The Chattering Caucasus

The rapid growth of national music business conferences means these annual events have morphed into what seems like a string of weekly ones, which now includes Tbilisi Music Week in the far-flung Caucasian state of Georgia.

There’s enough European countries to ensure these events are on their way to being a weekly occurrence, allowing only for a couple of weeks off at Christmas.

The Tbilisi organizers believe being on the border of Europe and Asia makes it a natural stepping stone between two continents.

“As we are a new market and away from the global press, there must be a damn good reason for anybody to bother to travel here,” admits Tbilisi Music Week co-founder Paul Pihlak, who also co-founded Tallinn Music Week in his native Estonia.

On the positive side, the country does have the reputation of being one of the most beautiful in Europe, with mountain scenery dotted with old churches, watchtowers and castles. Tourism is becoming big business.

“If we are wise enough, and can keep doing it better year by year, I hope that one day it will be one of the important conferences,” Pihlak said, pointing out that he gets confidence from the “positive feedback” from last year’s debut.

The marketing material promises “both business and pleasure, including conferences, showcases, feasts, sightseeing and much more.”

The main conference sessions, moderated by Tapio Korjus from Finland’s Rockadillo Records, include “Showbiz Georgia: An Overview” and “How To Break Out From a Far-Away Country.”

Helen Sildna from Tallinn Music week (April 4-6) is also among the speakers. Tbilisi Music Week is May 9-11.