The City Magazine Since 1975

The Business of Bands

The Business of Bands
August 2017

A newly rebranded conference underscores Charleston’s status as a musical haven

A concert by Stop Light Observations and an ”Artists Speak” panel (below) were among the 2016 Music Confab offerings.

When Dave Stewart was a young radio DJ in the ’90s, he got to witness the early days of Austin’s SXSW, the music conference that’s now a behemoth festival of the arts. After stints with radio stations in New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Miami, he’s returned home to South Carolina, where he sees parallels and opportunity.

“Charleston right now looks a lot like Austin did 25 years ago,” says Stewart, explaining why he launched the New Music Confab, a conference that brings together national artists and music industry executives with Lowcountry performers, students, and budding entrepreneurs. With its third iteration taking place from August 30 to September 2, the event now boasts a new name, Charleston Music Confab, that reflects the Holy City’s growing national reputation as a hotbed for musical talent.

Curious about the effects of streaming services on artists’ revenue, or how to publish and collect royalties on a song? Confab attracts industry pros from Nashville, New York, and L.A. to answer those questions and provides artists the opportunity to hand them a demo or business card at evening showcases. With performances at Music Farm, Upstairs at JohnKing, Music Hall, and Royal American, “The music takes place where music is supposed to happen—not in a hotel conference room,” says Stewart.

For the schedule of daytime panels and nighttime concerts, visit


Photographs by (Charleston Music Confab-2) D. Salberg Imaging