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Generator welcomes the future of music to the North East at a major summit of industry leaders

We announce an exciting new event in partnership with Sage Gateshead, Warner Music UK, TheWRD from The Ivors Academy, and The Rio Ferdinand Foundation to launch a first of its kind in the region, Music Industry Advisory Group.

The Music Futures Summit brings together some of the music industry’s leading lights for an insightful day of panels, discussions and presentations to help launch Generator’s innovative Music Industry Advisory Group, chaired by Stevie Wonder’s long-time representative Keith Harris. The group features chart-topping musicians and producers, leading music lawyers, cutting-edge artists and regional stakeholders, who will be on hand to provide 1:1 advice sessions, support and advocacy throughout the year.  

This inspirational event will focus on how Generator, its partners and the creative community in the North East will deliver on its vision to create a sustainable music industry in the region that ensures access for all. The summit will look to address the challenges and opportunities facing artists and the wider creative supply chain and provide a fascinating insight into the industry and its plans for the future.  

The summit will also introduce a raft of exciting new partnerships with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, confirming a commitment to develop opportunities and bring their talent and expertise to the North East and major music label Warner Music UK , responsible for some of the biggest artists on the planet. Generator will also introduce its landmark skills programme in partnership with the North of Tyne Combined Authority, which will see the creation of a series of groundbreaking vocational qualifications designed to directly plug the widening skills gap within the music industry and prevent North East talent feeling they must relocate to London and the South East to further their career. The event is supported further by the Newcastle United Foundation, highlighting their exceptional work with communities across Newcastle and the wider region.  Newcastle United Foundation’s NU Futures programme provides life-changing opportunities through education and employment support for schoolchildren, teenagers, and young adults.

This joins an already announced partnership with The Ivors Academy (the people behind the prestigious Ivor Novello awards) and their innovative vocational qualification TheWRD which gives creatives in the area access to a cutting edge music entrepreneurship programme developed by the industry for the industry.  

Taking over the iconic Sage Gateshead on 5th May 2023, the free event will feature unrivalled networking opportunities with some of the industry’s most influential figures alongside a programme of talks, presentations and live questions with members from the Music Industry Advisory Group. The Music Futures Summit will provide an unrivalled opportunity to connect with some of the industry’s most prominent movers and shakers throughout the day including interactive presentations and Q&A’s

The event comes at a hugely exciting time for Generator which has drastically expanded its workforce since emerging from a particularly turbulent period during the pandemic. The organisation, now lead by CEO Mick Ross is programming its most exciting and dynamic programme to date as it enters its next three years as an Arts Council England, National Portfolio Organisation. 

Mick Ross, CEO of Generator said; 

“Since I became CEO, it’s been my goal to tackle the widening skills gap and prevent the crippling brain and talent drain afflicting the North East’s cultural and creative sector. By embedding our talent in the industry and linking them directly with music leaders, we will achieve our vision. This event is a hugely exciting opportunity to map out that future and let the UK know that the North East is here to make its mark on the industry,” 

Bringing the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and Warner Music UK to the North East alongside the stellar line up on the Music Industry Advisory Group is a huge coup for the region and its creative community. The leaders of both organisations are equally excited to have partnered to bring their expertise and opportunities to the region. 

Gary Stannett, CEO of The Rio Ferdinand Foundation said; 

“The Rio Ferdinand Foundation and Warner Music have recently undertaken a three year partnership to support young people to access careers in the music industry, extending our work in London and North West to other regions across the UK, with the North East a priority area for both parties. 

Our collaboration with Generator will provide an exciting platform not only for us to offer additional opportunities and events to young people in the North East, but also to work together to create new initiatives that will support employment and skills development through the creative industries in the region. 

I am looking forward to attending this launch event on the 5th May, and to building strong partnerships and impactful projects with the fantastic team at Generator and their network of partners in the coming months and years.” 

Tony Harlow, CEO, Warner Music UK, said: 

“The North East is home to so much young talent, and these young people can not only become the artists of tomorrow but the music executives who nurture and grow those artists. We are excited to come together with Generator, who will be a valued partner – they understand our passion for creating opportunities within the music industry, particularly for those outside of London. Everyone who loves music deserves to know that they can build amazing careers in the music business.” 


Elected Metro Mayor for the North of Tyne, Jamie Driscoll, said: 

“So much incredible talent has come out of the North East. We’ve got a long track record of that. What’s harder is ensuring our own live music industry has the skills and opportunities to flourish here – and not move to London. That’s why we’re funding these important qualifications, up here, to help support our own performers and homegrown talent.” 

Wendy Smith, Creative Director, Sage Gateshead said: 

“Sage Gateshead works across the music ecosystem, including music education and music industry. We work in partnership with Generator and a wide range of organisations – from national music industry networks, businesses and trade associations to cultural venues, local authorities, schools, colleges and universities in the region and nationally. We programme a hugely diverse range of live music for audiences in the North. 

We are here to develop and support music education, artists and the live music industry in the region, so we are delighted to host this event with Generator and their partners which looks to increase inclusion for young people and connect them to music and creative industries.”

Attendees are encouraged to pre-register in advance as places will be limited and all attendees will be given the opportunity to submit questions to the panel members in advance to ensure their voice is heard. Registration is open now at 

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