Danish music festivals gearing up for a fight

The Local Denmark
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Danish music festivals gearing up for a fight
Roskilde Festival and three others are refusing to use the booking companies behind the coming Tinderbox festival. Photo: Bobby Anwar

Four major festivals have joined together to blacklist the groups behind the newest entry on the festival scene.


We’re still eight to nine months from the summer music festival season, but competition is already fierce amongst Denmark’s largest players. 
The establishment of the new Odense-based festival Tinderbox has the country’s other major festivals bracing for a fight. 
Roskilde Festival, Smukfest, Jelling Musikfestival and Nibe Festival have joined forces to blacklist the booking companies behind Tinderbox, multiple media sites reported on Wednesday. 
The Danish booking firms Beatbox and Skandinavian, along with German company Scorpio are behind Tinderbox, while Skandinavian and Scorpio also work together on the Aarhus-based NorthSide Festival. 
The four other festivals are encouraging their partners to stop working with the booking agencies, arguing that the Tinderbox team has an unfair double role as both booking agents and festival organisers.
“It is totally unacceptable that they, through their booking negotiations, can have decisive influence on which artists we can get for our programme,” the four festivals wrote in a joint message to partners that was obtained by BT. 
Roskilde Festival’s music director Anders Wahren told Politiken that the move has been under consideration for awhile. 
“We have kept an eye on industry developments and we can see that people from Skandinavian, Beatbox and Scorpio have aligned themselves with several festivals and booking agencies. These are agencies that we have previously also dealt with. This is inappropriate because when we negotiate we lay cards on the table that we wouldn’t normally show our competitors,” Wahren said. 
Smukfest spokesperson Claus Visbye also criticised the “dual role”. 
“The companies have put themselves in a dual role in which they both arrange festivals and at the same time negotiate contracts on heal of their musicians,” Visbye told Berlingske Nyhedsbureau. 
According to BT, two other Danish music festivals are considering joining the call to avoid the booking agencies. Industry insiders say that the blacklisting could result in fewer Danish artists performing on the summer festival circuit, as so many of them are represented by the Beatbox and Skandinavian. 
The Roskilde, Smukfest, Jelling and Nibe festivals say however that they will try to book the artists directly. 
The summer music festival season is big business in Denmark and the Tinderbox festival will squeeze itself in to a crowded field when it holds it inaugural festival in June, just one week before Roskilde Festival. 
The Roskilde Festival, the largest of Danish festivals at around 130,000 people, will already begin ticket sales on Tuesday, nine months before the 2015 event gets underway. It also tried to steal a bit of Tinderbox's thunder by announcing a significant change to its schedule on the same day that the Odense festival held its introductory press conference



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