This last week, I attended the first Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference at the City Hall, Cape Town. I know the guys who set it up, but to be honest, having been to more than a few of these things, I wasn’t holding my breath.

The thing that struck me the most overall about this event was how friendly and open it was. Sure there were some angry musicians wondering why they weren’t famous yet and some business types being scornful of how useless the average musician is when it comes to anything other than playing music. The normal fare. But overall, the amount of information and knowledge that was actually shared made this event stand out in my mind, and it will for some time.

The BSAMC organising committee had been adamant from the start that this event should NOT be about the usual whining but rather about solutions and opportunities. Well, there WAS a lot of whining BUT there was way more than normal amount of ideas and possible solutions to these problems.

The other marked ting about BSAMC was the number of music genres or sub divisions that were represented over the two days. There was hip hop, kwaito, house, afro pop, reggae, rock, dance, Afrikaans, Zulu, you name it. I was impressed. And yeah, it was quite small, but the last Moshito I went to 3 years ago was SMALLER and had a budget of over a million rand. BSAMC achieved more with about 100th of that than I think Moshito has ever achieved in terms of bringing people together, hosting meaningful knowledge and skills exchange and moving towards building a community in the SA music business.

I met people I have never met before which was a refreshing change. I also got to hang out with people I have not seen in ages. What I also liked was that the organisers were taking notes from every discussion that will be available from their website soon after the event. So keep an eye out on www.blackmangomusic.com  whether you were there and need some extra notes, or because you were not there.

Now THAT is a transparent attempt to actually build solutions.

Well done guys, I look forward to 2014!