Creating A Framework For Romania’s Events Industry


Codruta Vulcu
– Codruta Vulcu

Pollstar spoke with Vulcu, who also founded Artmania and organized the first East European Music Conference, which takes place in picturesque Sibiu, Romania, July 27-29.

“We’re fighting for changes in and clarification of the law in terms of health and safety, taxation and cultural policies,” Vulcu explains. “Talking to the state authorities I realized we needed more than just us as an association approaching them. We needed a public debate.”

The current legal basis for live events in Romania was formed in 1990, shortly after the Revolution.

It was implemented with rioting protesters in mind, leading to early curfews and restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

The law is outdated, which puts promoters but also police, fire departments and everybody working with events on an operational level in a place of uncertainty.

“You’re operating in a grey zone of the law all the time,” Vulcu said. “For example, based on this law, you can’t organize events after 11 p.m. Well, all the open-air festivals run 24 hours. Everybody just goes along with it. But in case anything happens, you will have to justify in court why you did not shut down the event by 11 p.m.”

The same uncertainty exists concerning the sale of beer and other alcoholic beverages, which is prohibited by the law in events and sports gatherings, but is done anyway with the silent approval of authorities.

“Everybody understands it’s an outdated law, and that a festival in a field will last until early morning. But no one can give you an approval in written form. There’s no legal basis for it.”

The main aim of AROC is to work on making the law contemporary.

The first East European Music Conference (EEMC) will help put pressure on politicians but also inform the public about the problems facing concert and festival organizers.

Getting the politicians to sit around a table with Romania’s live entertainment professionals could prove to be a challenge given the volatile nature of the country’s government.

The current administration in the country capital Bucharest recently collapsed, removing all persons of interest for the live sector from office. A new government has yet to be named, which is why it remains to be seen which politicians will make it to Sibiu.

That is not to say there won’t be plenty to talk about aside from politics.

Many European concert professionals have already confirmed their attendance, including FKP Scorpio’s Stephan Thanscheidt, Lollapalooza Berlin’s Fruzsina Szép, Yourope’s Christof Huber, Iceland Airwaves’ Grimur Atlason, Tallinn Music Week’s Helen Sildna to name a few. The first EEMC conference takes place in the same city and on the same days as Artmania Festival, to which delegates will also have access. Sibiu municipality, which co-finances the conference, has always been a big supporter of educational and cultural projects.

According to Vulcu, “It’s also a very beautiful medieval city with venues, hotels and attractions all within walking distance.”

Eastern European Music Conference. Featuring FKP Scorpio

The promoter is already in negotiations with Sibiu municipality to expand EEMC’s live music offering in 2018. Vulcu wants to showcase emerging talent from Romania and Eastern Europe, which she feels is still underrepresented at most European talent festivals such as Eurosonic Noorderslag and Reeperbahn Festival.

Like their host cities Groningen and Hamburg, Sibiu has the ideal layout to put on acts on various stages around town, allowing visitors to discover new music while sightseeing.

Vulcu and the same people who established Artmania as a boutique festival and cultural events brand in 2006 are also the core team working on the first EEMC. And it wouldn’t be a true European music conference if Ruud Berends of Networking Music, Eurosonic Noorderslag and the IFF weren’t involved in the planning and programming as well.

Says Vulcu: “I’m a promoter, I’m very much into practical work. So when we talk about changing the laws, those changes need to be practical. I’m not a big supporter of having a conference for the sake of having a conference. It needs to have a practical aim, not least of which is creating a platform for Romanian acts.”

One panel at the EEMC is called the Artist & Manager’s Corner. It will feature representatives of some of Europe’s most prominent showcase festivals giving advice on how to launch careers on the European level.

Vulcu thinks this work is particularly important given that Romania lacks a proper music export office. She hopes Artmania in combination with the EEMC and AROC are able to fill that gap.

She hopes people attending the EECM premiere in July will see that “Romania is not necessarily what it’s made out to be in the Western media, which only focuses on the bad side of the country. It is a beautiful place.”