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The Great Escape details ‘revamped’ conference

UK showcase festival and conference The Great Escape (TGE) is undergoing a revamp for next year’s instalment, slated for 15–18 May in Brighton.

The event, which is operated by Live Nation’s MAMA, has invited new expert collaborators from across the music industry to help shape and elevate its programming.

The Council of Music Makers, Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), BBC Introducing LIVE and Youth Music will each present a day of the conference using their expertise and networks to “take TGE to the next level”.

The BPI, meanwhile, will host a welcome party on the beach on Wednesday 15 May to kick off proceedings.

“We’re very excited to have these amazing organisations on board as collaborators for our conference,” says Rory Bett, CEO of MAMA Festivals. “They’re all tapped into key areas of the music ecosystem for anyone forging a career in the modern industry, from bedroom artists to experienced professionals and entrepreneurs. Together, we’ll be curating a cutting-edge line-up. Watch this space.”

It has also been announced that Spain is TGE’s Lead Country Partner for 2024, following Italy last year. Led by The Spanish Wave and TGE, they will present a full programme with two showcases, panels on the Spanish music industry and industry receptions.

“These organisations are tapped into key areas of the music ecosystem for anyone forging a career in the modern industry”

Sila Lua, a Galician-born artist creating dance music with an experimental flair, is the first Spanish performer to be announced.

TGE’s first Spanish partners include The Spanish Wave, AIE, Fundaćion SGAE, Instituto Cervantes, Live Nation Spain, Ticketmaster Spain and Mondo Sonoro.

“Everyone is looking at Spain and Latam at the moment,” says César Andión, head of The Spanish Wave. “We are the gateway and bridge to Europe and Latinoamerica. Spain has a thrilling industry in talent and structure, a large and varied roster of festivals, venues, promoters and labels, so we are incredibly happy to coordinate Spain as Lead Country at the most exciting, well-curated showcase festival and conference in the United Kingdom. After years of bringing The Spanish Wave showcase to Brighton, now it’s time to highlight our vibrant industry with receptions, panels and the freshest and hottest music. ¡Nos vemos en Brighton!”

The showcase side of TGE is also taking shape, with the announcement of Faye Webster for the first Spotlight show.

While, earlier this week, TGE held its First Fifty launch, which celebrated the announcement of the first acts playing at next year’s festival.

Sid Sriram, Victoria Canal, Olivia Lunny and Sirens Of Lesbos were among the acts that delivered First Fifty live showcases in and around East London on 15 November.

For more information and tickets, visit https://greatescapefestival.com/.


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Live Nation Spain’s Cesar Andion plots AMF sequel

Live Nation Spain’s Cesar Andion tells IQ he hopes to establish the Andalucía Music Forum as an annual event following its successful launch earlier this month.

The newest gathering for the international music industry in southern Europe debuted at the Albeniz Cinema in Málaga from 5-7 September, attracting 350 delegates and speakers.

Showcases were limited to acts from guest country Mexico, alongside local Andalucían talent.

“We are all super-happy with how everything turned out – it was exactly what I had in my mind when I was designing it,” says Andion. “The attendance was perfect for deep and friendly networking, as we wanted AMF to be a forum and not a big conference fair.

“The vibe was friendly, professional, easy-going, laid back and fun, and Málaga was the perfect spot as a gateway for Latin America in Europe and vice-versa. It’s very different to most of music conferences and we want to keep it that way in terms of the concept, vibe and style.”

“We are also planning another one in Madrid that will be completely different to AMF”

Andion says the biggest organisational challenges concerned the timing.

“We organised it all in just a few months and during the summer, which is quite a hard time to work because everyone is either on holidays or working on festivals,” he says. “But we have a great team with pros in Europe like Ruud Berends (Netherlands) and Ignacia Snadoval (Germany), Fabrizio Onetto and Malfi Dorantes from Mexico, and of course Esteban Ruiz and Erica Romero in Andalucía. The Mad Cool team worked really hard to make it happen and I am very thankful to everyone.”

And not only does Andion now have a sequel in the works, he also has his sights set on launching a sister conference in Madrid.

“We are also planning another one in Madrid that will be completely different to AMF,” he reveals.

AMF is part of the Andalucía Big by Mad Cool project, which also included the new 30,000-cap Andalucía Big Festival, held near Sacaba Beach from 8–10 September, with acts such as Muse, Jamiroquai, Years & Years, Glass Animals, Michael Kiwanuka, Wolf Alice, Franz Ferdinand and Aurora.

“It’s a very ambitious project and has been a total success”

“The project is ‘big’, as it is titled, because it has three ‘legs’ as we say in Spanish: the pro forum, the festival and a tour of Andalucían provinces,” explains Andion. “It’s a very ambitious project and has been a total success. Málaga deserved a big festival as it’s one of the coolest and most visited cities in Spain, but also because it’s the cultural and event capital of Andalucía.

“The festival had incredible vibe, I was really impressed with the audience, which was Spanish in majority but with great attendance of Brits.”

Mad Cool Festival and The Spanish Wave are also teaming up to promote Spanish talent at next week’s International Festival Forum (IFF), ILMC’s invitation-only event for music festivals and booking agents. The event will mark the culmination of a nationwide project to find the best emerging acts from Spain.

Three Spanish artists – Hickeys, Irenegarry and Pablo Drexler – were chosen from more than 500 applications and will perform at the Mad Cool Festival & The Spanish Wave Presents showcase at London’s Camden Assembly from 9pm on Wednesday (28 September).

Spain is the guest country for IFF 2022, which takes place in London between 27-29 September.


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