42nd MPAC Conference
October 11-13, 2024 in Great Falls, Montana
Annual Showcase & Conference
October 11-13, 2024
Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts
2 Park Dr S, Great Falls, MT 59401
MPAC’s Annual Showcase and Conference is an annual 3-day event during which over a hundred performing arts professionals gather to plan performances, network, learn, and develop lasting relationships that extend into communities around the state.
Each year, the event is attended by presenting organizations from throughout Montana and nearby states, as well as artists, agents, and arts advocacy and service organizations. MPAC's annual conference features juried showcase performances by approximately 17 different artists, a trade-show style exhibit hall (Resource Room), networking events, and professional development workshops. The showcase and conference events are designed to be a collegial and practical means of networking and block-booking. Events are organized to provide ample time and opportunity to meet and foster conversation between presenters, artists, and agents.
The showcases are the main event of the conference as they give artists the opportunity to promote their programs to a large number of presenters. Likewise, the showcases give presenters the chance to sample a wide variety of live performances to consider booking for future concerts and live events. The conference also facilitates block-booking meetings so that presenters can coordinate tour dates, saving time and money for both venues and artists.
Presenter community and block-booking meetings
This conference event is for presenters only. During this time presenters gather to discuss possibilities for the next season(s). The Sunday morning meeting is typically when they see if there is enough interest in specific artists to form a tour.
The Jam Session
A game changer for booking interest
A perennial conference highlight is Saturday night's Artist Jam Session, which offers a chance to visit with other attendees and enjoy artist performances in an informal setting. Performers are invited to take the stage in a spirit of spontaneity and collaboration and jam with other artists. This event is well-attended by presenters and the experience at "The Jam" has a significant impact on the discussion at the block-booking meeting the following morning!
Presenters are the captive audience
Artists and Agents: if you are accustomed to the classic Exhibit Hall or Resource Room vibe of patiently waiting at your booth waiting for someone to approach you, this is your chance to literally turn the tables and be the one on the move. Each presenting organization is assigned a table or booth where they display information about their venues and communities. Artists and agents have a chance to approach the presenters, start conversations, and ask questions. There is a "best presenter table contest" during this event so presenters bring treats or cookies and really go all-out to show you their best!
The Montana Performing Arts Consortium annual artist showcase and conference relies on grant support from Montana’s Cultural Trust, the Montana Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.