Music Industry Mores

And so, it is festival season. Summer metal festival season, that is. In Europe. And it’s always a tense, stressful time for me. And occasionally exciting.

The thing is, there are soooo many festivals this time of year. In MaF’s first year of operation I was really keen to get at least the biggest metal festival in the world: Wacken Open Air. With a little help from people locally, and some great people at a major label in Europe, I managed to score accreditation for Goatlady.

The way it worked was we did pre-tour press for Wacken, with one of the festival organisers. This was lined up through multiple publicists and friends of the WOA organising team, and took a while. But it paid off in the end.

Because in 2009, Wacken Open Air stated that they were not going to accredit new online media henceforth. And yet I managed to get my peeps on the ground, less than 6 months after the magazine had been launched.

So, with the history of 2009 intact – and the awesome travel diaries we published at the time – scoring accreditation for 2010 was a little bit easier. And I’ve managed to get photo passes as well!

Also in 2009 we managed to get Bloodstock, through similar means. Although, given Count Gorlock’s whiny reports from the festival, I despaired of ever getting accredited again.

But in 2010, again because of our history in helping to promote the festival, it was easier than I thought. In fact, Adam wrote to me, ‘you’re likely to be approved’. And just this week, we were.

So, with that behind me, I figured this year had to be bigger and better. So, with Wacken and Bloodstock applied for and out of the way, I hit Party.San, Summer Breeze, and Sonisphere Sweden.

Now, let’s be clear. It is a *rare* thing for English-language press to cover Party. San. Let alone an English-language online magazine that is based in Australia. I applied for media for Goatlady, given Party.San is on her Blitzkrieg 2010 tour – as is Summer Breeze – and we anxiously ‘waited for their go’ (as the accreditation form told us to).

Whoops of joy were to be heard from here to Perth and back when we got that accreditation. It will likely be the first time that an Australian magazine has officially covered that festival.

Summer Breeze we haven’t heard back from, despite trying to contact these guys. But you never know. They did mention early August as the deadline for response, so we’ll just keep waiting.

And today, after not covering any of the other Sonisphere festivals, and waiting anxiously for a long time, I heard that Leo scored his media accreditation. Leo moved to Sweden this year from Adelaide, he’s a mate of mine and a super dude, so I was stoked that he was keen to write for me from Scandinavia. And to cover a festival like Sonisphere as his first assignment.

Still in the works are Finnish festivals, Japan’s Loudpark festival, and a new metal festival in the UK.

It’s a damn lot of work trying to organise media for festivals overseas, especially when you’ve never been to them before yourself. (And probably aren’t likely to get there in the near future, but that’s another story.) It’s hard to know the niceties of each festival, and what they expect, unless you’ve done it before. And it’s always difficult to know whether you should hassle them, or what type of coverage they expect.

And it’s hard trying to organise photographers and writers by email, when you know that they are already busy, or that they might have to buy tickets themselves in order to gain that accreditation. Make no mistake, it’s not a freebie. It’s glorious, but Euro festival media access ain’t free.

Advertising helps, pre-festival media helps. Post-festival coverage is possible without accreditation, but just you try getting good photos without media pass!

Festival accreditations for the US are run differently to those in Europe and the UK. For Japan I’m going to have to phone the festival organisers and try my luck. And in Australia, you don’t apply formally, but you are expected to run far more for free than peeps overseas would ever expect, before promoters will even consider your request.  Then again, if we had festivals of even half the size of something like Wacken or Bloodstock, maybe things would change.

So now, what’s next on the list? Organising interviews for Goatlady at Wacken. Stay tuned for how we manage to get through this next stage of organisation, right at the last minute.

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