Spot (music festival)
|Genre||Indie rock, hip hop, electronica, reggae etc.|
|Dates||Three days (Thursday to Saturday), early May|
|Years active||1994 - 2000, 2002 - present|
SPOT is an annual music festival in the city of Aarhus, Denmark, showcasing up-and-coming Danish and Scandinavian talent. Close to two hundred artists and bands from most genres of contemporary popular music - such as rock, hip hop and electronic music - play various stages across town, centered around the Academy of Music and concert halls of Musikhuset. Around 8,000 people attend the 100-200 concerts, including 1,500 from the music business, with close to a quarter of these from companies abroad.
Speakers also participate in panel discussions and give lectures on various music industry topics. For example, they answer musicians' questions on "How to make it in the US" and participate in debates on topics including file sharing and the future of the album.
While the audience is mainly local, the most quoted of its stated aims is to promote Danish and Scandinavian music to the international music business, from record companies and concert organisers to agents and the music press. Trying to please both camps, a curious, local music audience and an international music business crowd, is occasionally a source of friction.
Started in 1994 at a local initiative, SPOT festival has been organized by ROSA (Dansk Rock Samråd, translating as Danish Rock Council, an umbrella organization representing various Danish musicians' unions) from 1995 onwards. In 2002, David Fricke of Rolling Stone spotted the Raveonettes at the festival and his subsequent endorsement was considered instrumental in landing them a contract with Columbia Records. This incident greatly increased interest in the festival among musicians as a 'place to be seen', prompting among others Sort Sol, a staple of the Danish music scene since 1977, to appear the following year in the hope of garnering international interest in their back catalogue.
Growth and changing profile
In the 2000s, the festival saw an increase in the number of bands and venues as well as public attention - a transformation that has not escaped criticism. In 2005, the festival included 107 acts featured on 10 stages across town, a number that led the festival manager, to call for a scaleback. Critical voices have focused more on the choice of venues and artists, claiming that venues have been spread too far out and the choice of musicians has gotten safer and less varied. Political interest in the festival has grown with the commercial successes of acts such as Mew, The Raveonettes and Junior Senior. In 2005, the minister for culture, Brian Mikkelsen, proclaimed it "the most important musical event in Denmark" due to its potential as a vehicle for "networking and musical export". However, this attention has prompted questions about the relative weights given to artistic merit and marketability as criteria for band selection and claims that the new focus on big business has alienated the local music scene. The inclusion of by now well-established names (or at least names that were felt to have had their chance of international recognition) such as Saybia and Outlandish was greeted with muted enthusiasm in the music press and occasional hostility from audiences.
In 2017, SPOT Festival was expanded to last three days with more than 200 events and was held in early May. As part of the expansion, several smaller festivals within the larger festival was arranged, including Roots & Hybrid focussing on world music and ethnic styles primarily from the Middle East, Aarhus Volume with local hip-hop talents, Mono goes Metal with local acts from the metal underground and Spot on Greenland with up and coming bands from Greenland. Film and fashion also became part of SPOT, with two small festivals featuring local fashion companies and film talents.
Among the bands who have taken baby steps at SPOT are
- 1997 (SPOT04): Kashmir (Denmark), moi Caprice (Denmark)
- 1998 (SPOT05): Under Byen (Denmark), Superheroes (Denmark)
- 1999 (SPOT06): Sigur Rós (Iceland)
- 2000 (SPOT07): Outlandish (Denmark)
- 2002 (SPOT08): The Raveonettes, Junior Senior (Denmark)
- 2003 (SPOT09): Kaizer's Orchestra (Norway), The Blue Van (Denmark)
- 2004 (SPOT10): Múm (Iceland)
- 2005 (SPOT11): Blue Foundation (Denmark), Mew (Denmark)
- 2006 (SPOT12): Oh No Ono (Denmark), Figurines (Denmark)
- 2007 (SPOT13): Spleen United (Denmark), Shout Out Louds (Sweden), Eivør Pálsdóttir (Faroe Islands)
A complete list can be found at the MySpace profile.
- A Switch Box Tale, part of 2008 event.
- Stefan Lykke Møller (24 August 2015). "About". SPOT Festival. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- "SPOT Info" (in Danish). SPOT. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- Peter Krogholm (7 June 2006). "Private party or festival?" (in Danish). musik.dk. Archived from the original on 2007-06-23. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- David Fricke (July 30, 2002). "Raveonettes Whip It On in NYC". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- Peter Studstrup (30 May 2003). "SPOT09 - A year after The Raveonettes" (in Danish). Gaffa. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- Michael Jensen (17 June 2005). "SPOT to be cut" (in Danish). Gaffa. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- Steffen B. Pedersen (3 June 2006). "Bandapart (concert review)" (in Danish). Geiger. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- Louise Wilhelmsen (11 March 2005). "SPOT festival brings ministers to Århus" (in Danish). Århus Stiftstidende. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- Anders Jørgensen (4 June 2006). "SPOT - the everpresent dilemma of underground versus major attractions" (in Danish). Gaffa. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- Steffan Lykke Møller, ed. (2017). "SPOT (magazine)" (in Danish). GAFFA ApS.
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