The Importance of Festivals for Emerging Artists

By Adam Ryan, Festival Booker, The Great Escape Festival, Brighton (Mama Festivals)

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Interview with Adam Ryan, Festival Booker at The Great Escape Festival, Brighton (Mama Festivals)

What benefits do you believe artists gain from performing at festivals?

The Great Escape is Europe’s  largest  showcase  festival for new music. With over 3000 music industry delegates attending each year, it’s a good place for artists looking to get to the next step of their career to perform. Alongside the live showcases, we run a three-day conference, which is a great place to learn more about the business.

 

The task of performing at a festival can be daunting to some. What prior experience do you believe an artist should have before performing in front of large crowds?

The acts that are selected for The Great Escape normally have a live history. Playing in their local venues and touring the country, supporting larger touring acts and playing regularly. That’s not always the case, but when you’re performing at any showcase event you’re basically selling your live show so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re confident and prepared as you may not get a sound check.

 

How many applications do you receive on average each year to play at Great Escape / Alternative Great Escape?

We have around 500 acts confirmed for TGE with about 620 performances, as some acts play twice. Alternative Great Escape maybe adds an extra 300, but these acts will be at a slightly different position in their career. I would say in total 8000 artists apply to perform.

 

What steps should an artist take in finding a festival that suits their style / genre?

Go to as many festivals as possible or speak to people who have attended ones that you can’t. I would also suggest speaking to bands that sound similar or are in your style/ genre. Find out who they spoke to or which events they are playing. Engage in your local scene.

 

What do you expect to see from a new artist when they apply for a festival?

It always comes down to the music. If that’s good then we’re halfway there. The second part is performing it live.

 

Slots at festivals are very competitive. How can an emerging artist improve their festival booking success rate?

While each festival has an in-house booker or programmer, there will be other gate keepers. Look into who is hosting a stage at the festivals you want to perform at and try dropping them your music. They may get less emails and might be able to get your music to the right place. Try and meet the promoters and keep them updated with your progress. If you’re selling tickets locally they’ll love to hear from you and might be able to help get you that coveted festival slot.

 

Should new artists look to perform at festivals outside of the UK?

Showcase events are a great way to get out of the country and if you get an invite to any I would definitely take it. Sometimes bookers and programmers for festivals in Europe are more likely to take a chance on you if they   are into your music. There can be less competition for UK artists overseas.

 

How do you think a new artist can best capitalise on receiving a performance slot at a festival?

Make sure you’re included in all the marketing, artwork, Youtube campaigns and any other promotions the festival has planned. It’s important for you to get your name out there and to be associated with your chosen event.

 

Small gig spaces continue to close around the UK. Why do you believe it’s important to preserve local music venues?

Small venues are where it all starts. It’s like cutting off your own feet. Festivals and the live music industry wouldn’t be able to stand up without them.


Adam Ryan

Festival Booker

The Great Escape Festival, Brighton (Mama Festivals)

By Adam Ryan, Festival Booker, The Great Escape Festival, Brighton (Mama Festivals)

Tge Black Rec Logo Web

Interview with Adam Ryan, Festival Booker at The Great Escape Festival, Brighton (Mama Festivals)

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