Submitted by Peter Astedt
Tallinn Music Week is famous for always trying to be at the forefront as a showcase festival and the 2022 edition was no exception. A lot of things have changed since I last was live on Tallinn Music Week in 2018. The conference part in The Nordic hotel as a hub in the whole conference is maybe just what has not changed. The clubs that were in the old city have been changed for the developing industrial area down in the harbor. The old clubs were used, but in the setup this year you also stayed in the new area. The new area is great since all gig places are right next to each other, with that you can as pro delegate and cover a lot of artists in one night. The bad part is that it is an industrial area with no street names, so it took me a whole evening to figure out where everything was located. Several of the places were well hidden like one that was on the fourth floor in a building with no signs in front that it was there. After a day you were in the game, and you could bounce around and cover a lot of ground.
Since it was a new area, many stages were built for the event, so the flow wasn’t there as it is in a real club. It also has other surprises like you had to change from shoes to slippers for one gig place, it worked but was a bit of hassle at the same time added on a special feeling. With that said the area has such potential and is developing into a great culture area so I saw it with very promising eyes.
The second and really big change was that Tallinn Music Week happened in two cities, both Tallinn and Narva. So on the third day of the festival, it moved to Narva. The distance between Tallinn and Narva is around two and a half hours on train or bus so it’s not an easy move. Also, Narva is on the border (the city is cut in two by the river that is the border) so with Russia and what is happening right now in Ukraine some people were not comfortable going that close to the war action.
Narva was a great experience for those who went. I had nice pre-booked speed meetings on the train to Narva and also saw a fantastic performance of the local choir in a Church. If the gig places were close to each other in Tallinn, then in comparison Narva was very spread out. It was quite a bit of distance between them. On the other hand, they were spectacular. A gig placed outdoor on an island in the river on the border to Russia in an abandoned factory with exhibitions and stages really blew me away. Finally, back to a live outdoor festival after two years of absence!
Tallinn Music Week is one of the better midsize showcase festivals. The areas and the conference are so small that you will meet everyone. With that, it is easy to do business and you are sure to be able to meet the people you want to meet. The conference part is very edgy. They want to have panels on topics that many don’t have. In some cases, though it can be too narrow that the audience doesn’t really care, it is too far from what they really work with, especially for artists or newcomers in the music industry.
The focus this year was on a lot of professionals from the Eastern Europe area. If you want to get into the Eastern Europe market, Tallinn Music Week is a must. Maybe a choice or that the festival did go on the same dates as Focus Wales and Spot in Denmark. Two other midsize festivals that have a lot of industry professionals as well.
Tallinn has already released next year’s dates 10 to 14 of May 2023 which collide with The Great Escape in the UK. It will be interesting to see how Tallin Music Week develops. They are brave to change things and not drive in the same lane the whole time, picking the safe way to go.