The latest industry news to your inbox.

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Focus Wales unveils 2023 keynote speaker

Wales’ biggest music industry event Focus Wales has announced artist and producer Gerald Simpson, aka A Guy Called Gerald, as keynote speaker for its 2023 edition.

The festival will see over 400 music industry professionals, and 250+ acts descend upon Wrexham for three days of panels, keynote talks, and industry advice from 4-6 May.

Simpson will appear in conversation with BBC Radio Wales’ Aleighcia Scott to discuss his career in music, from growing up in Manchester, being a founding member of electronic group 808 State, and producing records for over 25 years.

Other conference panels include The Future of the European Festival Market, chaired by AAA, Equality and Class Parity in Music, The Use of Music on Screen, hosted by PRS for Music, and Creator to Fan: How are artists reaching audiences with their recorded music in 2023 and how has this changed?, presented by PPL. Power Up Wales will also be hosting a Black music action group roundtable, while additional presenter partners include MMF UK, British Council, Noise Unit PR and Gwyl Cymru.

Focus Wales is supported by Arts Council of Wales, PRS Foundation, and Welsh Government

Speakers and delegates participating include Cindy Castillo (Mad Cool Festival, Spain), Jean-Louis Brossard (Trans Musicales, France), Dev Sherlock (SXSW), Andrea von Foerster (Firestarter Music, USA), Emma Zillmann (Live Nation), Cecilia Soojeong Yi (DMZ Peace Train Festival, South Korea), Joy Warmann (Secretly Group), John Kennedy (Radio X), Ralf Niemczyk (Rolling Stone, Germany), Weining Hung (LUCfest, Taiwan), Chris Barrett (AAA) and Lauren Down (End of The Road Festival).

International showcases will be hosted by BreakOut West (Canada), M for Montreal (Canada), WHY Portugal, Ear Up Music Hong Kong, Catalan Arts, Fira B! (Spain), Music Nova Scotia, Liechtenstein Music Export and The Spanish Wave.

Artists playing Focus Wales 2023 include Billy Nomates, Squid, The Coral, Dream Wife, The Joy Formidable, Jeffrey Lewis & The Voltage, Adwaith, Alaskalaska | Neue Grafik Ensemble, Opus Kink and A Guy Called Gerald, among many others.

Focus Wales is supported by Arts Council of Wales, PRS Foundation, and Welsh Government. Full three-day wristbands for admission to all Focus Wales events are available now.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Estonia’s Station Narva welcomes international acts

The fourth edition of city festival Station Narva took place from Thursday 5 to Saturday 7 August, welcoming international acts including British DJs Roni Size and A Guy Called Gerald, Russian hip-hop duo Aigel and Finnish singer-songwriter New Ro to Estonia’s third-largest city.

Taking place at Narva’s 13th-century Hermann Castle (which also includes Narva Museum), Station Narva 2021 was the first music festival to utilise rapid testing and Estonia’s digital Covid-19 pass to ensure all 2,297 attendees were coronavirus-free. Of those who attended, 53% of visitors came with a digital Covid certificate and 47% with a negative rapid Covid-19 test taken on site. (No positive results were found.)

The festival, organised by Tallinn Music Week promoter Shiftworks, also featured 15 Estonian artists, as well as an urban art competition, talks and debates, a technology camp, creative incubator Objekt, and tours of Narva’s dacha district, Kudruküla.

“Everyone was smiling and giving off such a positive charge”

Aigel, whose Station Narva show was their first post-pandemic concert outside Russia, say: “Everyone was smiling and giving off such a positive charge. We really didn’t expect such a warm welcome, because we had no idea whether people knew our songs here or whether they would understand us. The reception was fantastic.”

The festival’s head of community affairs, Valeria Lavrova, adds: “It was great that this year we had to do a lot less explaining about what Station Narva is. Our people already know about the festival. Personally, I discovered that at its core there are two seemingly opposite concepts: experimentation and safety.

“This festival always experiments with something that hasn’t been tried before, from venues to programme parts and performers, but at the same time it is very safe. I’m not even talking so much about health and the now-important certificates and QR codes, but more about the festival atmosphere and the extent to which the organisation has been considered. For example, while the dacha owners were a bit cautious at first, on the day of the tour they were all in high spirits and they had a great time. It was a truly heartfelt experience.”


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.