Main Website:
Where: Aarhus, Denmark
When: May 4-5, 2012
Two-day pass: 495 DKK or roughly $88 USD

Hosted in Denmark’s second-largest city of Aarhus, also popularly known as the “City of Smiles,” SPOT has been an integral part in promoting up-coming Scandinavian (primarily Danish) talent since 1994.

The purpose of SPOT, according to organizers:

“…is to promote Danish and Scandinavian music to the international music business, from record companies and concert organisers to agents and the music press…

The line-up comprises both debutants as well as more established artists who are recognized as being of interest to either national or international music promoters, cultural institutions or media.”

Here in the US, we have showcase festivals such as CMJ and SXSW, which can be a mind-numbing experience for all involved. This is where SPOT differentiates itself. SPOT also has panels focusing on topics such as: How to make it in the US, Songwriting, and Marketing. But don’t think you can buy a badge to attend these panels…you have to apply! This helps to ensure quality over quantity. The same goes for the music. Just over 100 acts perform during this two-day festival for approximately 800 concertgoers. This ‘intimacy’ allows the attendee to enjoy the freedom of walking the grounds, and to off-site venues, with ease and enjoyment – as well as the opportunity to bump into one of the bands while getting a drink – all while still attaining a festival vibe. The overall feel of SPOT is one that is about freedom and enjoyment, not, “trying to find the shortest bathroom line”…like with many festivals.

In 2011, I had the pleasure of being invited to SPOT for the first time. What I can say is that here in the US, we could use more showcase festivals like this. On the business side, instead of everyone running around to network for 30 seconds, handing over their card then run off to the next person – you were able to develop relationships – some have even helped with content on Nordic Spotlight! For the concertgoer, the pace of the event allows you the opportunity to enjoy the music with different stages showcasing quality acts. I don’t like to describe SPOT as a festival…it is more of a wonderful event and experience, orchestrated by a team that truly care about its message…and the music.

You can’t beat the price of admission. A two-day pass comes in at 495 DKK or roughly $88 USD. I was asked the other day if I wanted to see Tool perform at MSG for $90. I would take seeing 100+ quality upcoming and established Scandinavian bands for the same price over that any day of the week…now how do I just afford airfare?

In case you were wondering about the music, here’s a list of some bands you may have heard of: Mew, The Raveonettes, Junior Senior, The Blue Van, Carpark North, When Saints Go Machine, Oh Land, and The Asteroids Galaxy Tour.

Here’s some other band notables over time:

1997: Kashmir (Denmark), moi Caprice (Denmark)
1998: Under Byen (Denmark), Superheroes (Denmark)
1999: Sigur Rós (Iceland)
2000: Outlandish (Denmark)
2002: The Raveonettes, Junior Senior (Denmark)
2003: Kaizer’s Orchestra (Norway), The Blue Van (Denmark)
2004: Múm (Iceland)
2005: Blue Foundation (Denmark), Mew (Denmark)
2006: Oh No Ono (Denmark), Figurines (Denmark)
2007: Spleen United (Denmark), Shout Out Louds (Sweden), Eivør Pálsdóttir (Faroe Islands)

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