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2nd Nordic-Baltic Festival Meeting in Stockholm

12-13 October 2012

 

Summary of discussions

 

The purpose of networking is to encourage sharing and exchanging of knowledge and experience on both international as well as national level. Different ideas were shared and debated. Some delegates stated that to meet annually was in itself a sufficient cooperation for the alliance, Nordic-Baltic Festival Meeting. Others voted for a deeper and more formal form for collaboration. The delegates agreed that a structured discussion on this matter ought to take place at the next meeting in Riga. To enable a rewarding discussion leading to decisions, a working group was formed commissioned to prepare the meeting.  One purpose of creating a more formal alliance is to build a common image for the Nordic-Baltic countries towards the rest of the world. Could the collaborative platform be used to market and promote the Nordic-Baltic area to attract tourists and potential festival visitors? The way EFA functions was suggested as an example.

 

Several discussions raised questions on whether a Nordic-Baltic collaboration should be focusing on the festivals artistic contents and programming or rather concentrate on practical issues related to the organisation of festivals. It was stressed by some that the question of funding could be an issue for the network. Several delegates were also in favour of sharing ideas and solutions on organisational structures and back office-work. While others again underlined the need for artistic exchange and collaboration. Could joint applications for common or linked projects be one solution? One way to use the economic knowledge is to exchange views and give advice on how funding is organized in different member countries. Shared knowledge of this kind could prove influencial on funding policies in the region as a whole.

 

Some concrete suggestions brought forward:

Create co-productions linked to national productions.

Create a system for cross-boundary co-operations and productions promoting young talents such as artists, conductors and composers under the age of 35.

Exchange festival programmes between festivals as a way to share and spare working efforts and economic risks.

Exchange knowledge between festivals regarding back office staff.

Exchange the results of successful promotion activities.

Collaborate to make it possible to invite star artists, for example by offering them to tour Nordic-Baltic Festivals in several countries.

Create a shared data base consisting of, for example, different genres of music matched with represented artists, artists tour-schemes etc. to make collaboration between festival organisers easier and lower costs, for example travel expenses such as ticket costs for invited artists.

Organise a Nordic-Baltic Festival in the island of Gotland with established artists and a rising star from each country.

Pitching or speed mating as a way for festival managers to find other festival managers to work with.

 

An issue emerging from the discussion was the ambition to collaborate whilst at the same keeping your own festival unique. Although there are gains to be made in sharing costs and artists, the common experience among delegates is that individual festivals have to endeavour to stand out in order to create their own platform and market value.

 

The Nordic-Baltic Festival Meeting could be a possible forum for delegates to work together on anticipating coming trends, develop new festival concepts, attract new audience and anticipate the needs of future audiences. What are festivals going to look like ten years from now? There is an impressive variety of festivals and in the use of festival as a concept. Today a festival could be anything between a feast and series of concerts and events linked together during several months. Due to that flexible shape, it was argued, festivals are well designed to survive and adapt to any modern reality. Thus, short lived pop-up festivals exists side by side with permanent festivals that was formed after World War II as a European peace project; one creating maximum commotion during a short time, once, and the other an art institution where the audience reserve seats years ahead.

All delegates expressed their expectations as to what results of the FESTudy would show.

 

 

Decisions taken at the 2nd Nordic-Baltic Festival Meeting:

 

1. The meeting decided on organising an annual meeting. The next Nordic-Baltic Festival Meeting will take place in Riga, Latvia, 19-21 February 2013 on the invitation by Guntars Kirsis and Esmeralda Bertule from Riga Festival/Latvian Concerts. There will also be a showcase, presenting national as well as other Baltic and Nordic artists. It was suggested that every annual meeting should have added value to it. It could be artistic in the form of concerts or a festival like with the Nordic Music Days in Reykjavik 2011 and in Sweden 2012, or as the Great Latvian Music Award in Riga 2013. It can also, for organisational and economic reasons, be organised in conjunction with an already planned national conference for festivals, or for educational reasons in conjunction with a lecture, a speech or a seminar.

 

2. A working group was formed and commissioned to map out and structure different possible ways to cooperate. The working group shall distribute its suggestions to the individual delegates to dwell on, in time before the conference in Riga. The purpose of creating the working group is to enable delegates to take well-informed decisions in the next meeting. Two concrete tasks were given to the working group: a) to discuss and suggest an appropriate name for the future Nordic-Baltic festival collaboration and b) to discuss and suggest whether the collaboration should have a formal organisation, and if yes what kind of organisation that should be, its statutes and tasks. The meeting decided on the following five volunteering delegates to form the working group: Steinunn Birna Ragnarsdottír (Iceland), Leelo Lehtla (Estonia), Jan Ove Hafstad (Sweden), Anders Rykkja (Norway) and Danas Skramtai or Ieva Tamutyté (Lithuania).

 

3. Starting a Facebook Group. The purpose of starting a Facebook Group is to maintain and facilitate contact between Nordic-Baltic Festival Meeting delegates in an “easy going forum”, where questions and ideas concerning festival work can be openly shared between many in an instant. It is to be kept exclusively for delegates of the NordicBaltic Festival Meeting until the next meeting. Then new discussions on opening up the Group for other “festival related” people will take place. The Facebook Group will be set up by Aleksi Malmberg, Helsinki Festival, Finland.