Forum 2019 bringing together 200 music festival makers from Catalonia in Barcelona

28 November 2019

Kathrin Deventer was invited to give the opening address at the 2019 Forum organized by the Catalan Academy of Music in Barcelona on 27 November 2019.

The Forum, curated by Montse Faura | General Manager and artistic director of the Torroella de Montgrí Music Festival had the theme "Festivals. Looks from the XXI century".

In her opening address Kathrin Deventer proposed to speak on three topics: the singularity, the experiences on audience engagement and the international branding of the festivals.

Arts festivals are unique: in their artistic choices, their context, in their needs, purpose, relevance and opportunities. They need to position themselves amongst the others; they compete for the premiers, for same money, the same audiences. True, the arts do not bear consensus. An artist does not need to strive for a consensus. But the arts should lead to a consensus, or to dialogue, to thinking and reflection; and so do festivals: The singularity of each of these festival beasts exists also because of the collectiveness, for sure in the context of our new global community, or because of a certain faith that goes beyond one’s own merits.

 An umbrella organization fulfills a mandate of dialogue in this globalizing world. A sector that is so unique and that shares a myriad of concerns on the level of intellectual, artistic, material and organizational matters deserves a strong umbrella organization that supports local initiatives and gives arts festivals a unified voice. 

The Forum 2019 bringing together 200 music festival makers from Catalonia in Barcelona was organized by the Catalan Academy of Music, a non-profit Organization mainly sustained by the Catalan Government, that has as its main objective to bring together the different professional and non-professional entities that are related to the music sector, from those who work in the field of the music teaching to those developing their activity in professional areas of production, performing and distribution linked to the Catalan music industry.

 On the 27 November 2019 round 200 music festival makers got together to discuss festival life of the 21st century. In a series of debates, we threw light on various experiences and solutions on:

1. The singularity of a festival;

2. Audience development, inclusion and diversity;

3. International Festivals: quality and innovation;

4. Gender issues.

We also heard about the need of more impact studies for internal evaluation and for external defense of why festivals exist.

 The day of debate was organised by the Academia Catalana de la Musica for the third time. It showed an immense diversity of festivals that shared common concerns and are eager to learn from each other.

 The European Festivals Association was happy to invite festivals to join its Festival Academy’s programmes, as well as to share the rich experience of Catalan music festivals with more colleagues.

 You can find report, pictures and contacts on