Waves Thrives In New Digs

Waves Vienna has apparently thrived from moving across the city from the Urania lecture theatre to what was once the HQ of the Austrian postal service.

Delegate numbers rose to 900, about 12 percent up on last year, although it’s hard to say how much of that increase was thanks to the move. The 4-year-old gathering has steadily increased its delegate attendance each year since starting, and the organisers seem more pleased that 13,500 people showed for the evening showcases in the clubs dotted around Vienna’s 1st district.

One advantage of using the old post office HQ was that all the artists had dinner there, which meant the building became a lively hub for Austria’s contribution to Europe’s showcase-conference circuit.

One of Waves’ main themes is to – just like Vienna – provide a link between eastern and western Europe. On the first day there were three sessions focusing on Croatia, with Nick Hobbs of Charmenko – well-practised in doing business in the region – as moderator on one of them. Michal Kašcák from Slovakia’s Pohoda Festival and Grimur Atlason from Icelandic Airwaves were among those discussing how to successfully create a festival lineup, while earlier former Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner chaired a panel on the future of festivals.

Waves Bratislava, which runs parallel to the Austrian event in the city’s Hotel Crowne Plaza, shared many of the speakers and panel subjects.

Running the events side by side further illustrates the east-meets-west theme by using the Austrian and Slovakian capitals. Other speakers included Rebecca Ayres (Liverpool Sound City, UK), Ilya Bortnuk (Stereoleto Festival, Russia), Stevie Wonder manager Keith Harris, Stefan Lehmkuhl from Germany’s Melt Festival, Peter Smidt (Eurosonic-Noorderslag) and Allan McGowan (VIP News). Waves Vienna and Waves Bratislava were Oct. 2-3.