Tony Wilson's son founds new global music festival and conference for Manchester

Beyond The Music aims to bring together music, tech, AV, gaming, brands, and literature

By Manchester's Finest | 6 February 2023

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New Order will launch Beyond The Music with an exclusive SXSW concert.

Talk about the history of Manchester music and it’s never long before the late Tony Wilson’s name comes up. The founder of Factory records, arguably one of the most important records labels in modern music history, as well as the Hacienda, one of the world’s most famous clubs, was integral to Manchester’s musical heritage.

In 1992, Wilson also founded a groundbreaking music conference and festival called In The City which ran for almost two decades and became known for breaking bands who would normally not get a chance to play in front of the very London-centric music industry moguls of the time.

Now, his son Oli Wilson is treading in his father’s footsteps with the launch of Beyond The Music, a new global music conference and festival that will take place in Manchester from 11-14 October 2023. Organisers say the event will “focus on tackling the challenges faced by the music industry and turn them into opportunities to advance the industry”.

Beyond The Music’s launch will be marked by a concert at music industry conference SXSW in Austin, Texas, on 13 March 2023. The concert will be headlined by Factory Records alumni, New Order with support from young northern upstarts The Orielles and Loose Articles. Both support acts are being supported to attend SXSW by GMCA (Greater Manchester Combined Authority) and were selected by the Greater Manchester Music Commission and Manchester Music Cities Network. Beyond The Music will also host a showcase of emerging artists at SXSW the following day.

The conference and festival aims to create a global forum for the music industry, bringing together tech, AV, gaming, brands, and literature to build a “creative alliance for the future”. It will facilitate the coming together of artists, entrepreneurs, creatives, and music industry professionals with the lofty aspiration of “providing a platform to solve the issues faced by the industry today and produce innovative models for the future”.

The late Tony Wilson immortalised as graffiti in the Northern Quarter. Image: Loco Steve

Alongside founder Oli Wilson, Beyond The Music has been created by Sarah Pearson, Rose Marley, and a committee that includes Michael Adex (CEO of NQ) and Jane Beese (Head of Music for Manchester International Festival).

Oli Wilson said, “It’s a pivotal time in the history of the music industry and for Manchester, so it’s only right the two are coming together again to decide what the future is going to look like.”

Founding ambassador of Beyond the Music and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said, “Beyond The Music will be the most innovative new offering for the international music industry and a parliament for UK music. Discovering new talent, breaking new boundaries and going beyond the conventional, it’s no surprise it’s formed in Greater Manchester, where tech meets content meets social reform.”

New Order, who will be the first ambassadors for Beyond The Music, said, “We’re supporting Beyond The Music to help change and innovation in the music industry, particularly in mental health which is something close to our hearts.”

Manchester is known for its history of social change and cultural enterprise. So it’s a fitting location for a festival like Beyond The Music which should further cement Manchester as the global capital of music. We’ll look forward to the first line up announcements.

For more information and updates, head to Beyond The Music’s website.

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