Yellow Phone Music Conference to add Scottish musicians and free shows

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:45 am

Yellow Phone Music Conference is celebrating its second year by both drawing in an international component to the conference and offering free concerts for the general public.

The Milwaukee conference, scheduled for Thursday Sept. 6, through Sunday, Sept. 9, prides itself on what founders David Silbaugh, Doug Johnson and Scott Ziel describe as being back-to-basics.
According to Silbaugh, today’s larger music conferences often leave unsigned bands lost in the shuffle as they compete for attention against bands that have already been signed. As large conferences rely on signed artists to draw people and record labels and publicists use conferences to promote their new signings and new artists, hopeful artists have a harder time standing out and gaining exposure.
“This is a way (for unsigned artists) to meet the people who are on the cutting edge of the music industry and learn how to better their craft,” Silbaugh said. “They’re mingling with the cream of the crop in the music industry.”
The three emphasize a one-on-one interaction among the musicians, industry professionals and badge holders attending so that musicians can have more accessibility to the professionals for networking purposes.
About 40 unsigned music acts from across the country and the world will make it to Milwaukee for the music conference, which will feature panel discussions and mentor sessions with respected music executives at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 333 W. Kilbourn Avenue in downtown Milwaukee.
Silbaugh, Johnson and Ziel recruit musicians for the conference year-round, traveling to music festivals and other conferences to scout out talent and searching online. They also employ a focus group of college students to be on the lookout for potential bands, duos and solo artists.
A few of this year’s performers will venture to Milwaukee from Scotland. Yellow Phone Music Conference has partnered with goNORTH music festival, a Scottish music industry networking event, to introduce the Scottish pop band Fatherson and singer and guitarist Willie Campbell to the conference.
The conference will also feature free shows for the general public at Catalano Square along Broadway and Menomonee streets in the Third Ward. The shows will highlight four unsigned bands Friday and Saturday.
In addition to free concerts, the Yellow Phone event will showcase unsigned talent artists at other Third Ward locations, such as The Irish Pub and the Milwaukee Ale House, Friday and Saturday. All showcases within the four-day conference are open to the general public. Shows cost $5 at the door. A $20 wristband option grants music lovers access to all 30 shows. Individuals interested in attending the panel discussions can purchase a conference badge for $149 until Friday, Sept. 7. The fee will then be $199.
“We just want people to have a really positive, impactful experience,” founder Ziel said. “We want everyone – no matter if you’re a musician, someone from the music industry or someone who’s just a music lover – to walk away having a really good creative music experience from the four-day conference.”
Attendees can find all the details of the performances as well as the panel discussions on a new smartphone application the conference has introduced. For more information about the app and the schedule of conference events, visit

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