Raise Your Voice: Pre-election Reeperbahn gets political
Reeperbahn Festival has finalised its festival and conference agendas for 2017, announcing the dates, times and venues for all events, as well as a special conference strand – Raise Your Voice – focusing on music and political engagement ahead of the German general election on 24 September.
“Pop is (and always has been) political,” reads a statement from the popular music industry event, which returns to Hamburg from 20 to 23 September. “Bands and artists have addressed important sociopolitical issues in their songs, and since the 1960s pop music has provided the soundtrack, as well as support, for major social transformations.
“Nevertheless, when those in the entertainment world – including musicians and businesses in the music industry – stand up for what they believe in, they are often subject to public criticism. Why that is, and what the music world can do to raise its voice and take a stand without coming across as inauthentic – this is something that will be explored in several panel discussions.”
Said panel discussions include Musik Bewegt – Wie geht Haltung?, in which artists Herbert Grönemeyer (pictured) Ingo Pohlmann and Fetsum will join representatives from Sea Watch, Doctors Without Borders and Viva con Agua to discuss the impact of social and political engagement; and Pop Goes Politics, with Fetsum (who came to Germany as a refugee), Büro für Offensivkultur founder Heinz Ratz and Global Citizen Festival Hamburg organiser Carolin Albrecht, which covers protest and political engagement in the pop world.
Music in the Middle East, meanwhile, will focus on the influence of music in a region afflicted by crises and war, with artists Shahin Najafi and Yasmine Hamdan and Cooking Vinyl/Palestine Music Expo founder Martin Goldschmidt.
Festivals, promoters back Yourope’s Take a Stand
More than 50 festivals, promoters, agencies and other industry stakeholders have announced their support for Take a Stand, festival association Yourope’s campaign to encourage ‘civic engagement’ in Europe.
Take a Stand, launched at Yourope’s members’ meeting at Eurosonic Noorderslag in January, encourages European festivals to use their events to promote “social togetherness, understanding and tolerance for all cultures, genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, colours and origins”.
Companies that have lent their backing to Take a Stand include IQ, ILMC and IFF; Romania’s ARTmania Festival; Coda Agency; Roskilde Festival; Nova Rock; Sziget; venues association Live DMA; Swiss promoter wepromote; the Greener Events Foundation; Exit Festival; Eurosonic Noorderslag; Melt Festival; the European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals; and the Swiss Music Promoters’ Association (SMPA).
A full list is available at take-a-stand.eu.
“It is more than obvious that there is a need for a campaign aimed at raising awareness of, and encouraging, civic engagement”
“In recognition of the challenges of the European ideal, and the difficulties presented by the current political climate and social conditions for residents in Europe, it is more than obvious that there is a need for a campaign aimed at raising awareness of, and encouraging, civil engagement,” reads a statement from Yourope, which represents more than 100 European festivals.
“In particular, the festivals, concerts and live music events presented by the European music sector provide perfect platforms to [promote] awareness and recognition of the European ideal and its values.
“Europe has much more to offer than just border-free travel for artists and audiences. It is also now evident that there are new requirements and demands for the protection and confirmation of many of the European social achievements which have been secured over recent years.
“Pledging passion and engagement, Take a Stand appeals to all of those who are in favour of Europe speaking up for tolerance and respect, for open-mindedness and to actively display solidarity.”
Yourope Takes a Stand against discrimination
Yourope has announced the launch of ‘Take a Stand’, an initiative aimed at encouraging festival promoters to foster values of “social togetherness, understanding and tolerance for all cultures, genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, colours and origins”.
“After trying to convince the European Commission of the importance of festivals as cultural meeting points for years, but receiving nothing concrete in return,” the European festival association says it “decided to take matters into its own hands” at its first members’ meeting of 2017, at Eurosonic Noorderslag earlier this month.
“We are aiming to motivate people to be politically and socially more active, speak up for a peaceful dialogue, humanism, tolerance and understanding for each other,” says Lollapalooza Berlin festival director Fruzsina Szép, one of the driving forces behind the campaign.
According to Yourope, ‘taking a stand’ means:
- Vote: Get engaged, become part of a political party and/or vote on a local and
- Be active: Don’t be silent, join NGOs, support initiatives, sign petitions, raise your voice and spread the message on your social media platforms, stay open-minded
- Tolerate: Tolerate and respect all cultures and their values, support pro-active integration and an open dialogue where it’s needed
- Show solidarity: Show solidarity with minorities and help those who need help, take on voluntary work and take part in charity projects. Solidarity makes us stronger
- Learn: Discover the world, aim to get in contact with other cultures, listen to foreign music, watch foreign films, read books, taste the food of the world and try to understand other values and views than yours
Festivals and organisation interested in supporting Take a Stand should email Yourope’s general secretary, Christof Huber, at [email protected].
Other topics on the agenda included weather, live streaming, insurance, secondary ticketing and the growing, controversial practice of directly licensing performance royalties, which Yourope lawyer Ben Challis said should “not be the a battle that festivals are part of” but rather “a matter artists, their managers and their publishers need to take on with the collection societies”.