Tallinn Music Week & Reeperbahn Festival To Go Ahead, Primavera Pro Goes Digital

There's music everywhere in the Estonian capital during Tallinn Music Week.
Patrik Tamm
– There’s music everywhere in the Estonian capital during Tallinn Music Week.
This rooftop seems particularly suitable for a socially distanced gig.

In Europe, the Nordic countries in particular seem to have dealt well with the threat of Covid-19.
Following the decision of the Estonian government to allow public events with restricted attendance from July, the organizers of Tallinn Music Week (TMW) decided to hold a scaled down version of the annual event, Aug. 26-30.
The government capped the attendance for open air events at 1,000, and at 500 for indoor events. The same restrictions apply to the TMW conference and the free city programme. 
All programme elements will be adapted accordingly, an updated program will be published in June.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have agreed to open their borders to each others’ citizens from May 15. Seeing that travel restrictions outside of that arrangement may still be in place in August, TMW 2020 is likely to be a much more regional event than usual – as far as delegates and artists are concerned.
TMW director Helen Sildna said, the festival programme could be conveniently adjusted to the government-imposed restrictions, as the events are scattered around the multiple venues and locations across the city. 
“One of the most essential goals for our team is to figure out how this year’s TMW can provide maximum benefit to musicians and the whole ecosystem serving music events – from sound rental companies to hotels,” Sildna commented, adding, “This season will give the entire cultural and events sector an opportunity to be smart and responsible, and to prove that we are able to provide value and new quality even in challenging circumstances. It’s essential to inject optimism to artists, the whole sector and our audience.”
Organizers are optimistic, that due to the low spread of the coronavirus in Estonia the loosening of restrictions may continue. There were plans of easing restrictions on border crossings between Estonia and Finland at press time. 
Reeperbahn Festival attendees gathering in the Festival Village
Robin Schmiedebach
– Reeperbahn Festival attendees gathering in the Festival Village
It remains to be seen, how social distancing is going to be enforced at the Hamburg event

Meanwhile in Germany, the organizers of the country’s biggest talent festival and music conference Reeperbahn Festival, which turns 15 years old in 2020, announced their intentions to go ahead with a “pandemic proof” edition in September.

The event’s spokesman Frehn Hawel penned the following statement, which can be found on Reeperbahn Festival’s website: “As things stand currently, the effects of the coronavirus will be felt throughout the cultural scene and the music world for a significant time to come. In order to enable culture to be directly experienced and enjoyed again however, it is essential to face up to this new normality. That is why we have decided to start planning a pandemic-adapted version of this year’s Reeperbahn Festival [Sept. 16-19]. The safety of our visitors, partners, artists and employees is our top priority.”
The German government has banned large-scale events until Aug. 31, leaving it up to the individual states to set the capacity limits. Hamburg, where Reeperbahn Festival takes place, has limited events at 1,000 capacity.
Should Germany follow the examples of other European countries and increase capacities gradually over time, Reeperbahn Festival will have to limit its program as well as the number of visitors it can host.
Last year’s edition attracted 50,000 visitors in total, including 5,900 conference delegates.
The 15th edition of Reeperbahn Festival will have to match all of the official hygiene and distancing regulations still in place in September. “We are also greatly relying on the trust and prudence of all those who are participating in this year’s Festival,” the statement concludes.
The governmental measure taken in response to Covid-19 pose an existential threat to the cultural industry, the live entertainment sector and, in particular, to young bands and artists as well as venues – all of which are indispensable for Reeperbahn Festival to work.
“Despite all the current moves to ease lockdown measures, the prospect of a return to regular operations is far from certain. This new order of normality leaves little option other than to largely accept it and face the enormous resulting challenges,” the statement continues.
Organizers around CEO Alexander Schulz are currently coordinating with the responsible authorities, in order to draw up a plan that will enable the event to be held in September in compliance with all social distancing and hygiene regulations.
There will be individual implementation concepts with all participating venues, the application of which will enable clubs, concert halls and theatres to start operating. This concepts can also be adapted by venues not part of Reeperbahn Festival. 
Just like Tallinn Music Week, RF 2020 is bound to end up being a mostly national event, seeing that the usual strong international lineup for the most part won’t be allowed to travel by then as things stand.
Seeing that travel restrictions with neighbouring countries are starting to lift in June, it is likely that a good number of European artists and delegates will be able to attend.
Reeperbahn Festival’s
Rieka Anschnitt
– Reeperbahn Festival’s
Conference Director Detlef Schwarte (left) and Managing Director Alexander Schulz.

CEO Reeperbahn Festival Alexander Schulz said, “The experiences, existential concerns and perspectives gained since the imposition of measures to combat the spread of the new coronavirus will shape the content of Reeperbahn Festival 2020. 

“We expect fundamental changes in the focus of our activities. The key issues to be addressed range from the importance of culture in the canon of values in society as a whole, to economic livelihoods, to practical measures for the gradual return to operations. We want to be able to devote our efforts once again to these topics in the form of direct personal interaction, and to experience music in a live setting and to do so together!
“In addition to the forced significant reduction in the number of visitors, we expect a significantly higher proportion of audiences, artists, speakers and partners from Europe and Germany due to the special circumstances. However, the scope of the programme is not expected to change significantly.
“Due to the special circumstances, we are completely bypassing all economic considerations for this year’s Reeperbahn Festival. The absolute priority must be to collaborate with our partners, venues, organisers, and others, to establish the new practical procedures required to hold the event in line with pandemic-related measures.
“Naturally, the protection and safety of our visitors, partners, artists and employees is still paramount and it is clear that the situation remains very fluid and unpredictable. But, based on everything we currently know from the authorities responsible for us, we believe that we are on a slow, cautious and regulated path towards a new era of cultural presentation and culture industries, both during and also post-corona. 
“With Reeperbahn Festival 2020, we want to support and shape this process and experience it together with our visitors.”
Other music conferences have opted to host different forms of online versions of their respective programs, including MIDEM in France, Sonar and now Primavera Pro, both taking place in Spain.
Between July 21-24, Primavera Pro will program round tables and conversations with speakers and delegates, who had already accredited for this years edition. Topics of conversation will revolve around what transformations will take place in the world of music over the new decade, an era kicked off by an unprecedented shutdown of the world economy – and all “the challenges and opportunities that come with all times of change,” according to the announcement by Primavera Pro.
Primavera Pro usually offers up and coming artists a stage to play in front of international delegates, who may want to get in business with them. As Primavera Sound co-founder Alberto Guijarro recently told Pollstar, those showcases are “currently an important link for boosting business and relations between Europe and Latin America.”
Showcases, mentoring sessions, workshops and other parts of the program will be adapted to the limited possibilities offered in the digital environment.
The conference programme will be available live and free of charge via the Primavera Pro site. Delegate passes purchased for Primavera Pro 2020 will grant holders access to the content of the online program after the event has ended.
The delegate pass will remain valid for the 2021 edition of Primavera Pro as well as Primavera Sound Barcelona. In addition, specific passes will be put on sale to access all the online content of Primavera Pro 2020. 
People who wish to request the refund for the accreditations already purchased can do so starting June 3, which also marks the day the first names for Primavera Sound Barcelona 2021 will be announced.