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How is the music sector reacting this Summer?

Presenting a reflection about the immediate future of the music sector

in collaboration with Primavera Pro & Palp Festival

What becomes of summer festivals in a year marked by the cancellation of large events? In a year when live streaming abruptly became the main format for bands to play and online events take centre stage, what happens in the busiest season for artists and the music industry?

We started the summer looking at why we should be unplugging and stepping away from our desks with Out of Office, but as we started going outside more and events began to slowly but surely make their ways back into our calendars, we started exploring the ways the dichotomy between the online and the offline was demarcating this season. So, over the last few months, we weaved a narrative between the online and offline, attending both online and physical events.


Two of such events were Palp Festival, in Switzerland, and Primavera Pro, usually in Barcelona, but this year online. The two presented themselves in stark comparison - one online, the other offline, one rethinking the future of music, another carving that future, setting the tone for what’s to come regarding events.


To start this journey, we attended the virtual edition of Primavera Pro, the place where ‘where music meets’, which this year asked ‘What’s Next?’. In the panels, talks and masterclasses held, this edition tried to understand how the sector will emerge from this moment of uncertainty, raising questions we have also been asking about the future of the music industry. It is clear that the industry had been changing for a long time, but with the covid crisis, its fragilities became apparent to everyone. How can the industry adapt and do better from now onwards? How can diversity, inclusion and equality contribute to building a better industry?

To get some perspectives on these topics we interviewed Lucia Litjmaer, Eva Garcia, Sebastián Milos and Fruzsina Szep, who spoke on different panels in this year’s edition of the festival, as well as Almudena Heredero, the director of the festival, who told us how it became the space for discussing the topics around the music industry.



Moderated: Open all doors: music and social inclusion

Eva García has a background in the science of spectacles and curator of community projects of artistic creation and production. She currently uses her experience in the conception and implementation of community art projects with institutions and various organisations. She is responsible for Ópera Prima, a line of community opera productions and creations in the Gran Teatro del Liceu, and is the artistic director of the Performing Arts and Social Inclusion Day of the INAEM (national institute of performing arts and music).


FRUZSINA SZEP (Lollapalooza Berlin)

Participated in: What’s next?: the music sector after the pandemic

Fruzsina Szép is the festival & artistic director for Lollapalooza Berlin and SUPERBLOOM Munich. She is a board member of Yourope, the European Festival Association. 

Her main goal is to create and to establish festivals and events with a unique artistic and creative programming, with valuable content around social responsibility and more importantly with a heart & soul to provide a long-lasting positive experience for the audience.


LUCIA LIJTMAER (journalist and writer)

Moderated: Feminist cultural programmes: demands and responsibilities and curated the Insumisas programme

She is a writer, journalist and cultural manager. She has published the books Quiero los secretos del Pentágono y los quiero ahora (Capitán Swing, 2015), Casi nada que ponerte (Los libros del Lince, 2016) and Yo también soy una chica lista (Destino, 2017) and Cultura en tensión (VV AA, Raig Verd, 2016). She currently writes for El País, El Periódico de Catalunya and collaborates in Carne Cruda. She is a curator of the feminist festival Princesas and Darthvaders and co-presenter of the late-night feminist show Deforme Semanal.


SEBASTIÁN MILOS (Fuerza Cultural)

Participated in: Fuerza Cultural: art as politics

Founder of several projects related to culture and entertainment, including PortalDisc, the largest Chilean music download portal; SuenaChile, the first music streaming app developed in Chile and CiudadWeek, a new way of presenting the local listings of a city. He is also a member of the board of IMIChile, the Independent Music Association of Chile, member of the Music Council of the Ministry of Culture and president of Fuerza Cultural, a political party project focused on bringing culture closer to politics.


After hearing about the music sector online, we went on to search for unique physical experiences that are keeping live music alive. We found Palp Festival, and went to Le Chamble, Switzerland, to attend it.

Travelling up the mountain by cable car, we started hearing the music and began learning about Palp Festival, an interdisciplinary event that mixes contemporary music, art and other shows with the discovering of heritage and local goods and traditions, always in unique locations. There, we met with bands, locals and festival organizers to hear about how this festival was doing things differently - in terms of size, places, duration and values. The lessons we took from there show us the way forward for the festival industry. 

We only stayed in Switzerland for four days during Rocklette, but Palp Festival went until November, always presenting music experiences in unexpected places.

For us, the idea of a festival with a big stage and huge crowd is already old-fashioned.

— Sébastien Olesen

We won’t forget how we were blown away by the view as soon as we arrived to the Swiss Alps. It reminded us of the poem Alpine Glow, by Emily Dickinson, which we will leave you with:

Our lives are Swiss, —

So still, so cool,

Till, some odd afternoon,

The Alps neglect their curtains,

And we look farther on.

Italy stands the other side,

While, like a guard between,

The solemn Alps,

The siren Alps,

Forever intervene!

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