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Spinnup’s European Festival Applications Guide 2020

A new decade, a new season of festivals and an array of opportunities to get discovered. 2020 could be the year you get a lucky break in your music career – but not without our advice and support of course.

 

We all want to boost your chances of discovery as much as possible – and what better way than to play a festival. How do festivals promote you as an artist? Because they allow you to reach a wider fanbase than just gigging as not only will you be playing to your existing fans, but festival goers that may catch you on a whim, and then you become their next favourite thing.

 

But, how do you apply for festival slots? Below, we’ve put together a hefty list (over 30!) of some fantastic European Festival opportunities and how to apply to them. All of these festivals have stages that welcome independent artists, or some kind of newcomer competition or initiative you can enter.

 

But before we dive in, let’s go over some important points to consider before both applying, and playing at festivals if you score that lucky slot.

 

Pay attention to all the details.

 

It’s important that you read all of the instructions in detail for every application. Each one will be slightly different from another. Some will require you to fill out a form, while others will ask you to send an email. If you’re a bit stuck on pitching through email, then read out handy guide on pitching here.

 

Have all of your assets ready AND up-to-date!

 

Applications may require you to submit a number of things from your artist bio (a shorter version showcasing your best achievements to date), links to your website (you could use your Spinnup Artist Site for this) and social media accounts, streamable links to your music and your EPK. Make sure they are as updated as possible so that you’re taken seriously.

 

Think about practical logistics.

 

Mundane, but must be done. For any festival, like any gigs, you need to think about the practicalities of things such as getting there, accommodation and transportation of equipment. If you are going to play overseas (which is of course both an amazing experience and opportunity), you will need to think about how you are going to travel there and whether you’re happy to break even, or even have a loss of profit. Are you going to need travel insurance? Will you need to borrow instruments and equipment at the festival? You’ll need to consider all of these things.

 

Check your calendar

 

Make sure you’re actually available to play on the dates of festivals you’re going to apply to. Additionally, if you’ve applied to a couple of festivals that fall on the same weekend, then don’t accidentally double book yourself!

 

Does your music fit the bill?

 

Apply to as many festivals as you like, but we strongly advise you apply to the festivals that you suit the most. It would be a waste of time and effort to apply to a festival where you don’t suit the bill.

 

Gig and rehearse loads beforehand

 

Playing a festival is your opportunity to show a potentially large audience what you’re about, so make the most of it. Put together a rehearsal schedule to make sure your performance is as tight as possible.

 

Good luck,

Spinnup Team.

 


 

MARCH

 

Impulse Festival – Rijeka, Croatia (30th March – 5th April)

• Impulse Festival is a boutique festival that aims to promote good music and urban culture. Taking place across various city locations, Impulse seeks to open up new, different views of the music and club culture through various art forms, in the spirit of the slogan “music is everywhere”.

Apply via gigmit here by 19th January.

 

APRIL

 

 Le Printemps de Bourges – Bourges, France (21st – 26th April)

• Le Printemps de Bourges is held in Bourges, France and has become a major event in the French calendar. The festival focuses on the discovery of new talent, and for the past few years has hosted several Spinnup stages with Spinnup artists such as Polycool and Frauds.

Make sure you keep an eye out on the Spinnup France site for more details on this year’s competition.

 

c/o pop Festival – Ehrenfeld, Cologne, Germany (22nd – 26th April)

• c/o pop Festival is held in multiple locations across Cologne, Germany. It focuses on the discovery of young rising talent and artists both local and international. The festival centres around contemporary pop culture. Its lineup consists of various genres from indie to urban with Foals as this year’s headliners. Alongside the festival, c/o pop Convention will take place (23rd – 25th April), where industry professionals share their ideas on current developments of the music industry with plenty of opportunities to network.

Apply asap by emailing booking@c-o-pop.de

 

Are You Listening? – Reading, UK (25th April)

• Critically acclaimed and award-winning festival, Are You Listening? takes place in various venues across Reading. The festival and strives to support the local music scene and raises money for charity Mencap, which supports people with Learning Disabilities. Artrocker Magazine has described the festival as a “a must-attend for all discerning festival goers”.

