With the A3C Festival & Conference approaching quickly, I thought it would be a great idea to create a helpful post for taking advantage of what I think is one of the most important aspects of A3C (and any other festivals you attend) – which is networking.
Networking and building relationships in hip-hop is one of the most profitable things you can do as an upcoming hip-hop artist because - in most cases (especially at A3C) - it will cost you $0 and that same relationship has the potential to make you more successful than you’ve ever been.
Now, before I start giving you tips on how to network, I want to address a mindset that I feel limits a lot of hip-hop artists ability to network. They have this belief that if the “right” person listens to their music and likes it, he or she will be able to make them successful. It's not true.
Nobody can make you successful except for your fans. A Drake co-sign can make you popular (which can be a good or bad thing) and a Jimmy Iovine co-sign can get you connected with more industry professionals than you need, but nobody can make you successful except your fans.
With that said, let’s get to what you came here for.
How To Network At Events Like A3C
1.) Go To As Many Events As Possible
You should go to as many events as possible, this includes going to those that may not necessarily be associated with the festival like lunches, dinners, after parties, and other events with people from the festival. Some of my best relationships were created outside of the festivals and conferences - when people are just hanging out and relaxing.
Not only does going to these events add to the overall experience and increase the odds of meeting some really cool people - but it makes it easier to approach (or be approached by) familiar faces because you’ll have something in common that can be used to ‘break the ice’.
Example Icebreaker: “Hey (insert name if you remember), were you at the ___ dinner yesterday? I remember seeing you but didn’t get a chance to introduce myself. I’m…..”
2.) Engage with People on Social Media
One of the most effective networking techniques I use for festivals involve engaging with people who are at the festival on social media. For example, most festivals and conferences use Twitter hashtags and Facebook groups for people to share their experience and meet others. What I usually do is use these hashtags to find people talking about the event and then add to their conversations. This does a couple things.
It allows me to engage with a lot more people than I would be able to in-person.
Starting conversations online with strangers is a lot easier than walking up to a stranger and starting conversations (at least for me it is)
So, when attending a festival or conference, find the event’s community online (via Twitter hashtag or Facebook group) and then engage with people in the community.
3.) Build Relationships with People Who Are Connected
You’re not going to be able to connect with everyone at the festival and that’s OK. Focus your efforts around genuine people that already have a good network. These people will be able to introduce you to a lot of the people you didn't get a chance to meet later, outside of the festival.
Now, that’s not to say you should avoid connecting with people who are barely connected in the industry, but make sure to make the best use of your time.
Your Next Steps
I want you to be able to walk away from this article with some actionable steps that you can do right now to make networking at the next festival you attend a success.
So, here’s what your next 2 steps should be after reading this article
1.) Buy the tickets and plan as early as possible. Not only will you save money, but you will be organized and might also receive additional items and perks. If that festival is A3C, you can purchase the tickets early here: http://www.a3cfestival.com/attend
2.) Start looking up hashtags surrounding the festival and start having conversations with people using them. The sooner you start building relationships with people attending the festival, the better.
Those are 3 tips for networking at festivals like A3C, as well as my 2 actionable steps that you can do right atfer reading this article. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll answer.