Berlin Music Week presents itself scattered, not clustered

To be honest, I just don’t know what to say, after I’ve been to the Berlin Music Week press conference yesterday.
If you seek the usual facts and figures or ‘we’re sold out’ and ‘best program ever’ quotes, check this sources directly:
Berlin Music Week/press
Popkomm/press
a2n/press /
So what?
Berlin – as a location for the music industry – combines a vivid music scene from mainstream to any alternative sound existing, a massive club scene, companies ranging from majors to small indies of all different branches of the music and entertainment business.
And each has it’s own festivals, b2b meetings, conferences, etc. in Berlin each year.
The idea of combining, consolidating, focussing all this different activities under one umbrella, in one week does make sense.
1+1+1+1+1=1?
Now there is a bunch of events, most of which offer high quality: a2n came up with a very interesting schedule of panels, the Berlin Festival has a top line up, the Popkomm showcases will feature a carefully selected blend of very potential newcomers…
My first thought was, yes! I buy one ‘Berlin Music Week Ticket’ and can attend all this events, trade shows, conferences, showcases. One ticket, one service package, one price! And then…

a good manual can help

As far as I got it after a good 4 hours of research, you can buy a pro ticket, 236,-EUR on the Popkomm website for everything happening at Tempelhof (Popkomm, parts of a2n, Berlin Festival) + some selected side events:

Berlin Music Week says in their info brochure, a Berlin Music Week Ticket (which actually is the Popkomm ticket sold via their website) grants access to Popkomm, a2n, Berlin Festival, Popkomm b2b marketplace, Popkomm opening party, Jazzkomm, a2n conference (no idea what the difference is between a2n and a2n conference is…), Berlin Clubnight and many more (but not which… try end error?)
What about the ClubSpreeBerlin Festival or the summarize festival, the ‘night after ramadan’ festival, the Jazz-Meeting Berlin, all mentioned in the Flyer as part of the BWM, too?
A  stand alone ticket for the Berlin Festival will grant access to the Festival itself, plus to Popkomm on friday, Popkomm showcase festival and a2n Forum (but not the a2n conference).
a2n offers two different tickets, one for the Barcamp at the Kulturbrauerei and one that includes Popkomm and their own congress at Tempelhof.
A Popkomm ticket might grant access to the a2n Barcamp too, but this is not clear.
Oh, I forgott, at Popkomm there is an area for public showcases too, that is free of charge and open to the public.
Remember, visitors come to attend Berlin Music Week and will most likely be confronted with having to deal with numerous different organizers, locations, access situations, badges, they haven’t heard of before.
A simple yet functioning practicable ticketing, would be the visible symptom of a common direction, a vision (!)all partners involved do share.
I give funding the rest is your cup of tea
That’s why my critics are about the Berlin Government/ the senator of economics, who puts the money in Berlin Music Week, first. If the senator for economics grants support, the utmost concern has to be the outcome for the city/ industrial location rather than granting subsidies to the partners involved. And they should have an idea what they are actually funding!
Is a weird cluster of partly interfering events what will promote Berlin as a music capital?
Why did no one bother to think of one direction, one idea everyone that wants to participate can follow? Not to speak about an idea where to develop in 10 years time.
Each partner sure has his own plans, but the question is, who’s responsibility it would be to develop and enforce a common vision? I’d say the one who pays the bill.
The participating partners didn’t even manage to issue a common press release during their big press conference (‘I hear this for the first time’ was heard more than once during the presentations of the various events at the press conference).
buy one, get none for free
Berlin is a rather big city. But has no big catchment area as there are no relevant cities around Berlin, which means, the total number of people spending their time and money every weekend in Berlin clubs is limited. During Berlin Music Week, a music enthusiast can visit:
The Berlin Festival (Sat./Sun.) estimated attendance 20.000/day (10.000/day in 2009),
The Berlin Clubnight (Sat.) / 44 Clubs / estimated attendance >10.000
The ClubSpreeBerlin (Mon.-Sat.) / 20 Clubs / should be around 10.000/day
The Popkomm Festival Showcases (Wed.-Fr.) / 16 Clubs, 60 acts maybe another 4.000/day
The free stages at the Popkomm public area
The Jazzkomm (wed.-Fr.) / well, who is listening to Jazz anyway 😉
I’m pretty sure there will be quite some overlap, festival goers will have to decide which events they will attend and spend their money on. I fear many will go for the big headliners the Berlin Festival offers instead of the many wonderful newcomers at showcases.
I heard that many visitors will give Berlin Music Week one try. If visitors will not be allowed to access a club or event two or three times because they got the wrong badge, if they do not understand why parts of the same event are included and others not, they will most likely not return in 2011.
And this is not to blame on the visitors that wanted to see Berlin Music Week and got lost in it’s wired and confusing set up.

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