Andalucía Music Forum: The Gateway Between Latin America And Europe
There are many reasons to visit Andalucía, the southern most autonomous community of Spain: palm trees, an endless coastline, outstanding sunsets and mouthwatering tapas. This summer, you can add music business networking, artist showcases, keynotes and panels featuring industry leaders to the list. Andalucía Music Forum (AMF) premieres Sept. 5-7, and promises to be “the ultimate boutique summer meeting point of European, Spanish, Andalusian, Mediterranean and Latin American Music industry in Southern Europe,” according to Ruud Berends, one of the event’s masterminds. The other one is Live Nation Spain’s César Andión, who heads the Spanish Wave talent export program.
The current popularity of Spanish and Latin American music played an important part in Andión’s vision for AMF. “Spain is the gateway to and from Latin America in Europe,” says Berends, whose specialty is connecting business professionals from around the world.
According to Andión, the networks of agents, managers, promoters, and venues on both sides of the Atlantic “have always been strong, and culturally and economically important. Now, with the boom and even revolution of Latin, Hispanic, Iberian acts flourishing across the globe, the increasing interest of the non-Latin American industry is making [the network] even stronger and richer.” And he emphasizes, “this is happening, because it is a true, real, organic industry, where young musicians and producers exchange and collaborate non-stop.” It’s an industry that has brought forth global superstars like J Balvin, Maluma and Rosalía.
Spanish mega event Primavera Sound just announced its expansion to Latin America while Mexican super festival Vive Latino will celebrate its Spanish debut this year. Andión says both markets are “growing in a steady and strong way, which is obviously attracting main players of the music industry in the US, UK, and Europe.”
AMF aims to bring them all together in one, rather beautiful, location. There are few people in Europe who are better connected than Berends.
As he points out, “in our industry it is all about getting the right people together, to build new connections and networks and to do the best possible business for our clients and events.”
Andión agrees, “there’s no more segregation. Now, any festival, any music conference, emerging talent showcase festival, etc., has a strong presence of Spanish and/or Latin American acts. Export offices from Latin America have a presence at European festivals and are doing a great job investing in new talent. Forums like AMF are here to be a meeting point for all of them.”
AMF is just one of three parts, the business-facing part, of Andalucía Big, a new project to promote music in and from Andalucía, locally and internationally. The other two are Andalucía BIG Festival, produced by the team behind Mad Cool, and Andalucía Live Concerts, with tours and shows happening all across Andalucía’s many picturesque provinces.
AMF will showcase emerging Spanish and Latin American talent, like María Yfeu from Sevilla, Tito Ramirez from Granada, and Centavrvs, and the Mexican Institute of Sound, who each hail from Mexico. “Also,” adds Andión, “we felt the need to show our support with Ukraine, so we will have an incredible artist from Kyiv called Maryna Krutb.”
Granada and Sevilla in particular, are “real nests of indie, pop, rock, flamenco, but even funk and soul and urban music,” according to Andión, who explains, “The industry and talent of Andalucía have been and will always be one of the most exciting ones in Spain and Europe, with centuries of connections with Latin America. Sevilla and Cadiz were the main ports for goods and cultural exchange since the 1500s. Is Rumba Cuban or Spanish? It belongs to us all.”
In the spirit of collaboration, the first AMF is all set to be “a unique cooperation between so many different organizations,” according to Berends, who adds, “in some ways, Spain is still a relatively fresh country, which is now exploding on a festival and event level, in Spain and beyond. I love the idea of keeping AMF small and focused, something which I believe will work well in our industry.”
When Berends and Andión talk about the gateway between Latin America and Europe they include the UK, which, according to Andión, “is so important for everyone for obvious business reasons, but also because UK fans are opening up to music from different cultural landscapes. I run the export project Spanish Wave and it’s very successful in the UK, with great showcase and networking events at The Great Escape, Focus Wales, Liverpool Sound City, IFF, and Latino Life festival in Finsbury Park. For us Europeans, the UK is and always will be Europe in all ways. I even love Marmite.”
Europe Meets Spain & LATAM: Q’s With The Team Behind Andalucía Music Forum