The conference centre offered a quiet and nice area for meetings and chats with gorgeous views across the river towards the Oberbaumbrücke.
After an efficient registration system, we were unfortunate to be effected by one or two delays and a cancellation to some of the conference programme, but filled our time easily by enjoying the new Spreespeicher location. Despite the need for some improvement in its use, the venue certainly has the potential to quickly become a genuine hub for the whole event.
On the opposite river bank, the club festival takes over the various venues and concert halls based on each street corner, making Kreuzberg the ideal place for such an event. Despite the fact that there is still a fair distance between the most extreme venues - a 15 minutes walk is already too much if you want to go to all events you have on your list - there does seem to be a street festival spirit being built around the Schlesisches Tor area in particular. If more spaces can be found and incorporated into the music programme here then the club festival could become genuinely vibrant.
Despite the brutal competition within the music programme, The NMO made the decision to take over a venue and organize its own showcase for two of the club festival nights. For the first time, The NMO hosted a live event during an international music festival. Presenting nine artists in 2 days, we booked a strong line-up of national and international artists at Tante Emma - a typically cool example of an authentic Berlin lounge cafe located directly at the festival centre at Schlesisches Tor. Despite the unscheduled decision by the venue manager to knock out the entire front wall of the venue and fit in new wall-to-ceiling windows on the opening day of the festival, the music programme was still able to kick off on time. Dad Rocks! went on stage as planned with a set full of the usual smiles and energy, and the evening was off to a flying start. Estonian violinist, Tiit Kiikas kept the audience enthralled with a beautiful set of looped playing backed by projections shot live during the performance. German, Jonathan Kluth, proved to be a real crowd-pleaser as he climbed off-stage and strode across the audience's tables and chairs without missing a note. The night was wrapped up with the dark, subtle tones of the gorgeous Tiny Ruins, performing as a duet and filling the room with careful quietness. As the correct number of windows were already fully installed, the second night began in slightly less dramatic fashion. Georg auf Lieder was discovered busking in the Berlin streets and took this chance to showcase his powerful vocals and classy guitar picking to an enthusiastic crowd of Berlin music-lovers as well as industry professionals who had taken a shine to this cosy venue and returned to Tante Emma for more, despite a hectic night of events elsewhere, including the Great Escape Meets Haldern Pop Night featuring Ghostpoet; the Nordic By Nature night with Spleen United, I Got You On Tape, LCMDF, Highasakite; and the Paris Connection all nearby. Denmark's Boho Dancer took to the stage next, following up their international debut performance at the Danish Invasion showcase the night before, with a stunning acoustic set which took the breath away of the now full room. Sweet Sweet Moon of Austria was next up with his edgy approach to looped violin and atmospherics dominating the place for the next 30 minutes. A current NMO favourite, Schultz & Forever, gave a splendid version of their songs as a stripped down duo, Jonathan Schultz's voice cutting right through any traffic noise leaking through from the street. The night was closed by local act, Elias, again performing acoustically following a celebratory gig by the whole band at the Universal Radar night the previous evening.
As the stage was broken down, lights flicked on, and the audience filed out into the streets, there was a real feeling that the NMO had succeeded in the aim of presenting a line-up of new, exciting, and diverse artists to a perfectly mixed audience of locals and professionals. The NMO had attracted a lot of attention itself and we are pleased to say that there are even more music business decision-makers who are aware of the good work we are doing for new artists and companies around the world. So, expect to see more NMO shows at conferences and festivals in the coming months. Thank you for your support and to the fantastic artists and managers who appeared at our first event.
Following two exciting days, we headed off to the "headline" event of Berlin Music Week - Berlin Festival. The festival remains in the location at Tempelhof airfield but there have been significant improvements to the lay-out of the site. There is a new, giant main stage and, for once, it felt like the area had been laid out with some care and attention. Having a cracking line-up certainly helped make it an enjoyable experience. For the first time, there was the addition of a Berlin Music Week stage which featured some of the acts that had performed at the previous day's club festival. This provided a great opportunity for acts like Highasakite, Turboweekend, Muso, Toy, and Lay Low to perform between more established acts such as The Killers, Sigur Ros, Franz Ferdinand, and Bonaparte.
Sunday was the final day of the week of music. By now, the NMO was feeling tired and empty so there could have been no better way to spend a warm and sunny afternoon than by heading off to the tape tv rooftop festival. This took place on 3 rooftops by the river with big screens relaying the performances down to street level for a large and enthusiastic audience. Acts such as Two Door Cinema Club and Ghostpoet stole the show and seemed to really enjoy the strange experience of playing high above the crowds.
As the sun went down on the the day as well as the event, it left us with a mellow feeling. We were already missing the previous few days of non-stop action. Great bands, great people, crowds, venues, Berlin. Berlin Music Week has a heck of a lot to do if it wants to become a viable option for music professionals, with plenty of focus needed on taking care of better networking and meeting opportunities especially, but in terms of taking a snapshot of Berlin life and presenting it for a few days to its visitors to show what a fantastic city Berlin is to be in, then in that they did a perfect job.
text: Crispin Drigh and Sarah Schwaab, The NMO