EJN Staff Exchange Programme

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Previous participant: LOUISE NORDGREN

From: Fasching/Stockholm Jazz Festival (Sweden)
To: Puglia Sounds/Medimex (Italy)
04 - 14 June 2017


Exchange Report

This is a brief summary of my experiences from the staff exchange I spend with Puglia Sounds (IT) in June 2017. When I submitted my application to EJN’s staff exchange programme, I did not know where or to which organization I wanted to go during the staff exchange. I did know that I was interested in spending the 10 days at an organization that work not exclusively with live production, but also in some way is involved with cultural policies and/or structural development for the music scene. The EJN office gladly helped match my areas of interest with Puglia Sounds - a music development project within the regional Teatro Public Pugliese - located in Bari, Italy. During the 10 days in Bari, the main focus was to realize the four day long international festival & music conference Medimex organized by Puglia Sounds.

The days before the festival
Trying to read up on the Medimex schedule, Maddalena from Puglia Sounds asked me to help out with the pages in English on the festival web. A great way to get to know the week we had before us! The days before Medimex, we had some typical festival hands on-work with preparing goodie bags, printed schedules etc. Although I don’t speak Italian and some of the staff were monolingual we had some great laughs and connected well during the days of preparation.

Maddalena had also arranged for me to meet some of the other large cultural organisations in Bari - regional tourist agency Puglia Promozione and regional movie development center Apulia Film Commission. During these days I had a great meeting with the Social Media Manager of Puglia Promozione, addressing everything from Italian politics to event publications and the structure of the back office of their website. Since Stockholm Jazz Festival was just releasing a new web to hold a great number of concerts and venues, it was great to share experiences with someone working in a similar way to see what can be done in the future.

The trickiest things these days really was getting all the work in Sweden done as well as getting to know a new organization. In order to make the exchange possible, I had to prepare a lot of work from home, and gladly Puglia Sounds was on board with my work load when they accepted me as part of the staff exchange. The last day before Medimex, we all had pizza together at the office as one final get- together before the live production. The food and coffee breaks were key to getting to know everyone since we all were working really hard at the time!

During Medimex
The festival had a lot of different angles, towards the regional audience, international and national music business and upcoming musicians. During the Puglian Jazz Showcases, I met some fellow EJN members who attended Medimex to listen to and meet with musicians and agents from the region. The seminars ranged from the Italian music scene to meeting with musicians and international music business. It was clear that Puglia Sounds used a lot of outdoor marketing, since you could not walk a block without noticing that Medimex was happening.

Aside from the Italian music scene, seminars, DJ-sets at the beach, Apulia Film Commision movie screenings in the park, photo exhibition, vinyl market, business networking and songwriting camp — the festival also hosted some international names. Amazingly enough there was no fee to see the largest concert held on an outdoor stage in town with Iggy Pop as the headline name. As the festival was closing down, the last show was with Solange at Teatro Petruzzelli in the city center of Bari, where I helped Valeria from Puglia Sounds with the preparations backstage. It was really impressive to see the range of activities that Medimex could hold during these four days and how many people were actually involved with the production.

One of the things that stayed with me after returning back to Sweden really was the joy and pride of producing this kind of event which managed to incorporate all parts of the regional culture as well as some international music business in public events. From a structural point of view, there were a lot of similarities between how northern Sweden and southern Italy is being portrayed in a touristic, almost exotic way from the national and central european outlook. So many of the obstacles and opportunities look the same, which I hadn’t anticipated before coming to Bari. Despite this, Puglia Sounds still manages to set an example for all regions of Europe — with a strong regional connection working both inside and outside of the nation borders. I’m grateful to the EJN office for noticing that Puglia Sounds would be a good organization for me to visit and receive a lot of new ideas on how to build bridges between different artforms, audience and business to bring with me long after the staff exchange.

A big thank you to Maddalena and all the others at Puglia Sounds, and of course the Europe Jazz Network, for making the exchange possible!