Un-convention is a global grassroots music event and community that meets physically and virtually to debate about all aspects of music. An initiative with a difference, it is concerned with music in the margins and a collective approach to creativity.

Un-convention events happen in unusual places including boats, barges and churches. The seventeenth event happened at The Roundhouse in London, which is unique in its circular architecture.

A cornerstone of the event was to create, record and release a record alongside panel debates, interactive workshops and networking. Seven established and new bands were chosen to cover tracks from The Clash’s London Calling, which are available to download.

London Calling

London Calling

2011 was the first time I had heard about this ten-hour event. Its unique selling point is that it takes an alternative approach to music education. For example, not many industry events would feature a session on the politicization of music.

The panel debated refreshing notions of the role of music in politics at an exciting time in world history with change rippling through the Middle East. While panelists despaired that music was no longer political, I could not help but think about the debates about hip hop losing its fire to commerciality.

Rappers such as Immortal Technique were referenced, but should rappers be politicians? Or would they lose their audience when they took up office? The thought provoking debate was underlined by a stirring performance from Irish rapper Jun Tzu.


Other discussions at the event highlighted the need to share data and emphasized the idea of collectivism in music, which is a non-traditional approach in what is often perceived as a dog eat dog industry.

It was food for thought for musicians looking to tour; faced with suggestions to consider non-traditional venues as outlets for their music. The soundtrack to this debate was the Fish Police who have created their own punk funk genre. A performance from Young Fathers rounded off the after-party. The international audience got value for money and doubtless more than they bargained for.

For more information on Un-convention visit: http://www.unconventionhub.org/

The UK Corner covers urban entertainment from a British perspective and is written by Fiona McKinson©. She is a freelance journalist and creative writer based in London. Contact her at [email protected]