Indie in focus at Berlin Music Week | Music | DW | 06.09.2013
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Indie in focus at Berlin Music Week

60,000 to 70,000 guests are expected at this year's Berlin Music Week. Organizers say it's about cementing the city's reputation as a music metropolis, but fans are more likely to be dazzled by the concert lineup.

Described as a platform for engagement, passion, synergy, communication and diversity - Berlin Music Week's organizers see the event as much more than a concert series. From September 4 to 8, the German capital's music trade fair opens its doors again to international industry reps and thousands of fans.

The goal, according to those running the show, is to highlight Berlin's status as an international music hotspot and push it toward becoming the world capital of music.

A stage shot from a concert at Berlin Music Week (c)

Live music is central to the event, but so are panels, workshops and conferences

Tech and music collide

A series of events clustered under the title WORD! will draw around 2,500 specialists and music insiders to Berlin's multi-purpose venue Postbahnhof in the Friedrichshain district. WORD! is the successor event to the trade fair popkomm, which took place for the final time in 2011 as part of Berlin Music Week. This year the conference program focuses on technology and music .

Postbahnhof is playing host to two days of workshops and panels intended to generate ways to hone the city's musical dynamism and diversity in sustainable ways. With the German capital out to cement its reputation as an international music capital, those behind Berlin Music Week believe the event could play a key role along the way. In their view, more needs to be done to bring together the passion and creativity found in the many individual nodes of Berlin's music and tech scenes. Only by doing so, says event spokesman Tommy Nick, can fresh trends emerge on a global scale.

Audience members at a show as part of Berlin Music Week (c)

With around 100 bands to choose from, fans are sure to find something to their liking

New faces

New in the conference program this year are the German Association of Independent Record Companies' Indie Days - a series of workshops and panels culminating in six awards for German indie artists.

As a counterbalance to the heavyweights of Berlin's music industry, the association of independent music proprietors will use the programs to put the focus on small and mid-size labels. The goal is to establish Indie Days as an annual fixture in Berlin's music scene.

Nearly 100 bands

A further newcomer to Berlin's music trade fair is dubbed First We Take Berlin, a play on the name of Leonard Cohen's classic tune, "First We Take Manhattan." Why? Spokesman Tommy Nick explains that the message behind the name is: if you can make it in Berlin, the world is your oyster. Of course, whether New Yorkers would be ready to hand a slogan like that over to the German capital is another question entirely.

Tempelhof Airport Photo: Marc Tirl/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++ pixel

The Tempelhof airport grounds serve as venue for the closing concert

First We Take Berlin will present a host of fresh acts as well as national and international stars in ten clubs in the neighborhoods of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, legendary for their abundance of clubs and bars. Similar to the Netherlands' Eurosonic Festival, thus far Europe's biggest newcomer showcase, the audience will be packed not just with curious music fans but also concert promoters and organizers looking for interesting acts for their stages.

As in years past, the Berlin Festival, founded in 2005, caps off the Berlin Music Week with a bang. Held at the former Tempelhof airport hangar on September 6 and 7, around 20,000 music lovers will make their way to the event.

The headliners are names that may ring a bell: Iceland's number one export Björk along with British pop legends Blur and the Pet Shop Boys.

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