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  • Sal Benryane

10 music showcases & conferences to look forward to in the upcoming months

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

The question of what the world will look like post-covid19, whenever that will be, is at the forefront of conversations across industries. Issues of sustainability, social responsibility and proper artist remuneration have been the main talking points in entertainment, and rightly so. It is much to think and talk about, in order to make the first post-covid step forward the right one.

That being said, we at Compass Music as an international music consultancy have also been asking ourselves some questions, namely: how music exchange and music exports on grassroots levels will be affected by the pandemic? With empty stages around the world, and so far little ideas of when and in what form the live music industry will resume, how can we encourage global networking, and what opportunities are there for artists at this time?

To that end, we’ve compiled a list of 10 music showcase festivals and conferences around the world that artists can apply to right now, industry professionals can put in their calendar, and music lovers can watch out for. The music industry has faced several major crises in the past, and is now showing a lot of resilience and flexibility by adapting events, organising livestream concerts, digital conferences, and hybrid events.

We hope the initiatives and inventivity of the below events will bring a glimpse of hope and togetherness in these challenging times, and something to look forward to as the world slowly comes out of lockdown and opens up to new cultures and music from across the globe!

1. Wide Days — Edinburgh, Scotland | 23rd — 25th July 2020

Starting the list off is Wide Days festival, Edinburgh’s award winning showcase and conference festival taking place from the 23rd to the 25th of July 2020.

Moving it’s program online, Wide Days boasts an exciting line-up for its showcase broadcasts, as well as collaborations with Focus Wales and Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival for their Festival Takeover broadcasts. Its conference program will also offer a wide range of events, such as panels, interviews, live performances, sector meetings, social activities and other networking opportunities. Hosting over 50 speakers leading talks, the festival will put a focus on how different sectors of the industry have been responding to the Covid19 crisis, exploring innovation solutions and steps being taken to remedy the effect of the pandemic. They will be collaborating with CMU, IQ Magazine and Music Ally, in a series of sessions and special edition broadcasts.

Wide Days is also the first Scottish event to join the PRS Foundation Keychange initiative, pushing for a 50/50 split in the music industry, achieving gender balance in its speaker program. Our Founder and CEO Géraldine Zanaska will be taking part in the Re-Imagine Music Export panel on Thursday 22nd July at 1.30pm BST (2.30pm CET) alongside Nur Al Habash (Italia Music Export), Márton Náray (SoundCzech / Czech Music Office) and Phil Patterson (Department for International Trade). They will be discussing alternative and growing trends in music business development in foreign markets, with a focus on digital streaming technologies and the opportunities they bring on in emerging markets.

2. Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs — Berlin, Germany | 26th — 28th August 2020

Normally taking place in Berlin, Pop-Kulture Nachwuchs is moving online with a digital edition from the 26th to the 28th of August this year.

Connecting 250 up and coming global talents with other artists and industry professionals, Pop Kultur offers 40 different courses and digital networking formats, both in English and in German, on a variety of topics, providing insights from the Berlin music scene professionals. The program is a great tool of international networking and promotes exchange across borders and disciplines.

3. Tallinn Music Week — Tallinn, Estonia | 27th — 30th August 2020

Now in its 11th year, Tallinn Music Week is an international music showcase and conference festival attracting 20,000 music fans and 1,000 industry professionals every spring. This year, TMW will be taking place from the 27th to the 30th of August. Its three day showcase opens up the city’s best venues to Europe’s most exciting up and coming talent. TMW’s program is renowned for its expertly curated eclectic mix of genres, ranging from experimental electronica to neo-classical music. During its two day creative impact conference, music industry professionals look into the economic value of art and the positive impact it can have on national economic development. Tallinn Music Week is not afraid to get political, as it vows to champion innovative music and promote diversity and positions itself as a launchpad for new and revolutionary ideas. In order to comply with European safety regulations and ensure the safety of concert goers, TMW is moving all its indoor concerts outdoors. If you were looking for a safe physical showcase to attend, Tallinn Music Week is definitely worth the trip!

4. Waves Vienna Festival — Vienna, Austria | 10th — 12th September 2020

Next on the list is Waves Vienna festival, taking place in the picturesque Austrian capital from the 10th to the 12th of September this year.

With their motto “East meets West”, Waves Vienna festival sets out to do just that: offer a platform that in great part promotes the Eastern European alternative scene, as well as support networking opportunities for Eastern European artists in its conference program. This year, the festival has selected two focus countries for their showcase: Ukraine and the UK, sourcing the essential part of their programmation from their local market and scenes. The festival will also be adopting a novel approach to overcoming the restrictions the pandemic imposes: a hybrid festival. Waves Vienna will be splitting its program between restricted live shows and public viewings, and Streaming Waves, for showcasing multi-channel, multi-venue sets digitally. Waves Vienna is also a founding member of The Innovation Network of European Showcases (INES), a cooperation project championing and supporting grassroots artists in showcase festivals across the continent. Applications for artists to take part in the INES Talent programme 2021 are still open until the 31st July, so make sure you apply in time if you’re interested!

