‘We Want To Send A Signal’: M4music Festival Switzerland To Go Ahead Digitally

Philipp Schnyder
– Philipp Schnyder
m4music festival director at Migros Culture Percentage

Switzerland’s m4music Festival has announced that it will rebrand the 2020 edition as “m4music 2.0” to be streamed online, March 19-21.

Because the festival’s expected visitor count of 6,000 would exceed the ban on public gatherings imposed by Swiss authorities, Migros Culture Percentage, the promoters of m4music, decided to go ahead with a selection of panel discussions and live showcases, and make the content available online.
Pollstar reached out to festival director Philipp Schnyder.
Pollstar: What was your motivation behind continuing with m4music in digital form?
Philipp Schnyder: With over 1,000 delegates, and 5,000 patrons for the live shows, m4music is the most important professional meeting point in Switzerland. 
We are a focal point for the local music scene, so we were convinced that it is important to make a statement: Although we have to cancel the festival and the conference for safety reasons, we want to send a signal – that we are around, working, creating, presenting musicians, leading discussions, and awarding the best newcomers!

The Schiffbau in Zurich, Switzerland
– The Schiffbau in Zurich, Switzerland
One of the usual focal points of m4music will remain largely empty in 2020.

Do you have to make many compromises as far as the programming is concerned, or can all the sessions be translated into the virtual world, as well?

It’s impossible to digitalize the whole m4music – we will be trying to concentrate its most important aspects into a five-hour live stream: selected artist showcases, feedback sessions for newcomer artists, an important award ceremony for Swiss newcomers, a few panel discussions including one on how to deal with the Coronavirus crisis. Though it’s hard to [lose] the networking, which is central to many of our delegates.
How about the live music? Will that still be shown on screen?
Instead of 50 live shows on six stages, we can only have three showcases in our live stream.
What are your general views on how politicians and the media deal with the Coronavirus?
I think, general views aren’t helpful, because simplifications and slogans tend to infuriate people. In such challenging times, it is important that we – as a society – stick together, and take care of each other. 
The most important thing for us is the safety of our fellow citizens. That’s why we have decided to cancel the festival, but to invent a symbolic digital “m4music 2.0.”
Anything else you would like to add?
Don’t give up, give support!
Thanks a lot for taking the time.