March 5, 2021

Urges regulation for Spanish festivals | Blog North American Route and beyond

Urges regulation for Spanish festivals | Blog North American Route and beyond



Spain is a country of festivals, but needs immediate regulation. It does not escape anyone that, in a more or less defined way, musical tourism already exists, a relatively new phenomenon that is directly related to the growth of festivals in recent years in our country. It directly affects cities because of their economic and social impact. However, at the end of 2018, this sector suffers from its own legislation and has significant gaps that threaten to deteriorate its good health.

These events are one of the pillars that support live music data in our country. According to the latest SGAE yearbook, live popular music raised 329 million euros in 2017, the highest figure since they began recording in 1998 and the festivals are largely to blame. Since 2010, the increase in live music has been 56% thanks to Primavera Sound, Mad Cool, BBK, FIB, Sónar, Sonorama, Arenal Sound and other contests. So much so that there is an illustrative fact in the figures of the SGAE: about 70 macrofestivales of 2017 in Spain collected more (about 173 million) than all 87,000 concerts held together in our country (155 million).

It is not a matter to be taken lightly, nor left to incompetent hands. For now, we should define what a festival really is and what kind of regulation it should have. The Association of Musical Promoters (APM) recognizes that there are no official figures of the exact number of festivals. Some speak of more than 1,000, others reduce it to half, but, meanwhile, anything goes. From a smaller scale of the event, everything is diluted. Any appointment with more than one pair of artists or group can go through a festival, generating a fictitious reality. Any competent industry can not allow fictitious realities because the mismanaged initiatives fall more easily, which end up being canceled or committing fatal errors. Therefore, it is necessary to know what the real map of Spanish festivals is.

From there, you also need your own regulation. A report from Music Unionscalled FestiLeaks, denounces "the painful situation that currently occurs in most festivals." Thanks to the collaboration of many workers – most of them anonymously for fear of losing their jobs or because they operate confidentiality clauses – the report harshly criticizes "the secrecy" of these musical events, which have no problem in providing data of collection and attendance of the public -infinite inflated-. "There is a mystery of the labor agreement that applies. They do not want to provide the information, "says David Aristegui, spokesperson for CNT in Graphic Arts, Communication and Shows.

FestiLeaks notes that music festivals should apply the State Collective Agreement for Staff Party Rooms, Dance and Clubs, as they lack specific agreement. "The Convention of Dance Halls is the only state agreement that can be applied to festivals, since it contemplates outdoor shows, but analyzing their categories it is evident that an agreement is necessary where all the tasks of publicity, assembly , transport and production that take place in any festival, and that obviously are not in an agreement designed for shows in a certain type of rooms, "says the report, which indicates that only three festivals are transparent with their working conditions: Primavera Sound, Festival del Noroeste and BAM (Barcelona Acció Musical).

The first two are publicly owned festivals. But there are many in Spain that are also, either because they are owned by municipalities, are supported by them or are subsidized. And that is another of the major problems of the sector: public institutions encourage lack of transparency, but also job insecurity and lack of security. "Administrations turn a blind eye and most festivals wash their hands," adds Javi Muñoz, a sound technician who has worked at several festivals this year. Muñoz says that "there is a lot of unconsciousness" in the labor contracting of the workers that are part of the skeleton of a festival. Most competitions give this job to subcontractors that end up cheapening both the costs that endanger the worker. "We worked at the pace of five years ago, but with worse conditions and less money. Sometimes, there are days of 24 hours during the days that the festival lasts. It is not going the pot, "says Muñoz. "Institutions are the ones that have to set an example. All those who collaborate to set up their festival in their city, "says Aristegui. "We are not talking about imposing anything but to apply appropriate regulations in each case. But there is no political will to change things and protect workers, "he adds.

At the end of the month, Bilbao will once again become the epicenter of the promoters of Spanish festivals. There the BIME is celebrated one more year. More than 170 promoters have confirmed their attendance at the largest European meeting dedicated to professionals in the music sector. This year they will debate on the musical tourism, the phenomenon that, according to the organization, "full of life the streets of the cities, not only contributing money to the municipal coffers, but also contributing to generate a climate of creative activity and a plus of value cultural".

It would be good to put this problem on the work and debate tables. The Spanish musical promoters have shown an outstanding professionalization to create first class festivals with attractive and competitive posters and a variety of leisure offers. Now, they have to show that they really care about professionalizing the music sector in relation to festivals. Because regulation is urgent. Everyone will win.

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