Excitement in the Curator Group: The Quality Is Through the Roof!

Daniel Heydorn


797. That’s the number of applications for this year’s SPOT Festival. And out of those, 655 were first time applicants.

It takes time and immersion to listen to that much music, which is why this year, the curator group has been extended – SPOT Festival booker and coordinator for the curator group Esben Marcher explains:

- The curator group is composed of three Danes, two Germans, an Austrian and a Swede. They have been selected to achieve a wide representation of Danish industry people and writers and to get a quality input from the international music industry. It has been important to have people who are knowledgeable about upcoming Danish bands as well as “unbiased” international industry people.As a new initiative, the curator group doesn’t meet. Previously, they assembled the program of debuting acts collectively, but now they give their input individually after listening to the applicants online. Their assessments then form the basis of the program. I think the fact that the curators do not meet up will lead to a more unbiased approach to the applicants. Previously, we sat down together and made a list of those who were going to be part of the line-up, which meant we had to compromise a lot. That won’t happen when people don’t meet each other.

Electronic Tendencies
Last year, then tendency among the applicants was towards electronic music. That is the case this year as well, Esben Marcher explains.
- There are always a lot of singer-songwriters, but the clearest tendency is probably towards the electronic genres. The traditional boundaries between genres are gradually fading and now, people combine many genres at random. It is evident that the computer is now the main tool for everyone. The rock acts have become harder this year – perhaps as a response to the touchy feely indie rock. We need a decent representation of all musical genres.


This year’s selection of curators consists of:

Andreas Gstettner from the Austrian FM4 – (a national broadcasting network which is musically situated somewhere between the Danish P3 and P6 which are similar to BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6):

- Listening through over 600 bands who applied for the Spot festival 2013 sounds like a tiring job. But the good overall quality kept me wanting to experience more of the Scandinavian music. I was really surprised that there are so many good musicians and bands in Denmark alone and every time I searched the internet for more information about an act, I was lead to another good band from Denmark. Despite the overflow of classical singer/songwriter music there are many bands trying to develop their own sound, reaching from more shoegaze-inspired noise to broken beats and indiepop music. The 50 acts I’ve chosen have all something really special about their sound, the voice or the style of music. So I can’t wait to see some of them live at this year’s Spot festival.


nina120Nina Legnehed and Steffi von Kannemann who run the blog Nordic By Nature. Nina is Swedish, Steffi German and they both live in Berlin:
- We think that the quality of the bands is fantastic this year. We tell everyone we meet that 2013 is the year of Danish music. Denmark has a lot of innovation at the moment, a strong feeling of local community where everyone is collaborating and making music that inspires them, not to be played on the radio. We love bands like CTM, Cancer and Halasan Bazar.



signe120 Signe Palsøe, editor-in-chief at the site Undertoner:
- ”700 applications from debuting SPOT artists. Just start listening.” – After having received those instructions, I started the process of selecting the most promising sounds of the bunch. As it turned out, the skill level among this year’s SPOT applicants is impressive. The more or less experimental or electronic variants of rock music have – perhaps not surprisingly – been dominating, but the range of genres is wide and generally, the quality leaves quite an impression. I’m very excited to see the final program – and not least to see the most interesting new faces take the stages of Aarhus in May.


andersb120Anders Bøtter, radiohost, among others on the metal show Sort Søndag on P6 Beat:
- It is far from unimportant who gets to play at SPOT. There is quite a bit of international attention, so I have been listening closely to see, who would be interesting to include.
I think the process has been great. There have been a lot of applicants, but generally, the quality has been high. The tendency is towards electronic production, which can make it difficult to achieve something unique, since so many are striving towards the same sound. There has also been a lot of progress among the more rock-oriented bands. There have been several with an enormous potential – enough to compete internationally.


TinaTina Krüger from the big, German concert promoter Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion:

- SPOT is a fantastic opportunity to present young bands not only to a national Danish audience and b2b people but also to European delegates such as labels, distributors, press, booking and festivals. Thereby chances are big to hit European stages after having played SPOT festival. Out of these applications the choice that has been made is fantastic: eg. Baby in Vain and Broke for example are astonishing bands and definitely ready to hit danish stages but also professional enough already to be exported to other countries when it comes to their business structures of people surrounding them, their live concert quality and their own focus on doing everything they can on their own.

bertram af Tina Skou120


Bertram Zanjani is a booker at Train, Aarhus:
- The quality has been incredible and it has been extremely exciting to help select the artists who will be playing at SPOT. I was especially impressed and surprised by the Icelandic contributions. Here, the standard was really high. Moreover, I’ve discovered a bunch of new acts. Several of which I can use in my work as a booker at Train.


The curator group also includes:
Simon Christensen, who runs the blog passive/agressive