5. Merkat de Mùsica Viva de Vic — Vic, Spain | 14th-19th September 2020

Taking place in the beautiful little town of Vic, the festival will be running its 32nd edition both online and offline from the 14th to the 19th of September 2020. The Merkat de Musica Viva de Vic which is traditionally composed of concerts, showcase and conference events, some free and some paying, aims at celebrating and promoting Spain’s musical and cultural activity. This year it’s conference portion, dubbed MVLAB, will be completely digital centered around HD pre-record concerts, webinars, virtual speed-meeting and pitches from local music businesses. As a result, professional accreditations are free this year. The showcase will open to the public as well as professionals, split between online performances and a handful of regulations abiding physical shows open to the public in venues across the beautiful city of Vic. Register on their website today and get your free professional accreditation.

6. Irish Music Week — Dublin, Ireland| 6th — 10th October 2020

Up next is the Irish Music Week, a showcase and conference based in Dublin, scheduled to take place from the 6th to the 10th of October this year.

In its showcase events, it offers up a platform for 50 of Ireland’s most promising and export ready emerging talent. It also hosts music industry professionals from around the world in its conference programmation, offering amazing networking opportunities through workshops, panels, master classes and speed sessions to name a few. IMW is also the first Irish festival to sign up to Keychain, the industry wide initiative to champion 50/50 gender balance in festival line ups.

7. MaMA Festival & Convention — Paris, France | 14th-16th October 2020

MaMA Festival & Convention is France’s answer to SXSW and The Great Escape, with more than 6,000 delegates and 500 journalists attending each year the largest French gathering of the music industry, taking place in Pigalle district of Montmartre in France’s capital Paris. A day program of panels, debates and workshops is dedicated to the visiting delegates, who are representing 56 different nationalities. By night, a combined audience of 12,000 visit 17 emblematic venues during 3 nights, for over 130 shows by a 50/50 line-up of French and international acts. For their 11th edition in October 2020, the focus will be on France and Europe’s answers to the current Covid-19 ongoing crisi, but will also look forward to the future, with panels planned on decarbonizing the music industry, the latest in music technology and much more to be announced. The first 47 acts have also recently been announced, including Al-Qasar (MA/US), Marina Satti & Fones (GR), Onipa (UK), and Compass Music favourites’ French duo Global Network. More information and passes on sale here.

8. Monkey Week SON Estrella Galicia — Sevilla, Spain | 19th — 21st November 2020

Celebrating its 12th edition, Monkey Week SON Estrella Galicia, Sevilla’s very own festival is still scheduled to take place from 19th to 21st of November 2020.

Monkey Week is a showcase festival connecting the Spanish independent music scene to the world. Inviting professionals from Europe, Latin America and all around the world, Monkey Week is at the forefront of the new European cultural industry championing the growing Latin American circuit.

The urban festival spans across the beautiful and culturally vibrant city of Sevilla, opening up spaces like the Alameda de Hercules, The Santa Clara Space or the Torre Don Fadrique.

9. Eurosonic Noorderslag — Groningen, Netherlands | 13th — 16th January 2021

This showcase festival probably needs no introduction, an iconic platform for up and coming European acts, attracting over 4000 music industry professionals and festival representatives from around the globe and selling out every year — Eurosonic turned January into one of the most important months in the European music industry calendar.

Artists applications for 2021 are now open. Eurosonic promotes European acts exclusively and is currently only accepting applications from the following countries: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Farao Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, The United Kingdom. Apply here.

10. MENT — Ljubljana, Slovenia | 3rd — 5th February 2021

Our final pick in our list is the award-winning Slovenian festival MENT Ljubljana. Its sold out 6th edition in February 2020, saw 80 artists from 26 countries performing in 13 venues across 3 days. Their Industry and creativity focused conference hosted 650 delegates from 37 countries, all in all attracting more than 5,800 visitors.

MENT is now open for applications and is inviting artists from across Europe to participate in its 7th edition, scheduled for the 3rd-5th of February 2021. Voted Best Indoor and Best Small Festival 2017 by the European Festival, MENT is an eclectic and unique festival promoting creativity and innovation. Music fans and industry professionals can expect to discover new exciting sounds and avant-garde music scenes. Apply here before the 14th August!

Sal Benryane, Communication, Social Media & Marketing, Compass Music


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