I don’t know but many times I just see people throwing in applications to play that is not really an application it’s just good reason for the festival to throw your application away. Showcase festival need artists that are going somewhere. It doesn’t matter how good the music or the best live show you have. If are not interested in making it as a professional artist, showcase festivals are not really that interested in you.

Our showcase festival gets around 3,000 applications each year, we take in around a hundred acts. We are just looking for these artists who are there to make a career. Are we listening to all the music? No, there is no chance, and as I wrote at the top, the music is just a part of the whole equation. Of course, you need good music and a good live show, at the same time out of 3000 there will be at least a third with good music. Probably around 500 with excellent music. And inside these 500 probably around 250 with a great live show. Still, that is double the amount that we take in. Instead of just going through all the applications and torturing our ears with strange music, we start to sort out the ones that are not serious or just want a gig by the questions.

Most festivals today have a bunch of questions when you apply. That is the first line to cross. If you even can’t answer the questions in a good way, it doesn’t matter how good your music or live show is. You will not do a good job at a showcase festival and probably won’t have a career and mainly look at it as a hobby. We are after artists who are great and want to build a team to then play on the bigger festivals and gig places in the world.

Here are some examples how not to answer the questions.

Q: Why do you want to play at a Swedish showcase?

A: why not

Q: Future plans for the artist?

A: play gigs

Q: Since we are a showcase festival and the conference part is a very important part of the event. We would like to know how you are going to promote yourself to our industry people?

A: by performing?

Q: Have you played any other showcase festivals before, if yes which ones?

A: I dont remember

Imagine this person getting an interview with the local press and answering like that. Totally clear that they think their music “should do the talking” and think performing is enough. I can tell the truth, even a normal festival doesn’t really like an artist that is acting like this and thinks that their performance is enough. A gig is so much bigger, it’s all about the attitude of the artist, the attitude against the audience, etc. Most industry professionals don’t even want to talk to an artist answering like this, so even if this is the next big thing, we will skip it.

And if you don’t remember if you played a showcase festival, I guess you not paying attention. On the whole, why send it in at all? Do you really think these answers would make me want to listen to your application material?

This one is also very clear that the artist hasn’t the drive to make it anywhere.

Q: Since we are a showcase festival and the conference part is a very important part of the event. We would like to know how you are going to promote yourself to our industry people?

A: I’m willing to go through the industry people listings to ascertain who to get in contact with. I don’t intend to go and talk to everybody just for the sake of it.

It’s like we would force the artist to talk to people? The interesting part of this is that the artist has performed at the biggest showcases in the world. But now you can see the artist play on really shitty small local showcase festivals. Performance wise it’s probably good. Just that made us wonder, so if you played all these big ones and failed, why are you going, just want another gig? The answer above proved easy why this artist is going nowhere. If I would just pick the people, I thought I should talk to. I wouldn’t be in this business any longer. I can easily say that 95% of the best deals and opportunities have come from just randomly speaking to a person, who either introduced me to another or was the right person. If you think you can just pick the right ones, you can stop being an artist and start flipping burgers instead.

Stop thinking that the audience is important in the showcase festival. On a normal festival or gig, the audience is very important. A good crowd shows off that the booker made a good choice and people like you. I met an export office person once after a gig at a showcase festival, he was over the moon because the gig place was full. I knew that as I was passing by to see his act since he invited me, but it was so full I couldn’t get in, so we went to the next show, next door instead. Also, good to know that I was walking with a posse of 20 very important industry people, so we all went next door.

The reason the place was packed was that they also showed football on the TV. So many locals came down to watch the game and then also saw the band. The pictures from the gig looked great, but nothing happened with the band. No contacts were made, and nothing took them forward, Maybe they picked up five local people to be fans. Still, that is a very expensive way to get five fans.

Instead, the band next door got quite a lot of industry people and met their booking agent and publisher there and made a career out of it. To have an audience is nice but some of the best showcase gigs I have ever done have not been overcrowded, instead it has been the right people in the room. Artist that just looks for the festival will fix an audience for you that you can tap into. Think again, never work like that.

I guess we will come back to the topic later in the blog. We still have to cover the totally silly answers and demands that we get.