Reeperbahn Festival Delegation Reflects On New York Edition

German artist BLVTH performed during Reeperbahn Festival
Lisa Meinen
– German artist BLVTH performed during Reeperbahn Festival
The performance was streamed live from Hamburg club Knust.

For the sixth time, the partnership between German talent festival and music business conference Reeperbahn Festival and the American Association of Independent Music gave European delegates access to A2IM’s Indie Week, June 14-17. Here’s what some of them thought.

Indie Week is usually only accessible to A2IM members, thanks to a partnership established six years ago, 40 European music business professionals had the opportunity to join the event as delegates of the Reeperbahn Festival New York edition, which is financially supported by the the German Federal Foreign Office.
It allowed the European delegation to take part in panel discussions, matchmaking sessions, workshops, and company visits – like this year’s virtual visit to entertainment label 300 – and gain insights into the U.S. music market, and strengthen their U.S. networks in tailored meetings. 
For the second year running, A2IM Indie Week took place as a virtual event, including the Libera Awards on the last day of the conference.
Arlo Parks performed during A2IM
– Arlo Parks performed during A2IM
The performance was recorded at London’s Crouch End Studios.

Reeperbahn Festival presented a couple of German artists, Albertine Sarges and BLVTH in a showcase streamed live from Hamburg’s club Knust. U.S. artist Margaret Glaspy joined the showcase via video stream.

Reeperbahn Festival also contributed to the program of A2IM Indie Week by hosting a panel on “How the climate crisis will hit the music sector.”
It was moderated by the German journalist Emily Whigham, and featured Jacob Bilabel (THEMA1), Helen Smith (Executive Chairperson at IMPALA), Horst Weidenmüller (CEO of K7 Music, Board Member at IMPALA) and Tanner Watt (Director of Partnerships at REVERB), who discussed the economic effects the climate crisis may have on the individual sub-markets of the music industry, like touring and the festival business, but also how streaming and especially blockchain technology might influence energy consumption. 
Statements from select Reeperbahn Festival New York edition delegates below:
Jacob Bilabel.
David Wolff – Patrick/Redferns via Getty Images
– Jacob Bilabel.
Founder of the pan-European Green Music Initiative, and on of the Reeperbahn Festival New York edition delegates.

Jacob Sylvester Bilabel, Founder Green Music Initiative & Everywh2ere Hydrogen, Germany: “With the industry in forced full stop in these crazy pandemic times it became even clearer that we have to build back better if we want a sustainable future for the sector. These needed transformations call for a cross sectoral approach getting all the brains, hands and hearts on the table. 

“Reeperbahn Festival ´s cooperation with A2IM offered great opportunities to kick-start these processes from a transatlantic perspective. The digital delivery of the different formats was flawless and gave me even?more opportunities to get in contact with new, innovative initiatives from the US than if these meetings had taken place in real life. Thank you A2IM and Reeperbahn Festival!”
Simone?Schiborr, Senior Manager Editorial & Label Relations Deezer, Germany: “This is now my second time as a Reeperbahn Festival International delegate at the A2IM Indie Week. I was already impressed by the professional implementation of the conference last year, which had to take place virtually at short notice due to the pandemic. I was once again amazed to see how Reeperbahn Festival managed to organize the digital company visits this year. 
“I found the insights into the work of US labels particularly exciting. I was amazed by the matchmaking sessions at A2IM Indie Week, where I got to meet members of the international music industry. Thank you, dear Reeperbahn Festival team, for the wide view across the usual borders!” 
Victor Mihailescu, Founder Underdog Records, Loud Biscuit, Romania: “For a long time, I thought Reeperbahn Festival to be some kind of unattainable wild-dream, I could not fathom becoming a delegate. When I finally mustered the courage to apply, we were at the start of the pandemic and I thought to myself: when things are at their worst, that is when we need to get out of the comfort zone and reach out, unite, ask people for help. I needed to feel part of the industry and get out of the sidelines, and where better to get involved if not at Reeperbahn Festival??
“The digital event was for me a two-sided premiere, being the first international music industry conference I ever attended, but also a digital one. It was flawless! Actually, I imagine that a physical event would have meant missing out on information or events, which was definitely not the case here – I got to witness every panel, in crisp audio quality and meeting people I otherwise would have been to shy to approach. Win-win for introverts like me.
“The impact the whole conference has had on me and my activities since then was profound: I finally gave in and started manufacturing and distributing vinyls (with great success), started a music publisher to complement the label side (also with positive acclaim by the media), and formed business relations with international colleagues I would have probably never met otherwise. 
“In this ever-changing music and business landscape, I am curious what new information I will discover and where this Edition will take me one year from now. Thanks for everything!”
Vincent Wilms, CEO?of cloudshaper, Belgium: “I joined Reeperbahn Festival New York, because one of the artists on my roster has more fans in the USA than in Belgium (where cloudshaper is based). 
“This event is a perfect way to find the right contacts that are very hard to reach as a company based in Belgium. The delegates database, the company visits, and the networking opportunities are gifts for the future. I did a few digital conferences last month, and I must say that the Reeperbahn Festival events are always very down to earth, social, and splendidly organized and coordinated. The panels and company visits are always top edge and share the exact values and contacts I was looking for.”
Kaylee Wesley-Pearson, owner Happy Duck Label, Denmark: “I joined Reeperbahn Festival New York to get inspired, learn and connect with people from all over the world.? The digital platform made it super easy to reach out to the other delegates, and the seminars and showcases also worked really well digitally. I am very happy to have been part of this edition; I learned a lot, connected with a ton of people whilst saving money and the environment as it was all digital.”
Following the destinations Beijing, Nashville and Pan-Africa, the New York Edition now concludes Reeperbahn Festival’s networking events for the first half of 2021. 
They  will continue Nov. 25-27 with the Johannesburg Edition in Africa focusing on ACCES (Music in Africa Conference for Collaborations, Exchange and Showcases).