Festival Conference Clash

The ILMC announcement that it’s setting up its “International Festival Forum” came just 24 hours before a press release from Yourope heralding the arrival of its own European Festival Conference. 

Photo: James Looker
The ILMC 27 Super Team shows off their powers, with head honcho Greg Parmley (back row, center) thanking many, including Jstar M. Usic, Manjit Kandola, Terry McNally, Lou Percival, Arty Spoon, Allan McGowan, Isobel Work, Kane Leighton-Pope, and Martin Hughes.

The International Festival Forum, which appears to have a media partnership with Music Week, will be in London Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, while the European Festival Conference is at the Austrian ski resort of Gradonna Dec. 2-5.

There’s been rumblings between the two events for several weeks, as Yourope chief Christof Huber was dismayed that ILMC went ahead with its plans despite warnings that the events would clash. Yourope’s event is “fully dedicated to the interest of festival promoters to meet, exchange, experience and learn,” as the press release explains.

The panels will include such subjects as health and safety, sustainability, technical innovation (including RFID, cashless payments and APPs), ticketing, broadcasting and streaming rights, booking the lineup and insurance. There’ll also be some discussion on Yourope’s standard contract terms and other legal issues. New ILMC chief Greg Parmley denies he’s picked a fight with Yourope, and says “the two events have different aims and different demographics.” His press release describes the IFF as a “new global hub for the music festival world that brings festivals and booking agents together.”

ILMC’s plans to go ahead with its global conference may spark other controversy as it is right on top of Germany’s Reeperbahn Festival Sept. 23-26. Detlef Schwarte, who runs the Hamburg event, said: “If [ILMC] are chasing agents, festivals and music export offices, then they’re more or less openly competing with Reeperbahn and Eurosonic.”

European Talent Exchange Programme organiser Ruud Berends, who has what he describes as “a small role” in the London event, also says the conferences are “very different.”

“One is full studies and workshops with the ski thing, and the other is a buyers and sellers platform in London at the time of year when festivals meet to discuss line-ups,” he said. The IFF, which has the backing of the International Festival & Events Association and the UK’s Association Of Independent Festivals and the co-operation of London talent agencies including The Agency Group, CODA, Primary, X-Ray Touring and the Leighton-Pope Organisation, promises showcases, networking, panels, Q&As and workshops.

“The philosophy behind [the International Festival Forum] is twofold,” Parmley explained. “First, to build a unique forum where leaders and innovators in the festival world can meet and exchange ideas; and second, to provide a platform for festivals and agencies with targeted networking, Q&As and by showcasing the best festival-ready, agency-signed artists.” The showcases will be at Proud Camden and Dingwalls, which are next door to each other and in easy reach of London’s city centre.

The conference side of the event will also be at Proud Camden.