SPOT Festival  |   MXD

On a Wednesday in Brussels: A Miniature SPOT Festival

 |  Henrik Friis

Iceage at SPOT 2011 during the gig that earned them the concert at this coming Wednesday’s SPOT On Denmark in Brussels. The band is the object of a massive hype in Belgian media and in the Belgian music business. (Photo: Thorsten Overgaard)Iceage, Vinnie Who, Giana Factory and F.U.K.T at the SPOT On Denmark in Brussels – an all-day event with seminars as well as music which attracts international music business and media people way beyond the Belgian and Danish borders.

On Wednesday 30th of November there is a SPOT On Denmark event in Brussels. For the fifth consecutive year in a row the EU capital sets the stage for this music export initiative, and fortunately the interest in and the scope of the event have grown year by year so that the 2011 edition will be biggest so far – both when it comes to the business-to-business part among Belgian, Danish and international music industry people and when it comes to the media attention.

Carefully selected by a Belgian jury from record companies, booking agencies media, etc. at the SPOT Festival in May Iceage, Vinnie Who, Giana Factory and F.U.K.T are the four Danish groups who will go to Brussels to make up the showcase part of the SPOT On Denmark at the Brussels venue AB. However, the four Danish acts are not the only thing that makes not just the Danish and Belgian but also the international music business go to Brussels for this event.

This year’s program also includes the seminar SPOT On Trading, a conference with a focus on musical trade, the effect of showcase events, international band collaborations and finally unplugged concerts with the Belgian bands School Is Cool and Dan San.

Conference Places Snapped up  
The extensive and versatile program has meant that all 65 conference places have long since been snatched by the lucky ones and now there are people on the waiting list. Moreover, not only Danish and Belgian music business people have announced their arrival, but also representatives from English Club NME (showcase/events), the head of the Haldern Pop Festival and other German industry people, French bookers and festival representatives, Dutch bookers and festival people, the Icelandic label Kimi, Luxembourg’s Sonic Vision Festival and Swedish EMI Publishing. All these international music business people and the gigs – it is a virtual miniature version of the SPOT Festival in the very heart of the EU.
With the subsequent speed meeting dinner right before the concerts, the scope of activities underlines the development of the SPOT On Denmark events over the five years:

F.U.K.T at the SPOT Festival in May – now they are in the Danish starting line up in Brussels. (Photo: Peter Gaardsøe) From Bridgehead to Established Bilateral Trade
Whereas it all started as the first bridgehead for Danish music in the Belgian music business, many Danish bands have secured footholds in Belgium today. Among the bands in this year’s line up, both Iceage and Vinnie Who have already got deals with Belgian record companies, booking agencies, and so on. They intend to first and foremost use the event to build upon the buzz that already exists around both acts and to land deals with venues and festivals. Also beyond the Belgian borders due to the international presence. Giana Factory and F.U.K.T for their part will use the event as an introduction to the Belgian/European market.

Furthermore, the inclusion of Belgian bands in the conference programme also underlines the SPOT On Denmark philosophy – that musical collaboration goes both ways. Export also means import – otherwise the connection between trading partners quickly cools off. That the philosophy works is obvious here, where the inclusion of Belgian bands in the event has made the Belgian music offices Flanders Music Centre and WBM back the event financially.

Impressive Belgian Media Coverage
Finally, it is also a pleasure to see that “SPOT On Denmark in Brussels Year 5” has far from lost the attention of the Belgian media. Leading magazines such as Moustique, Humo, P Magazine and RifRaf are but a few examples of the many advance features. Big daily newspapers such as Het Laaste Nieuws (Belgium’s biggest newspaper), De Standaard and Metro all published features this weekend or will do so before Wednesday. All in all it seems fair to assume that it will be quite a “list of results” that SPOT On Denmark will be able to publish after the event.