Festival Congress Returns To BIME

For the third time the Bizkaia International Music Experience is taking place in Bilbao, Spain, Oct. 28-31. This year’s edition welcomes back the Congreso de Festivales de Musica, which is part of BIME for the second time. 

It’s an entire day dedicated to the needs of festival organizers, with a focus on the Spanish market.

“We also have a lot of festivals from South America attending,” Christophe Cassan, project manager of BIME, told Pollstar. “Far more festivals than expected are taking part in the congress this year.”

Cassan says the number of festivals that made it to Bilbao exceeds 100. Last year 68 festivals took part in the Congreso’s first edition. The main topics at BIME’s 2015 festival congress are agent’s fees, fan engagement and the cultural VAT, which is 21 percent in Spain.

Add the 10 percent fee for Spanish collection agency SGAE, and it becomes apparent how it can be hard for Spanish event promoters to make a profit off of ticket sales.

“It also makes it hard to compete internationally,” Cassan states. Even more so in a country where people hardly have any money left to pay for expensive gig tickets. What also doesn’t help either is the fact that the Spanish people have been spoiled by years of live music and cultural events in general being free to the public.

Many people simply aren’t used to paying for music. Coinciding with the start of BIME 2015 on Oct. 28 is the celebration of Premios Fest, the Spanish Festival Awards.

Among the nominees in 14 categories are Bilbao BBK Live, Sónar, Resurrection Fest and BIME Live, the festival attached to BIME, which is headlined by Imagine Dragons this year. The celebration took place in Bilbao’s iconic Guggenheim museum.