César Andión Talks Andalucía Music Forum Premiere

Andalucía Music Forum director César Andión (Picture by Bianca de Villar)

The first Andalucía Music Forum is in the books. Some 2,000 people attended the premiere in Málaga, Sept. 5-7, including 350 delegates, speakers and media – the “perfect number to enable intimate networking, as we wanted AMF to be a forum and not a massive conference,” according to AMF director César Andión, head of The Spanish Wave talent export program at Live Nation Spain. From his opening address at Málaga’s historic La Concepción, to the closing dinner and party on the beachfront of Torremolinos, he said he couldn’t be happier with AMF’s debut.

The sessions tackled a variety of topics. Speaking about the role of women in music were Alexandra Ampofo (Metrópolis Music, Women Connect, Embrace Nation), Jess Kinn (One Fiinix Live), Diana Dadonova (Ukraine Music Export), Inma Grass (founder, Altafonte) and Cindy Castillo (Mad Cool Festival). Chen Castano, director of Planet Events, talked about her 30-year career with her colleague Beatriz de la Guardia.

In other interviews, ILMC head Greg Parmely talked to Raye Cosbert, director of Metropolis Music, who has worked closely with artists including Bjork; Tyler, The Creator; Charlie XCX and Gorillaz throughout his professional career, and Mad Cool’s Cindy Castillo delved into Rob Challice’s (Wassermann Music) 40-year career as promoter, agent, festival organizer and passionate cyclist.

Other sessions tackled the ins and outs of management, offered legal advice and talked about the latest in tech, including the current NFT craze. The past, present and future of the Andalusian music industry was addressed in a session moderated by Txema Martín of local newspaper Diario Sur, who was joined by representatives from the industry such as María Yfeu, an artist from Seville, Eduardo Fernández Palomares, undersecretary of Spain’s ministry of culture and sports, Live Nation Spain’s Nuria Rico, and others. Pollstar moderated a session on emerging markets in Europe, Latin America, and the APAC region, which featured Georges Perot (Athens Music Week), Heloisa Aidar and Inma Grass (Altafonte), Fran Sandoval (Chile Music), Jordi Anglés (Ticketmaster Spain), Mike Galt (Eventim Live Asia/SVP Touring), and Alvaro Covoes (Everything is New). Carlos Mc Phail (Parque Bicentenario de la Ciudad de México), Camilo Lara (IMS), Ana Rodríguez (MMF), Sergio Arbeláez (FIMPRO), Fabrizio Onetto (Seitrack), Laura García Álvarez del Castillo (Sympathy for the Lawyer), Josué Orduña (Altafonte), and Robert Grima (President of Live Nation Spain, Madrid), analyzed the music industry in Mexico and its connection with Spain and the rest of the world.

One of the main goals of AMF is to facilitate business between Latin America and Europe, and according to Andión, “I think we did, just putting people from both sides of the Atlantic together in a nice professional and friendly environment is a success, especially focused on Latin American professionals meeting Spanish and European pros. I am sure there are many examples, but for instance many delegates have been invited to European and Latin America music conferences because they met at AMF. Our Mexican PR has been contracted by other companies and some Spanish managers are already talking to Latin American festivals and promoters about collabs between artists and about initial tours. We will continue on this unique path since it’s needed in Europe and Latin America. I believe we’ve reached the goal set out in our motto: being the gateway between Latin American and Europe and vice versa.”

Andión said Málaga was the ideal host city, calling it the “perfect spot, just right. People and professionals are friendly, there are stylish venues and events, all spreading very southern European vibes: warm and smiley. Also, the time of the year in early September is perfect. For many, AMF marks the last meeting of the summer, but also the kickoff for the autumn and winter season of music industry gatherings.”

AMF forms one of three parts of Andalucía Big, a project to promote music in and from Andalucía locally and internationally. The other two are Andalucía Live Concerts, which promotes tours and shows by newcomers across Andalucía’s provinces (Aug. 26–Sept. 4), as well as Andalucía BIG Festival, produced by the team behind Mad Cool festival (Sept. 8-10).

Sevillian singer María Yfeu is pictured performing an intimate set at night at AMF. (Photo by Bianca de Villar)

There was live music at AMF as well, concerts from Andalusian artists like Maria Yfeu, Tito Ramirez or Maria Guadaña, as well as from focus country Mexico (Centavrvs, Instituto Mexicano del Sonido), plus a special performance by Ukrainian artist Maryna Krut. Their respective agents confirmed that all of them have already received booking requests in the aftermath of AMF, according to Andión, who said, “the first AMF turned out exactly as we had imagined it when we started working on the project months ago. The vibe was friendly, professional, easy going, laid back and fun. The feedback from everyone who attended has been amazing and that makes us really happy and wanting to work on the next one soon.”