The Emerging Markets Place: Territorial investigations
Hosts: Michal Kaščák, Pohoda Festival (SK) | Serge Grimaux, Intellitix (CH) | Fruzsina Szép, Lollapalooza Berlin (DE)
Grimaux explained that the hosts decided they wanted to create a new format for the panel at this year’s ILMC with his co-hosts looking to engage the audience with the assistance of various alcoholic drinks and a DJ playing background music.
Szép and Kaščák invited delegates to be part of their ‘living room’ via the kitchen, which distributed praline chocolates and early-morning shots of honey wine to help attendees work through any inexplicable hangovers they might be nursing.
Grimaux stressed that working in the emerging markets often involved more creativity than in the ‘emerged’ markets, because new ideas are crucial to running a business, he said, before quoting the famous proverb “necessity is the mother of all invention.”
Dudu Sarr from Youssou NDOUR Management in Senegal said that one of the biggest challenges in Africa was the local economics, but he said that lots of daring and brave people were taking risks and big concerts are now starting to happen throughout the continent.
Grimaux stated that he believes that blockchain will help revolutionise the business in Africa and elsewhere. “It will be the next revolution and it will be the emerging markets who will drive the use of it,” he said.
Szép said that having moved to Berlin three years ago she is able to look at her home country, Hungary, and her former employer Sziget Festival differently. “I’m a very open-minded person and I’m pro-Europe, so when I look at organising a festival I’m very happy to see so many nationalities at the event.” She said she was very happy that Sziget had made the move to sell to a bigger company, as it will help to protect the brand financially, as well as protect it from political changes in Hungary.
Delegate Barış Başaran from SSC Music Group explained what has happened In Turkey over the past couple of years. “When the club attack happened on New Year’s Eve, I made up my mind to leave the country. It was an attack on culture and it was the last nail in the coffin for me. Compared to how Turkey looked five or six years ago, the changes are very negative.” He said that in terms of the live music business, American artists are no longer willing to visit Turkey and even the European acts are hesitating and deciding not to visit in 2017.
Kaščák said that in Slovakia when the authorities wanted to cancel concerts, innovative promoters organised wedding parties for their friends, in which artists would perform. “They could not cancel a wedding,” he stated.
Nuno Sousa Pinto from Brazil reported that in South America many countries are struggling economically and politically, but that he believed the markets in the next ten years will grow astronomically.
Grimaux agreed after visiting Colombia and Peru last year when he realised the potential that these markets have for live entertainment. “Rock In Rio are the masters of sponsorship and a lot of people could learn lessons from you,” he told Pinto.
Semyon Galperin from Ural Production Center in Russia told the session that the government in his country had shelved plans to try to control the live music market by creating a promoters’ association. “People pushed back against that idea, so thankfully it did not happen.” Because a lot of his competitors had gone bankrupt, Galperin said he had enjoyed a record year.
Szép pondered whether events could become more engaged in politics and highlighted Kaščák’s brave decision to build a minaret at Pohoda Festival in reaction to the Slovak government’s policy of not accepting Muslim refugees because there were no mosques in the country.
“Humour is one of the best tools to deal with autocrats and populists – they hate jokes and anything that they cannot control,” commented Kaščák.
An Indian delegate pointed out that the average age in India is 32 and with 1.3 billion citizens, it is the biggest English-language nation in the world. He told the session about a festival model, which had 75,000 free tickets, along with 5,000 places where the prices went as high as $10,000.
Having lived in India for more than a year, Grimaux agreed that the potential for live music in the country is massive. “At the moment you master the way to communicate with the potential audience, things will change,” he said.