Apply asap by emailing info@heavypop.co.uk with a streaming link to your music and a paragraph of background info.

 

 

MAY

 

Sound City – Liverpool, UK (1st – 3rd May 2020)

• Sound City is the UK’s leading independent festival and conference for new music. Based across the streets of the Baltic Triangle (the creative and cultural epicentre of Liverpool), the festival captures the vibrancy and buzz of the city and its famous musical heritage. Established names perform alongside emerging talent at the festival, whilst with its workshops and collaborative opportunities, the internationally renowned music conference, Sound City+ is a must for anybody looking to have a career in the music industry.

Apply via gigmit here by 17th Jan.

 

Live at Leeds – Leeds, UK (2nd May)

• Live at Leeds is an award-winning metropolitan festival that takes place across various venues in Leeds over the May Day bank holiday weekend. Its aim is to showcase the best new music and up-and-coming talent alongside established artists from around the world. This year the lineup features Spinnup alumni Devon, who was recently signed to Universal!

Apply here asap.

 

The Great Escape – Brighton, UK (13th – 16th May)

• The Great Escape takes place in UK music hub Brighton. It showcases new music from all over the world across 30+ venues and at a pop-up site on the beach. According to The Times, “The Great Escape has established itself as the best place in Europe to discover new bands.” It is the first place fans discover their new favourite artists and see them in an intimate setting before they go onto headline major festival stages! The Great Escape is also attended by industry people who are on the hunt for the next big thing. So, this festival is a MUST for new bands and artists alike.

Apply here by 11th Feb

 

Nuits Sonores – Lyon, France (19th – 24th May)

• Nuits Sonores is an electronic festival based in Lyon, France. It aims to seek out the artists of tomorrow and bring together a varied audience, unrestrained by generation, social class or geographical barriers. Taking place across over 40 locations, Nuites Sonores transforms Lyon into a “unique urban space of freedom, togetherness and sharing.” It features cutting edge independent, electronic and digital contemporary culture and fresh programming with key values of openness and diversity.

Applications aren’t open yet so check back in on the site soon.

 

JUNE

 

Sweden Rock – Norje, Sweden (3rd – 6th June)

• Sweden Rock Festival takes place outside the town of Sölvesborg in Blekinge in southern Sweden. The festival offers the best possible mix of classic rock, hard rock, metal, blues and related genres. Despite being a rock festival, it’s a family-friendly event with a cozy and calm atmosphere. It prides itself on its attention to festival experience, comfort and excellent service. Furthermore, it has been described as “probably the best outdoor festival in the world” by Geoff Barton of Classic Rock Magazine. Over the years, the lineup has included bands such as Blue Öyster Cult, Black Sabbath, and Guns n Roses.

Apply here asap.

 

We Love Green – Paris, France (6th – 7th June)

• We Love Green takes place across several stages in the Parisian woods. At the heart of this festival lies today’s environmental issues and with the aim to raise awareness of these certain issues and change people’s habits. For example, their website allows you to plant a tree to compensate your carbon footprint coming to the festival. The festival has a great mix of indie and electro music and with this year’s bill featuring Lana Del Rey, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Four Tet.

Applications aren’t open yet check back in on the site soon.

 

Eden Festival – Scotland, UK (11th – 14th June)

• Eden Festival is held in Raehills Meadows near Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway. It is another festival with a sustainable and environmentally conscious approach. It’s a truly energetic, vibrant and independent boutique festival showcasing new music and aims to involve young people with a collective community spirit. Eden Festival showcases acts both big and unsigned across different genres.

Apply here asap.

 

Sea Sessions – Bundoran Donegal, Ireland (19th – 21st June)

• Sea Sessions is Ireland’s biggest surf and music festival. It takes place right on the beach in Bundoran, the capital of Irish Surfing. As well as surfing and music, it brings together skateboarding, BMX, graffiti and loads more. It has been described as “one of Ireland’s most eclectic, unique, enjoyable and multi-faceted festivals” by the Irish Independent. Acts this year include Sigrid, Eats Everything and Inhaler.

