Music Panel and Networking Event at Gateshead College

Nearly 100 eager and talented musicians and performing art students at Gateshead College (Leadership College of the National Skills Academy for Creative and Cultural) attended a music panel/networking event in December 2019. Music industry experts travelled across the country from Brighton, London, Sheffield and the North East's very own music scene to give their unique insight and advice to these aspiring performers and musicians.

The panel was made up of:

  • Charlie Dancer, Talent Development Manager at Generator
  • Claire Dupree, founder and editor of NARC Magazine, the independent guide to alternative music and culture for the North East.
  • David Smith, MD of North East based Sapien Records Ltd, a management and record company assisting artists from across multiple genres (pop, rock, metal, folk, rap).
  • Recording artist and music educator, Brighton-based Max Wheeler, one half of duo Anushka with over a million plays on Soundcloud and well over seven million plays worldwide, who has toured the world from Texas to Siberia via Vietnam.
  • Frank Wilkes, Founder & CEO Kycker, with over 35 years’ experience working in the Music and Tech industries and has run a number of tech and music development initiatives.
  • Chris Pentney, independent agent and manager of Sharper Than Folk
  • Youth Engagement Director, Daniel Williams, from London-based Youth Music, a national charity supporting over 350 music-making projects across England for children and young people.
  • Wonderfully chaired by Ben Dickinson, Executive Producer of City of Dreams.

The session kicked off with a great discussion on how everyone got their break of working in music and what was the main piece of advice on offer to these aspiring students going forward.  Students then had the opportunity to ask their pre-prepared questions to a member of the panel, such as the one for David at Sapien Records: ‘Do we still need labels?’

After a busy information-giving, jam-packed morning, students were able to chat more in depth and ask questions in the afternoon session and network more. They took part in networking round tables where the music industry experts were asked such questions as: `How you get your music heard’ and 'Why aren’t there more women in music?. The sounds of the conversations was almost deafening!

“I really enjoyed my visit - was great to speak to so many highly engaged young people about opportunities in the industry and the lessons I’ve learnt on my journey. Was personally really interesting to see what were the pressing issues for them and to see the changes taking place with the impact of streaming and new business models for music. Was also great to get out of the south east and see how things differ for young people in another part of the country. Overall a really brilliant event and I hope some of my advice helps!"
Max Wheeler, Producer , Músician & Educator

"I found that the Gateshead College event was a really great way to get to the heart of issues young people are facing on their route to study and work in the creative sector. For me, understanding what young people are looking for in terms of future skills and how we as publishers can support them is very interesting and may help drive the way we promote ourselves to young people in the future. I felt the format of the event worked very well, with an excellent range of voices and experience among the panellists, who were all positive and excited about their work, making for an inspirational event.”
Claire Dupree, Editor, Narc Magazine

If your college, university,  music hub or organisation would like CCSkills' support in running a similar event or would like to join the NSA then please do contact us at