Pozitif Move For Basaran

Baris Basaran of Istanbul-based Charmenko will move across the city to join Pozitif Productions at the end of the month.

He told Pollstar leaving Charmenko wasn’t an easy decision but he decided “to take the challenge.”

Booking Pozitif’s international talent means he’ll be handling the bill for the Efes One Love and Rock ’N’ Coke festivals, the country’s two most established summer festivals.

So far, the downside for Pozitif is that Turkey hasn’t really embraced outdoor festival culture. Both events have achieved their status only by outlasting those that have fallen by the wayside.

The 11-year-old One Love’s best recent year was the sellout in 2006, although the capacity was reduced to 7,000 due to construction around the central Istanbul site.

The following year it did half of its 10,000-capacity, and in 2008 cut down from three days to two and shifted from Parkoman to a similar-sized site at the local university.

It was a particularly hard year for the Turkish festival business. Rock ’N’ Coke, which started in 2003 and did 25,000 per day in its fourth year, didn’t happen at all.

Another 2008 casualty was Radar, which started as an independent free festival in 2006 and was then taken over by radio station Dinamo 103.8.

Bringing Basaran on board may help Pozitif build its festival portfolio to its full potential.

He’ll also be booking the 21-year-old Akbank Jazz Festival – which last year had Count Basie Orchestra, Sun Ra Arkestra, John Surman, Diane Schuur, and Omar Sosa – as well as Istanbul’s highly renowned 450-capacity Babylon jazz club and the much younger Rock ’N’ Dark Festival.

The jazz club would be mentioned in the same breath as New York and London venues if it were in a more fashionable city, while the new rock festival could be grown with more international acts.

Basaran says he’s not planning to limit himself to booking the festivals and the jazz club and may later find international acts for some of the emerging festivals in the old Eastern Bloc, a similar role to the one he held at Charmenko.