PodUK is the UK’s only podcast fan convention, a one-day celebration of UK Podcasting, with panels, Q&A’s, recordings and workshops ranging from podcast creation to fandom culture. Started in 2019 by Rocksalt Events, it offers podcast fans the opportunity to watch their favourite podcasters discuss their creators, learn about the process of creating the medium and to meet fellow fans. For 2020, Birmingham’s Millenium Point was retained as the venue, a large open venue set over four floors.
The volunteers had arrived the previous evening to set up the space and some arrived early on the day to help with pre-event set-up. By 9 AM, a queue of attendees were waiting by the main entrance. As they filed in, they were welcomed by the hosts of PodUK into the promenade, a communal gathering space where attendees could acquire merchandice and meet podcasters at the various tables set around the room. They were handed their landyard and a convention booklet containing the schedule of the day split between three spaces:
- The Auditorium. An enormous dead-space theatre where guest podcasts performed live events across the day.
- The Workshop Room. A long office room seating about 20 where experts gave talks advising existing and aspiring podcasters on the various aspects of podcast production.
- The Panels Room. A larger demonstration space seating about 50 where lead figures from the podcast community discussed their medium in a panel format.
In addition to these three spaces and the promenade, there was also the Green Room — a secret space behind the auditorium where podcasters, organisers and volunteers could have the quietude needed to rehearse, discuss and rest respectively.
As a volunteer, I was in and out of several of these talks and shows but I was able to glean some exciting memories and useful information. I have listed below some of my favourite moments from the day:
- Ella Watts gave an impressive run-down of the professional podcasting landscape in her talk ‘Pitching Your Podcast’. Ella is an invaluable force for good in the podcast community. She summarised her thoughts for those who were not able to attend her talk and it would be in any aspiring podcaster’s interest to read it.
- K.C. Wayland has made the epic zombie-adventure series ‘We’re Alive’ over the past ten years and talked about some of his favourite memories of the experience. I didn’t know that he also made Bronzeville, one of my favourite gangster dramas. It was such a thrill to see him talk both about his shows and give guidance on the use of audio in his Audio Storytelling Workshop.
- The Audio Drama and Horror panels were excellent fun with interesting questions posed by Ella Watts and Alasdair Stuart of Escape Artists to a panel of podcast creators including Alex Newall of Rusty Quill, Maxamillian John of Definitely Human, Kyle Brown and Eric Kimelton of King Falls AM, KC Wayland of We’re Alive, Maddy Searle of Prickwillow Papers and Gemma Amor and David Ault of The No Sleep podcast.
- The Amelia Project was reliably hilarious. The series’ premise: a secret agency which offers professional support to those who wish to fake their own death. A live recording of an episode was performed by the main cast with special guest performances by Felix Trench and Emily Stride. Hopefully, they will add it to their feed so check that out when it comes.
- After set-down, we joined many of the attendees who had retired to the pub The Woodsman across the road from the venue. I never really thought of myself as a pub-after-work person but it turns out that if everyone is talking about the exact thing I love, I’m pretty up for a drink with my peers.
If you want to come to next year’s PodUK you should follow PodUK on Twitter.
And if you want to listen to my podcast when it’s released, I’ll be letting everyone known via Twitter. You will also see me post thoughts and other articles about podcasting, the charity sector and tech for good.