I had a very interesting and informative chat with Paul Cheetham last week, the guy that was hired to organize and develop a new direction to the Popkomm Festival few weeks ago.
Paul took over an event that is carrying a long tail of criticism, transference of frustration and a ‘historical’ burden of lacking support from the native German industry. On the other hand the Popkomm festival is considered maybe exaggerated as very important by the international industry, as Germany is still ranking amongst the biggest export markets world wide.
Being in charge to handle this balancing act between diverging expectations is not what everyone would snap up. So I was surprised to find Paul both confident yet realistic in his approach and plans.
In a nutshell he will focus in developing the festival into a more genre based, open thing. More label nights, rather than national presentations of music export bureaus, but being completely aware of specific demands national associations and trade bodies have towards such an event. Boiling down the whole thing to few locations at the Kulturbrauerei, and take it from there, see what will happen around this core and integrate what makes sense.
But him being from the industry and not affiliated with the fair company of Messe Berlin might be a good argument to convince companies to give it a try this year.
Bottom line is, he has a plan in mind that is tailored for the industry rather than for the fair organizers, which is good. I’d even speculate that such an idea could work out without a trade show attached too… There are many ways to offer an infrastructure for business people to meet and talk, see SxSW or Music Matters, just to name two.
I’m curious what will happen in September, are you gonna come?