Music Forward’s All Access Fest 2024 in L.A.: Details

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On Wednesday (April 10), Music Forward Foundation’s All Access Fest is expecting roughly 1,200 students and young adults to enter the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles to learn all about the music industry.

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Launched in 2018, the music and live entertainment convention gives 16–24-year-olds the opportunity to meet professionals who work in the business and provides resources for those who want to pursue a career in it.

This year’s day-long event will feature panels, networking sessions, roundtables and exhibit booths with more than 100 industry professionals from entertainment companies including BMG, Snap Inc., Downtown Music, Live Nation, Concord, Ticketmaster, EMPIRE and many more.

Exhibitors for the 2024 edition will include AEG, Girls Make Beats, Universal Music Group, Los Angeles Film School, Lux Lighting, Inner City Arts and Belmont University. In addition to high school students, hundreds of post-secondary students from colleges including Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Carnegie Mellon University, Loyola Marymount University, NYU, Pepperdine University, UCLA, UC Irvine, UNLV, USC, Santa Monica College, and more are also expected to attend.

The wide breadth of industry partners and experts at All Access is designed to give students — many of whom are coming from the Los Angeles, Compton, Inglewood and Centinela school districts — and other young people a greater understanding of all the possible employment opportunities in the music business, from artist to record label executive to lighting tech to costume handler.  

“A lot of the kids, particularly in the demographics that we’re reaching, don’t know about these opportunities,” says Nurit Smith, executive director at Music Forward Foundation. “They don’t know the ecosystem. That’s why when we talk about live entertainment, we’re looking at touring from all different angles.”  

Nurit Smith

Music Forward Foundation

Live entertainment is just one of many areas of expertise that All Access covers. The event can help give attendees an understanding of what it takes to be a touring musician or someone who makes those touring dreams a reality in a number of different capacities. To that end, promoters Insomniac Events and C3 Presents — which put on festivals like EDC and Austin City Limits, respectively — will have activations at the event, helping showcase the path to getting involved in that aspect of the industry.

After several years of virtual or hybrid events, Music Forward Foundation — a national non-profit in the Live Nation family — returned last year to a fully in-person convention, which Smith says made a huge impact coming out of the pandemic. The young people were a lot more eager for interpersonal connections rather than panels, so this year, the format “is being flipped on its head,” he explains.

“We’re gamifying this whole thing” with a scavenger hunt, Smith says. During the hunt, participants can have their resumes reviewed and will also be given the opportunity to meet three new people, have a new headshot taken and engage in additional activities that will help them experience different facets of the music industry and where their interests might align with a future career. “We really want to help them navigate this exciting and dynamic space that we’re creating and be very active in their learning,” Smith adds.  

Additional happenings at the convention include an artist lounge for open mic sessions, artist wellness activities, an appearance from artist Blu DeTiger, A&R listening sessions and direct access to industry mentors.  

While All Access Fest is only in its sixth year, Music Forward Foundation has been helping young people for more than three decades. The organization was established in 1993 as the International House of Blues Foundation in association with the famed House of Blues franchise. After House of Blues was acquired by Live Nation in 2006, the foundation became Music Forward as it expanded its reach and partnered with music entities far beyond the scope of its parent company. In its more than 30 years of work, the foundation has invested more than $42 million back into the music community and placed hundreds of young adults in paid positions.

While those numbers speak to the foundation’s ongoing efforts, Smith insists that All Access’ success is, in other ways, incalculable. “The success of supporting this next generation’s pathway will be the connective tissue in the partnerships that we all build together,” she says.

Registration for All Access Fest is free and open to young adults, regardless of school enrollment. In September, Music Forward will also host a virtual All Access Fest to reach more people globally.

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