The 4th Annual SA Indies Music Week back in Joburg


Artsvark Presser

Artsvark Presser is directly connected to the South African Arts Community, and spits out press releases and other news as passed on by community members.
Artsvark Presser

The 4th Annual SA Indies Music Week is set to take place from 6 to 10 February at the Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg.

The 4th Annual SA Indies Music Week returns to Johannesburg
The 4th Annual SA Indies Music Week returns to Johannesburg

Organised by The Independent Music Exporters South Africa, (IMEXSA), the event has been growing from strength to strength and this fourth edition is set to be even bigger. Close to 100 artists from around the country are expected to be part of the showcases over the 5 days. At stake will be an opportunity to get a slot to perform at international festivals that includes South by South West (SXSW) in the US, Primavera in Spain and Midem in France. These hopefuls have already passed the first hurdle when they were shortlisted to be in the finals, following a nationwide call for submissions from IMEXSA. Now only a great performance stand between them and that much sought after performance slot at one of the aforementioned festivals. They will have to impress the strong selection panel that comprises of local music experts and the international panel that includes representatives from the festivals.

- Advertisement -

To get a slot at one of those festivals will be a dream come true for any artist, established or not. That is because of the sheer magnitude of each of the festivals. Primavera Sound is a music festival that takes place between the end of May and beginning of June in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and Oporto, Portugal. The first edition took place in 2001. At every edition the event has grown both in terms of numbers and in terms of media exposure: press, radio and television both nationally and internationally. Its first edition in 2001 closed with an attendance of 8000 people, an audience that by the latest edition in 2015 had become 190,000. Midem is the acronym for Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musicale, which is organised annually in and around the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France. The trade show, which is billed as the leading international business event for the music ecosystem, has been held since 1967. In January 2013, Midem was attended by 6,400 delegates from 3,000 companies (out of which 1,350 had stands or pavilions of their own). The event was covered by 350 international journalists. In 2016, the event celebrated its 50th anniversary. South by Southwest (abbreviated as SXSW) is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that take place in mid-March in Austin, Texas, United States. It began in 1987, and has continued to grow in both scope and size every year. SXSW Music is the largest music festival of its kind in the world, with more than 2,000 acts as of 2014. The music event has grown from 700 registrants in 1987 to over 28,000 registrants. SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive events have grown every year, most recently bringing over 51,000 registrants to Austin every March.

The artists will not only be there to perform but will also be afforded an opportunity to learn as the event has several workshops lined up during the day, starting at 11am daily. They will be conducted by the various local and international music industry experts and are free to anyone who wants to attend. Amongst those on the panels are Almudena Heredero, Director of PrimaveraPro, the professional meeting held in parallel with the Primavera Sound festival, since it was first created in 2010. She also coordinated Spain’s official participation in the Prague Quadrennial on Scenography in 2015 and has organised the participation of Sounds from Spain at international fairs. She has also been responsible for the general coordination of the International JAZZMADRID Festival since the 2015 edition. In 2010 and 2011 she organised the Professional Contemporary Music Meeting at the Alicante Music Festival, and in 2013 and 2014 she was responsible for the professional classical music event, ExpoClásica.

IMEXSA Call for Submissions: Midem and Primavera.
IMEXSA Call for Submissions: Midem and Primavera.

Also, conducting the workshops will be Allen Johnston, aka The Music Specialist. Mr. Johnston is an accomplished speaker and has lectured for numerous international conferences in Africa, China, and the UK. Within the United States he has recently been a featured lecturer on publishing, royalty matters and international licensing plus the Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee Bar Associations Continuing Legal Education Divisions, where he has written several position papers for the American Bar Association.

Another returning speaker from last year’s event is Karen Marie Mason. She is the founder of the Artist Launch – Artist and Label services for indies and boasts a Facebook group of the same name with close to 3000 artists. A powerhouse innovator, Karen Marie Mason has successfully mastered and exerted cultural influence in the music, film, television, radio and publishing industries. Her wheelhouse of talents has etched superstars like Michael Jackson, Sade, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes, into world history. A focused multi tasker Karen also rose to be one of the top location scouts in Atlanta for film, television and commercials working on projects for Usher, Ludacris, Rick Ross, T.I. She also worked as a location manager for Tyler Perry Studios with credits including “Why Did I Get Married,” “The Family That Preys” and “Madea Goes to Jail,” among others. Her clients have included everyone from Sony Pictures, MTV to BET and TV One. In addition to film locations manager, Mason produced the independent film Switching Lanes, starring Terri J. Vaughn (“The Steve Harvey Show”) and directed by Thomas Mikal Ford (“Martin”). She also joined the production team of Ir/Reconcilable, starring Jasmine Guy (“A Different World”) and Dick Gregory, which aired on the HBO networks. Karen is also host of WRFG’s “Sunday Night Fiyah.” She sits on the board of People TV.

The last of the festival representatives is Delphine Grospiron. She is Head of the Live Department for Midem since September 2010. She oversees musical programming, production and organization of all the concerts that happen during the event. In 2015, Delphine launched the first career booster for emerging artists – The Midem Artist Accelerator, an exclusive business programme designed to support managers, agents, labels and publishers as they look to grow their artists’ profiles globally. Delphine graduated from Rouen Business School and Dauphine University (France) in Cultural Management. She also studied at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in China.

Several other experts will be joining this team. They will include representatives of local radio stations, music compilers, bands managers with international experience, label owners and artists that have already travelled to and performed at some of these festivals across the globe.

While the workshops take place during the day and are free, live music showcases occur in the evenings and costs R100 per ticket. These tickets are already available at Computicket and Shoprite/Checkers stores countrywide. This is definitely not an event to be missed if the previous editions are anything to go by. Such has been a phenomenal growth for the event such that this year’s shortlisted 100 bands is much bigger pool compared to the estimated 30 bands that were shortlisted for the first edition. If you love the sound of experiencing new good music, while also learning about the music industry, then this event is undoubtedly for you. For media accreditations and involvement please email the events organizing team at A full schedule of events is available from the project website:

Leave a Reply