– For many years much has been said about the high quality of music coming from Sweden and the success the country has had in giving birth to bands, many of which have become famous with thriving international careers. But today many small live stages are disappearing, which is becoming an increasing problem for the many new and young bands.
These words are coming from Gillis Bengtsson, who is one of many representatives from the Swedish music business, who are seriously worried about the future of the live music scene in Sweden. A new generation of bands and artists have to grow up in these years to secure the next generation of rock music. Negative political-economic disposals are one of the main reasons why more and more unsigned and non established bands have to share fewer and fewer stages all over the country.
A special festival
Now a group of music people from the Hultsfred festival have taken the initiative to do something about the situation and bring focus on the issue. The music organization, Rockparty, has set up a very special musical event, Rookie, which will take place on 2nd and 3rd November at RockCity in the Metropol House in Hultsfred. It will be a special festival with nearly 30 performing bands on four different stages at night and with a theoretical part in the daytime – several seminars with different content related to the music business will be held, which will give non established musicians, artists, bands and DJ’s the opportunity not only to meet eachother and experienced people from the music business, but also to learn important things about how to navigate in the professional music life today.
So far the festival has well known acts on the bill such as Swedish punk rockers Sahara Hotnights, the local hiphop kings, The Latin Kings, the hard rock group Entombed, the singers Magnus Carlson and Peter Dolving, the hip-hop band Fattaru and the punk band Randy.
– The most important issue, that we want to address and do something about with Rookie, is the fact that more and more live stages are disappearing in Sweden. Rock clubs are turning into discotheques with DJ stages meaning that it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a young and unsigned band with dreams of getting discovered by record companies and booking agencies, says Gillis Bengtsson.
Declined economic support
In response to the question about the negative trend in Sweden nowadays, Gillis Bengtsson, makes it clear that it is not because the interest for live rock is diminishing.
– The problem is a declined level of economic support from the Government. The contributions are getting smaller and smaller meaning that the rock music organizers no longer have the funds necessary and therefore are disappearing. However opera and other forms of culture are still getting the money needed to exist properly, it is as if rock music is less worthy, and therefore gets less money.
Could you say, that a musical event like Rookie is necessary in order to ensure a new generation of rock musicians?
– Yes you can, the bands have to find the stages, they need to play live in front of an audience in order to develop. During the two days at Rookie they can meet established musicians, who can share experiences and tell them how their career was before they became established.
Gillis Bengtsson and the rest of the people behind Rookie hope that they can equip a large group of upcoming young musicians with important knowledge about how the music business functions in the new century, but they also hope to send some clear signals to the politicians, who have access to the money.
From one to several Rookies
But is it possible to put pressure on the responsible politicians with an event like Rookie?
– Yes, I think so. By making a special festival like Rookie we draw the attention of the authorities and the municipalities to the fact that more live stages are needed because there are so many good bands who have to meet an audience. For many years much has been said about the high quality of music coming from Sweden and the success the country has had in giving birth to bands, many of which have become famous. If we want to continue in that direction, it is important that the smaller stages do not disappear, says Gillis Bengtsson.
When Rookie opens on the 2nd November in Hultsfred, it will be the start of a process which will develop from year to year. Gillis Bengtsson says that the goal is that the Rookie event next month will be the beginning of many similar events around Sweden, so that four or five festivals could take place around the country in the near future and that the idea behind Rookie will maybe find its way to neighbour countries like Denmark.
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