Apply asap by emailing bands@seasessions.com

 

Glastonbury – Glastonbury, UK (24th – 28th June)

• Award-winning Glastonbury Festival is the biggest green-field music festival in the world and a major event in British Culture. Around 200,000 people attend each day of this five-day festival. This year marks Glastonbury’s 50th Anniversary with a bill including Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Diana Ross. Tickets have already sold out for this year’s event (in a little over 30 minutes!)

Check back in on the site soon for emerging talent competition.

 

Couleur Cafe – Brussels, Belgium (26th – 28th June)

• Couleur Cafe is a three-day urban world music festival in Brussels, Belgium with a social and environmental initiative. Its programming includes over 60 concerts and DJ-sets with genres including hip hop, soul, funk, world, reggae, dub electronic music and Latin. This year’s lineup includes Shaggy and Youssou N’Dour.

Apply asap by emailing festival@couleurcafe.org

 

Isle of Wight Festival – Isle Of Wight, UK (11th – 14th June)

• World-famous Isle of Wight Festival takes place in Newport at a beautiful location near the sea. The festival is another major event in the UK summer calendar and great for real music lovers of all ages. Dating back to 1968, the festival has seen iconic legendary acts such as David Bowie and Bob Dylan as well as up-and-coming artists. This year’s lineup includes Lewis Capaldi, Duran Duran and Lionel Richie.

Apply for Isle of Wight Festival’s New Blood Competition here asap.

 

Music in the Park, Montreux Jazz Festival – Montreux, Switzerland (3rd – 18th July)

• Music in the park is located in Parc Vernex next to Auditorium Stravinski at Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. It hosts over 70 free concerts by Swiss and international artists as well as big bands. It welcomes all styles of music, especially new artists but needs to be accessible to a wide audience.

Apply here by 15th Feb.

 

JULY

 

Les Francofolies de La Rochelle – La Rochelle, France (10th – 14th July)

• Les Francofolies de La Rochelle offers five days of musical celebration held in the picturesque surrounds of the city’s historic port. The festival is committed to showcasing the finest French (and Francophone) music from a wide range of genres, established artists, up-and-coming and young and old. The festival prides itself on diversity and inclusivity, so expect to see all sorts of music fans of all ages and backgrounds at the festival. (Also, Spinnup is currently working on a partnership with this festival!)

Applications aren’t open yet so check back in on the site soon.

 

Nass Festival – Bristol, UK (9th – 12th July)

• Nass Festival takes place across four days at the Bath and West Showground near Bristol. As well as showcasing music from the world of drum and bass, hip-hop and more, Nass’ main features are its skate, BMX, Inline and FMX competitions. This year’s lineup includes Chase and Status, The Streets and Mahalia.

Apply here asap.

 

Les Vieilles Charrues – Brittany, France (16th – 19th July)

• Les Vieilles Charrues is the largest music festival in France and takes place in a natural amphitheatre in Carhaix, Les Vieilles in Brittany. Its multi-genre bill appeals to all generations and styles.

Applications aren’t open yet so check back in on the site soon.

 

Lollapallooza – Paris, France (18th – 19th July)

• With 2020 being its fourth year, Lollapallooza in Paris is the newest member of the iconic festival brand that takes place around the world. It is a huge international multi-genre festival with both modern and veteran acts that’ll please all kinds of music fans. This year’s lineup features superstars Billie Eilish, Pearl Jam and Rita Ora.

Applications aren’t open yet so check back in on the site soon.

 

Nozstock the Hidden Valley – Bromyard, UK (23rd – 26th July)

• Nozstock the Hidden Valley takes place in the rural countryside of Herefordshire. It was founded by a fun-loving family and their friends and since has become an established family event that caters to all ages. It boasts 11 stages of entertainment and the arts and believes in the value of audience participation and contribution, inviting conversation and interaction.

Apply here by 31st March.

 

AUG

 

Boardmasters – Newquay, Cornwall, UK (5th – 9th August)

• Boardmasters Festival is a jam-packed weekend of live music and surf/skate competitions the Cornish coast. The festival site is situated at Watergate Bay with stunning views and sunsets where you can watch acts both big and small. At the same time, catch pro surf, skate and BMX competitions on Fistral Beach in the town of Newquay!

Applications aren’t open yet so check back in on the site soon.

