He is joking of course, without Eurosonic there would be no EPIC, but new coordinator Marcel Albers does have a point. His conference is becoming more impressive by the year. This third edition will be spread out over three days, situated at a stone's throw from De Oosterpoort conference. Cross the street, then the bridge and three minutes later you'll be in front of the Hampshire Hotel, where EPIC provides you with an abundance of panel discussions, pitches and new applications for concerts, festivals, venues and event production. "Eurosonic Noorderslag is a huge chance for EPIC, because it unites the soft side of the industry with the production side with its many innovations."
As director of marketing and communication for Ampco Flashlight Group, Albers has visited EPIC twice, but this time he coordinates the programme of the sub-conference. "I enjoyed the last editions, but I haven't visited as often as I would have liked because it took place at the other side of the city. Furthermore I think people visit other, more specialised fairs if they just want to know about professional equipment. What people really need, I guess, is a meeting place for professionals and up-and-coming specialists in the field of festival production in the broadest sense. From logistics to energy, noise standards to cashless payments, toilet areas to crowd management, regulations to indispensable innovations. In short: whatever it takes to build a festival village in a few days and for it to operate at the highest international level. EPIC is an excellent opportunity for delegates and the hundreds of festivals attending Eurosonic Noorderslag to meet. And the good thing is that we now have three days of panels and pitches a short walk from De Oosterpoort so you can easily switch between both conferences. That proximity is a big bonus and a necessary one in my opinion."
What else has changed for this third edition?
"Mainly the abolition of the EPIC fair, because that didn't prove to be an essential contribution. We have learned a lot from the first two editions, and we will be complementing with other developments and with the ADE Green initiative at Amsterdam Dance Event. We'll be asking questions like; how do we handle energy, safety, noise pollution, and how do we bring the production of large dance events and traditional rock 'n roll events together? It took some getting used to each other, but the industry is coming together now and that leads to results. Last year there was a lot of talk about greener festivals, and now you see interested parties connecting. And this year we will actually take steps towards creating a collective roadmap. EPIC will progress and give substance to the issues that came to light at ADE Green. You only learn from each other when you are able to talk about the plans, ideas and results a few times per year. There has to be a momentum and that momentum is EPIC.
"Current events play some part too: crowd management has always been an important issue, so that is under a microscope because of the gruesome events in Paris. That puts a strong focus on that part of the industry and then you notice how well developed that area already is. The industry really is taking responsibility in areas of noise pollution, safety, cleaner festivals and so on. Solutions are discussed within the conference with the producers as well as the suppliers and the policy makers. That part is unique. There is a lot going on and in the EPIC research programmes, like Junction North Netherlands for music and Innofest (a collaboration vetween the three northern provinces with the festival Into The Great Wide Open and the Technical University in Delft) are presented to the public."
The conference is already a diverse affair, but does EPIC deserve a separate spot?
"Yes, and it's not just a Dutch party. It's nice to see each other again at the start of the year of course, but it's more important as a benchmark. Not just to see which bands are hot, but also to identify problems for the production side of the industry. It is very interesting to see how knowledge and skills developed by ID&T for example, are being used in talks with the government, who all of a sudden need to construct a village for Syrian refugees. That doesn't differ much from a festival village. In fact at festivals like Lowlands something is set up in just a week that is unprecedented."
"The Netherlands has often taken a technological and innovative lead in production. How many festival directors have come over to see how Lowlands manages logistics, the toilets, the regulations, and the sound pollution? That's what we are known for. How the dance industry is rolling out these enormous events all over the world, that is truly something to be proud of. And it's ok to give that some thought once a year and to see where we stand, how you can improve and consolidate your position."
EPIC is a collaboration between VVEM, Open House, SummerLabb, Yourope, VNPF, GO Group, Green Events Nederland, Buma Music Meets Tech and Eurosonic Noorderslag.
Posted on: 08/12/2015Categories: Industry Event News