2020 Third Coast Conference

The Third Coast Conference is on hiatus in 2022. Looking for current Third Coast programs? Third Coast is launching an experimental slate of virtual-first, year-round events in 2022. Check out Third Coast in 2022 for more details.


Since 2000, Third Coast has been bringing together communities of audio makers to make Chicago the epicenter for one weekend each fall: The Third Coast Conference. One of the oldest events in the country, for two and a half days, a community of over 800 audio producers, journalists, artists, reporters, students, editors, and sound designers gathered from all over the world, representing the breadth and depth of the field.

Through community meet-ups, listening rooms, live events, maker sessions, and more, the Conference shined a light on the heart and soul of audio storytelling: art, craft, community, critical reflection, and dialogue.


In 2020, it became clear that bringing together our worldwide community in Chicago would be impossible. Instead, for the first time ever, we dreamed up a digital destination for all of our virtual programming, inspired by the in-person spaces that we’d been missing during the pandemic: [Third Place]. Rooted in the concept of the spaces between home and the workplace, where community comes together, building Third Place in an online world was our answer to the kind of audio community that we were missing — a community that gathers in conference hallways and venues, theaters and restaurants, late nights in bars and early mornings in coffee shops.

At Third Place, we debuted experimental live performances and skill-building sessions by the most inspiring folks in the industry; community meetups to build up solidarity and support; curated collections of audio stories; plus resources, creative prompts, career networking, access to our Sunday festivals, and much more. With this new experiment — in this new world — we launched a sliding-scale pricing structure called collective pricing that asked folks to consider their resources and community when choosing how much to pay for Third Place.

In 2021, [in lieu of a Third Coast Conference], we hosted our biggest-ever Call for Entries for the Third Coast/RHDF Competition, inviting a talented group of 20 judges, building a 2021 Web Showcase, and convening for a live virtual Awards Celebration.