Festivals

In the last year Fra, Gabi, Pablo and I have been going to international meetings of professionals non-stop. We have been invited to numerous round tables, debates and conferences to talk about our model of festival or to debate about the future of festivals.  Or sometimes festivals or music export offices from different countries have invited us to see the local artists and on those occasions Beba, Xavi or Joan have covered for us.  Something is going on we haven’t stopped, in only a year one or other of us has been at Popkomm/Berlin Music Week (Berlin), c/o Pop (Cologne), Eurosonic (Groningen), Reeperbahn (Hamburg), Feira Musical Brasil (Belo Horizonte), Don’t Panic, We’re from Poland (Warsaw), HWCH Industry (Dublin), CMJ (New York) and of course at ATP, and in the next months we will travel to the Canadian Music Week and to SXSW with whom we have established a collaboration of exchanges and where Fra will participate in a round table about festivals.  Even our main sponsor has had to go to Midem to explain the model of sponsorship that they have established with San Miguel Primavera Sound.  Apparently our festival is surprising people and generating a lot of interest in the industrial sector of music.  Everyone wants to know what is happening in Barcelona and why it is that suddenly San Miguel Primavera Sound is on the lips of everybody.  We are not letting it go to our heads, we have grown and learnt with time and it is rewarding when people you looked up to want to meet you and collaborate with you. When the creative director of SXSW asks for your collaboration saying, “ now in Spain you are setting the pace” or when the people from Coachella want to meet those they consider as their European counterpart you can only feel proud of the work you have done.

At the round table that I was invited to at Eurosonic about “the future of festivals” I realised that we are the exception because we are romantic.  From the very beginning the debate centred around how technology was going to modify festivals, above all what social networking tools Internet offers and how, in a festival which is in itself a means of socialisation, these tools can be used….It’s an obsession!  I don’t think that all the future of festivals lies in their becoming more technological, that will happen, and we will do everything that we can, but I had imagined talking about other more creative possibilities in the line of what ATP is doing, models which we talk about when we let our minds run free…..that I am not going to reveal here, as I know our competition reads us!!

Talking about the future of festivals shouldn’t be about technology and how it will be present in a festival, this will happen, progressively festivals will adapt technically and economically but it shouldn’t be more than a tool that we can use and it can’t be the protagonist, the spirit of a festival cannot change because of technological advances.

I like watching concerts alone, in the middle of the crowd, losing myself in the music whilst watching the performance and ….I hate it when somebody talks to me when I am watching a concert! (Be warned if you see me in the middle of the crowd, don’t talk to me, you will only get monosyllabic answers and a look that says, “Come on man! Can’t you see what is going on? Watch the concert- leave me alone!!).

In short, the formula is so simple that nobody sees it, it hasn’t changed at all and as for the essence, nothing will change only the appearance, but we still enjoy live music and will carry on doing so, like they did centuries ago…(amplified though).

Alberto Guijarro

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