in Wrexham, North Wales every April across several different venues, with the purpose of gathering together the local music community to chat and learn about the music business, not to mention taking in some top notch talent with gigs galore. With the next event just around the corner (it runs from Thursday 25th to Saturday 27th April) we thought we’d catch up with one of the organisers and gents behind the whole thing, Neal Thompson. So let’s rewind to 2011 when the first Focus Wales took place and find out what inspired Neal and his partner Andy Jones to create the event. 
What was the aim behind setting up Focus Wales?
Both myself and Andy Jones have worked on the live side of music for around 10 years and  we just felt that it was time Wales had its own national showcase, in similar mould to other events we have been to and are familiar with such as Liverpool Sound City, NXNE in Toronto, CMJ in New York, SXSW etc. So we thought we'd have a go at doing it ourselves!
What is your day to day role?
I am a partner in the organisation and I mainly manage the conference side of things, amongst everything else that needs attending to.
What will unsigned bands/artists & the grassroots music industry get out of attending Focus Wales?
Hopefully a lot! We've really aimed this year's conference at that specific sector. The panel themes and panellists themselves should be able to offer anyone participating, useful and practical advice and ideas they can take away and put into practice with their own projects.
The event also offers a chance for those participating to meet and chat informally with our guest speakers which this year include John Robb (Louder Than War), Guto Pryce (Gulp/Super Furry Animals), Chris Dyer (Zimbalam), Paul Gray (Musicians’ Union) and lots more. You can take a look at the full programme here.
Are there any particular seminars or gigs you’re especially excited about for this year?
Really looking forward to Charlotte Church, and also Michael Rother of NEU! both playing and his keynote discussion on the Saturday.
What is your favourite aspect of your job?
Definitely when the event is happening, and everything we've been putting together for the past year is all happening around you at once and you can experience the atmosphere it creates. 
The Unsigned Guide team will be visiting Focus Wales on Thursday 25th April if you’d like to come and say hello! For those who can’t make it along, we will be live tweeting from the event about the main themes and topics up for discussion so keep abreast of what’s happening at @unsignedguide.


focus wales, music industry convention, music industry event, music conference, music panels, music business


Your Comments

Brighton Music Conference reveal first panel topics and A&R sessions
Apply to play New Colossus Festival 2025
Apply to play Beyond the Music
Busk in Stations initiative calls out to talented UK performers
UK Music calls out to artists, producers, songwriters, engineers & any music creator to take part in the Music Creators' Survey 2024!
Alan Surtees Trust opens 2024 funding round for Folk performers