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Boutique Indoor Festivals – the new tendency?

Indoor boutique festivals - a new trend, or not? What’s the buzz? And is it even worthwhile to run an indoor event like that? What are the pros and cons? Challenges and opportunities?

With a growing festival market in Europe and beyond, it’s getting harder to stick out. Is the growth spotted by the bigger multinational corporations, and is there a threat from those organizations? Would they need to change their strategy, since sometimes full line-ups are built on a minor part of headliners? Are headliners even a thing? Or are the events tied to venues and will they forever keep independent as it’s the ambiance that sells?

Thursday 6. April 14:00 - Room 2

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Mod: José Carlos Santos (The Devil’s Mouth, PT)

José Carlos Santos’ business card says “music curation, consulting and journalism”, which is to say he is a sort of jack of all trades of the underground, and has been so for over twenty years. He loves being at the eye of the artistic storm where performers, press, listeners, culture, language and history all fly around, bumping into each other. As a self-professed “word nerd”, a follower of Heschel’s “words create worlds” maxim, his main focus has always been writing, which he has done copiously in both his native languages, English and Portuguese – for instance, he served as a Senior Writer for Terrorizer magazine for eleven years, and is currently chief of staff for LOUD! and part of the writing staff for Zero Tolerance and Decibel –, but has pursued other activities such as radio hosting, publishing, DJ, photography, PR, management and more. He loves interviewing musicians and music-related people and getting the best out of the message they transmit to the audience, which is why he hosts a “slow listening” podcast where different guests talk passionately about their favorite songs each week. This kind of expertise has led him to be frequently asked as a moderator and/or curator for panels associated with events like Roadburn, Amplifest or SWR among others. José also maintains his own website, The Devil’s Mouth, which the aforementioned podcast of the same name is a part of, a labour of love designed to help spread the word on unconventional music of all genres. Behind all of José’s professional guises, lies essentially a profound love of music and an unshakable will to shine a light on the less exposed artists and help them reach their deserved audience.

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Freek Koster (Soulcrusher, NL) 

Freek Koster, senior promoter for Doornroosje Nijmegen. With over 25 years of experience in the music business in various roles, this has led in the last 20 years to the bookings of a wide array of metal and rock artists in Nijmegen which began in 2003 with acts like Behemoth, Bolt Thrower, Mastodon to Slayer, All Them Witches, Gojira, Parkway Drive, Ghost and Jinjer. Also responsible for setting up and creating the successful outdoor metal-rock festival Fortarock and the quality niche indoor festivals Sonic Whip and Soulcrusher.

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André Mendes (Amplifest, PT)

A music lover before being a promoter, a voracious music listener before being a producer, Porto-based André Mendes (1983) has almost two decades of experience in the music industry. He is the founder of Amplificasom, an eclectic musical adventure for adventurous minds started in 2006 that treats its events as Art and not mere products. He has booked and produced hundreds and hundreds of shows, represents some national and international projects/artists throughout the world, and programs and produces the Best Indoor Festival nominee Amplifest. Live shows are his passion, he strives to turn every single show into a memorable experience for everyone involved, he dreams up ways of making shows as alive and fascinating as possible.


Gavin McInally (Damnation, UK)

Gavin McInally is the owner and organizer of Damnation, a festival started in Manchester back in 2005. Over the years he has booked the likes of Devin Townsend, Kreator, Opeth, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Carcass, Electric Wizard, Cannibal Corpse, and Converge as well as Bolt Thrower's only UK festival show and the exclusive collab between Cult of Luna and Julie Christmas, Mariner. Last year the event was moved into the 6,000-capacity BEC Arena and sold out with exclusive European performances of Jane Doe, Prowler In The Yard, and Streetcleaner as well as Slaughter of the Soul. He was a crime reporter and then editor of a daily newspaper for two decades before leaving journalism to take on Damnation full-time. He also has a podcast, Damnation Vs, which tackles the inner workings of the metal music scene; agents, management, festival booking process, etc, that music journalism never covers.


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