 

Green Man – Wales, UK (20th – 23rd August)

• Green Man is an independent music and arts festival set in the Brecon Beacons, Wales with the Black Mountains as an impressive backdrop. The festival has a fantastic lineup of genres such as psychedelia, Americana and Folk. As well as music you can experience comedy, science, literature, yoga and much more!

Check back soon for this year’s Green Man Rising opening.

 

Rock En Seine – Paris, France (21st – 23rd August)

• Rock en Seine takes place in Château de Saint-Cloud’s park, West of Paris. It is one of the largest festivals in France, and among the most important music events in Europe. The festival welcomes pop and rock bands, big and new and has hosted acts such as The Cure, Royal Blood and Jorja Smith.

Applications aren’t open yet so check back in on the site soon.

 

SEPT

 

End Of The Road – Larmer Tree Gardens, UK (3rd – 6th Sept)

• End of the Road is an independent festival situated on the border of North Dorset and Wiltshire. It won NME’s ‘Best Small Festival’ a few years running and has hosted artists such as St Vincent, Mac Demarco and Courtney Barnett. End Of The Road doesn’t focus on one particular genre, but values good songwriting and is serious about music. (Also, as it takes place in Larmer Tree Gardens, don’t be surprised if you see any macaws or peacocks wondering about!)

Apply to play here by 9th February.

 

Waves Vienna – Vienna, Austria  (10th – 12th Sept)

• Waves Vienna Music Festival & Conference is a showcase festival where international alternative electronic, rock and club acts perform around Vienna’s 9th district. The festival’s programme includes local and also Eastern European musicians with a motto of “East Meets West”.

Apply via gigmit here by 15th June.

 

La Fête de l’Humanité – La Courneuve, France (12th – 14th Sept)

• This big alternative festival dates all the way back to 1930 where it was originally started to raise funds for its organisers the French daily newspaper L’Humanité, and continues to do so today. Taking place in La Courneuve near Paris, its stages have been graced by legends such as Stevie Wonder, The Who, Pink Floyd and Chuck Berry. The festival is considered as the start of the left-wing’s ‘political year’ in September as communists, social-democrats, anarchists and more attend to celebrate and forget their disagreements for a weekend.

Applications aren’t open yet so check back in on the site soon.

 

Reeperbahn – Hamburg, Germany (16th – 19th Sept)

• Reeperbahn Festival takes place in the famous Reeperbahn District in Hamburg and is the largest club festival in Germany with 1100 programmes in over 100 venues. It’s programming features not only music but arts, film and a conference. The festival adopts a spirit of ‘togetherness’ with a zero tolerance for racism, sexism or homophobia.

We’ve been lucky enough to hose a Spinnup Stage the last two years of the festival where select German Spinnup artists are invited to play.

Apply here by 17th July.

 

OCT

 

MaMA Festival and Convention – Paris, France (14th – 16th Oct)

• MaMa Festival and Convention takes place in Paris and is the largest gathering in the French music industry. This is a really interesting festival for networking opportunities and welcomes French and international, independent and major labels, producers, managers, publishers, start-ups and more. We’ve also got a stage at this festival!

Applications aren’t open yet so check back in on the site soon.

 

Amsterdam Dance Event – Amsterdam, NL (21st – 25th Oct)

• Amsterdam Dance Event the largest club festival and conference in the world for electronic sub-genres. The festival has over 2,500 artists from pioneers to new talent performing across 140 venues from clubs to concert halls and even museums.

Keep an eye out on their website for the showcase application form coming soon.

 

Pitchfork Festival – Paris, France (5th – 7th Nov)

• Pitchfork Festival, Paris is a branch of the Pitchfork music festival in Chicago, organised by Pitchfork media. It takes place at Grande Halle de la Villette and focuses primarily on independent artists. Its lineup has included artists and bands such as Skepta, Kaytranada, M83 and Caribou.

Applications aren’t open yet so check back in on the site soon.

 

DEC

 

Bars en Trans – Rennes, France (4th – 7th December)

• Bars en Trans takes place in Rennes, and is known for discovering new emerging artists. It’s programming is eclectic and sophisticated, and for the past two years has had Spinnup artists playing its stages.

Applications aren’t open yet so check back in on the site soon.