Press Releases

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Norfolk, VA: Successful international music conference returns to Hampton Roads for its second year May 2019. The East Coast Music Conference (ECMC), which launched in Norfolk, VA in 2018, has been growing leaps and bounds since its inaugural year. Based on web traffic and advance ticket sales, organizers expect total attendance to grow by approximately 300 percent year over year. This large scale music conference begins on Thursday, May 9, 2019 and concludes on Sunday, May 12, 2019.

For its second year, ECMC is adding more nationally recognized speakers, such as Matt Starr; Tune Core founder, Jeff Price; and documentarian, John Rash; along with 30 other speakers and panelists. Additionally, for the live music showcases, ECMC will be adding several national acts to compliment approximately 75 international, national, and 20-30 local performers. ECMC 2019 is hosted and sponsored by a Who’s Who of innovative local companies, including O’Connor Brewing, Percolator, and Homemadesoul Music. So far, ECMC 2019 has artists booked from four nations including the U.K. and Japan. The growth has been spurred by overwhelmingly positive response of first year attendees and the successes of 2018 artists, such as being added to Warped Tour and other major events, widespread national media coverage, and the signing of licensing and other deals from the conference. After just one year, ECMC has been designated a Top 10 music conference.

Founder and Producer, Grace Garvin, attributes the success to the strong sense of community that artists from around the world were able to build over just one weekend. “This is a really great city in which to hold a large scale music conference,” said Garvin. The local venues and fans created a welcoming environment for the several hundred international guests and over 6000 locals who came together to share in this experience. “The music industry in Hampton Roads doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. It’s really a hidden gem, and we aim to shine a light on it.”

Founder and Executive Director, Drew Little, is focused on growing the industry and the economy. Excluding lodging, ECMC 2018, generated close to $1 million dollars in economic activity just in downtown Norfolk. However, he sees this as just the beginning. “When you look at our first year attendance, it was roughly the same as South by Southwest’s (SxSW) first year,” said Little, “but we are growing exponentially faster than they did.” Currently SxSW’s economic impact on Austin is over $350 million per year. Hampton Roads has many advantages over Austin. “We have a much larger population base, several universities, our Millennial population is growing faster than almost anywhere including Austin, and our geography makes us much more convenient to a much larger proportion of the U.S. audience. There’s no reason ECMC can’t become as large and influential as SxSW in just a few years. That’s the first step for Hampton Roads becoming an international hub for the independent music industry.”

ECMC is proud of its deep ties to Hampton Roads. Both founders have been a part of the community for more than 30 years. Garvin and Little have volunteered extensively with organizations such as the Virginia Opera, youth outreach programs, and local youth sports leagues. Throughout their careers, the founders have been focused on innovation and economic diversification for the region.

In addition to being key personnel in large local firms in the past, Garvin and Little have launched several start-ups in the region, including Brink Records, a successful independent record label, which they still own. The founders see a unique opportunity in Hampton Roads for the music industry and for secondary industries related to it. Garvin adds, “ECMC is just the first step. The real opportunity here is to build a billion dollar music industry which will spur growth in tech and other industries. All the pieces
are in place including local talent and expertise. Now is the time to bring it all together and create something truly special.”

For more information or additional questions about East Coast Music Conference, please contact Drew Little at 757-620-5648 or