The Case For The Showcase

MENT Ljubljana, Europe’s newest showcase conference, attracted 250 delegates Feb. 4-6 and organiser Matjaž Mancek reckons it did well enough to secure at least another year on the circuit.
Helen Sildna (Tallinn Music Week), Ruud Berends (Eurosonic Noorderslag), Igor Vidmar (ŠKUC Ropot, SI), Tibor Holoda (Waves Bratislava, Wilsonic, SK), Franz Hergovich (Music Export Austria) and Austrian musician Bernhard Hammer discuss showcase conferences at MENT Ljubljana Feb. 4.

Ruud Berends from Eurosonic-Noorderslag said it was “an excellent first edition” as he welcomed the event as a new member of the European Talent Exchange Programme.

“On all levels the first edition was above all our expectations, in terms of the attendance of the local and international audience,” Mancek told Pollstar. “The clubs were packed, the panels were full, and the feedback from international panelists and delegates was amazing.” The Slovenian event, which pointed out that similar gatherings are “popping up like mushrooms all over Europe,” opened with Berends and other regular showcase conference visitors including Helen Sildna (Tallinn Music Week), Tibor Holoda (Waves Bratislava) and Franz Hergovich (Music Export Austria) discussing the value the value of them.

Mancek is apparently fed up with “emerging markets panels” being a standard repertoire topic at numerous established Western European music business conferences. He chaired a panel that discussed some of the finest examples of “emerged” events. Sildna, Michal Kašcák from Slovakia’s Pohoda Festival, Macedonian promoter Login Kochishki and Turkish promoter Baris Basaran were among those helping Mancek make the point.

Nick Hobbs from Istanbul-based Charmenko, who’s specialized in Eastern Europe since the early 1980s, headed a panel that discussed how acts from the region might benefit from having an agent on their side. One of the most striking things about MENT was the number of high profile (and high quality) speakers it attracted to its first edition. Zoran Maric from Croatia’s InMusic Festival, Robert Meijerink from Eurosonic Noorderslag, Rebecca Ayres from Liverpool Sound City, Paul Cheetham – who’s recently moved from Germany’s Berlin Music Week to the same country’s Reeperbahn Festival – Latvian band manager Guna Zucika and Grímur Atlason from Iceland Airwaves all thought it worth the journey.