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Denmark’s Spot festival pioneers all-female crew

With the push for greater female representation on festival line-ups, women-only stages are becoming increasingly common – witness the Rinse FM stage at Wireless 2018, for example, or the Queen Tut’s stage at this summer’s Transmt in Scotland. Danish showcase festival Spot, however, has taken a different tack, instead bolstering female representation backstage with an all-female crew.

The initiative – a collaboration between Women in Live Music (WILM) and festival organiser Danish Rock Council (ROSA) – saw ROSA invite WILM, a Denmark-based association for women working in the European concert business, to run a stage at Spot with an all-female production team.

“This has never been done in Denmark before – in fact, it is so rare to see women working at live music events in Denmark, and many other places around the world, that some people are not even aware that they exist,” reads a WILM blog post announcing the partnership. “So when ROSA informed us of their initiative and offered us a collaboration crewing a stage at SPOT festival this year, how could we say no?”

After realising the crew could not be all-Danish – there are only around 10 female sound engineers in Denmark, out of more than 700 – WILM opened up for the call for staff to other European countries, and flew in crew members from abroad. It also took on three trainees in Denmark.

Malle Kaas, crew chief, explains: “WILM received resumes from approximately 15 women from all over Europe for the different positions. We voted for the women we thought best suited to the different tasks and then I took interviews with everyone upfront to be make sure they were comfortable, aware of their roles and, most importantly, could be great team players.

“None of the artists or their crew and managers seemed to be thrown off by us. It all felt pretty normal”

“Not only did they need to be competent at their role, they also needed to be able to look after their trainees for the festival.”

Commenting on reactions to the all-female crew, Malle continues: “What was super great was that none of the artists or their crew and managers seemed to be thrown off by us. It all felt pretty normal. Some of them would come up to us after the show saying that they thought it was really cool to see an all-female crew.

“In contrast, the local crew did not seem pleased to see us at the start – but then at the end of the festival, even they came over, asking if they could drink beer with us. So the festival ended with after-show beers for all, good laughs and lots of hugs, just like it should do.”

Spot 2019 took place from 2 to 4 May in Aarhus.

WILM held its inaugural awards last December, honouring Kilimanjaro Live’s Siobháin Brackenridge, Beatbox’s Xenia Grigat and the Eventim Apollo’s Alice James, among others.

Pictured: Stage manager Yu Lu (UK), sound trainee Josephine Mahler (DK), stage trainee Hannah Elmgreen (DK), light trainee Louise Bagger (DK), monitor engineer Lisa Affenzeller (AU), light designer Heida Ragnarsdottir (IS) and FOH engineer/crew chief Malle Kaas (DK)


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Denmark to be focus of Eurosonic Noorderslag 2018

Denmark will be the focus country for Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) 2018, Spot booker Robert Meijerink announced at the Aarhus festival last week.

The conference and showcase festival, which returns to Groningen, Netherlands, from 17 to 20 January, last year focused on Portugal following 2016’s spotlight on the central and eastern European (CEE) countries.

“We have been amazed by the quality and diversity of Danish acts who have performed at Eurosonic in the past,” explained Meijerink, whose Spot Festival will partner with Music Export Denmark (MXF) to promote Denmark’s presence at ESNS. “Lots of Danish artists are making great music and are successful worldwide. The Danish music scene is booming – a great reason to put the focus on Denmark.”

ESNS already partners with many of Denmark’s leading festivals, including Roskilde, NorthSide and Tinderbox, through its European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP) initiative, and has previously welcomed Danish acts including  Agnes Obel, Mø, Iceage, Liima and Lukas Graham.

“The Danish music scene is booming – a great reason to put the focus on Denmark”

“Eurosonic is quite simply the showcase festival where you get to play for the largest possible amount of European promoters and festivals at once,” adds Sarah Sølvsteen of Copenhagen’s Birdseye Agency. “So, with the right timing in regards to the artist’s development, there are incredibly good chances of making concrete results and deals.

“Mø played Eurosonic for the first time in 2013. At that time, she still wasn’t signed to any foreign label, so it was early in her career. Nevertheless, she had received great exposure on different American and British blogs, and in the industry in general, so people came to her show at Eurosonic. This immediately resulted in several deals with European promoters and got on the bill for several European festivals. The next year, she played there again, [and there were] new offers on the table…

“All this amounted to her shows selling out in many European cities before she even got a radio hit.”

 


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