Submitted by Peter Astedt
If you are into Hip hop, R&B, Soul or the Urban scene in general, you have to be on New Skool Rules in Rotterdam, this is the epicenter in Europe for these genres or the world at least in the showcase things.
I have been on New Skool Rules for the past five live editions and also on digital versions during the Pandemic. Over the year I can just see how the festival has been growing and growing, and this year was the biggest and best, but also with a huge potential to grow even more in the future.
This year was also a hybrid year, the festival was live in the center of Rotterdam as well as most of it was also streamed and broadcast online. The urban scene though has different needs than many other genres and this makes New Skool Rules to be a showcase festival with special rules.
First, they do not use that many showcase places, this year it was around five, and they were very close to each other, in most cases, the next room, not further than that. On the other hand, they use these gig places a lot. Every act only has around ten minutes to perform but performs several times. The setup is very basic, and the main part of the acts were using backtracks. This makes it possible to use the smallest of rooms to perform.
New Skool Rules are booked excellent panels as well. They have shaped these very specifically to fit into the needs of the artists and the community that is attending the festival. Here you have producers’ panels to demo listening to talks about the future and new technology. And it can be up to three panels happening at the same time as well as a showcase as well as another happening. It’s interesting but it takes a bit to get used to that things are happening at all times at all places. If you try to catch it all you will fail. Instead, go for the thing that really interests you for the moment and just follow the flow and you get an amazing experience.
This year the festival had also changed areas, so everything was kind of new. I really liked the new setting in the culture that they used. The good premise to grab people and talk to people. Also, a great area to hang out outside to have personal meetings.
What amazes me is how the New Skool Rules team manages to get the highest number of people from the urban scene to show up. Here you find speakers from the music industry that you could never reach in any other place. If you are in for a career with urban music New Skool Rules presents who is who and what is what in the whole world at the festival. If you think you are in the urban scene but not been to New Skool Rules, you have not been in the urban scene.