Glimps Festival in Ghent showcases rock bands from Continental Europe
Young, upcoming bands can hardly find a better platform for their talent than a showcase festival. One such festival, the Glimps festival in Ghent which will be held during the weekend of 16 and 17 December, will see no less than fifty bands from twenty European countries playing small sets. This event, which is similar to the Dutch Eurosonic and German Popkomm, provides the ultimate happening for music fans and talent scouts alike. Music manager Maarten Quaghebeur is one of the driving forces behind the festival, which enjoys a financial backing of 50,000 euros from Flanders and the City of Ghent. Flanders benefits from this festival as it stimulates cultural internationalisation while for the City of Ghent it forms parts of its ‘Creative City of Music’ mission. The festival also fills a gap in the market for continental rock musicians. While British and American bands benefit from solid structures and global accessibility, this is not always the case in Continental Europe. Says Quaghebeur: “We needed a festival which would provide a platform for Flemish pop and rock artists to network with other countries. We also needed to move the spotlight to bands from countries which do not have such a huge pop tradition. Local markets suffer from a divided continent.” To this end the festival kept English and American bands out of its programme. “We don’t book them for this festival as they don’t fit into our story. This is a continental European festival. We did however invite English professionals in the field as there are many managers in the UK who find our music interesting.” Selection for the Glimps festival was done on an international level, with one journalist and one programme manager in every participating country recommending their choice of promising bands. Quaghebeur expects the event to reap benefits when a number of music professionals sign deals with some of the bands. Ten Belgian bands grace the bill as a sample of the local talent. “Among them are four Walloon bands,” Quaghebeur confirms: "When it comes to Rock music, nobody cares whether you have a Flemish of Walloon story to tell; it’s all about Belgian music.” Glimps organisers hope the event will provide a networking platform for European music clubs. But first they must get to know each other.