The MENT Ljubljana festival will be held in Slovenia from March 29 to 31, 2023. It’s an international showcase festival focused on music discovery as well as a conference focused on the music industry and creativity.
Andraž Kajzer, the festival's artistic director, recently visited Latvia to discuss MENT Ljubljana, Baltic Focus at the festival, his experience from previous editions of the event, and what the MENT Ljubljana team looks for in artists who apply for the festival. He also gave some excellent tips to artists who wish to perform at the showcase.
Bobe.me team was also present at this event which was hosted by Music Export Latvia, and we are happy to share everything with you in order to help you succeed with your application and to provide you with detailed insight into the festival if you want to go and discover some new music in a beautiful city.
The Baltic Focus will be MENT's first-ever focus at the festival in 2023. The Baltic focus, which will feature vivid scenes from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, will include a variety of artists, music professionals, product presentations, and conference topics from the Baltic states. The focus will be made in cooperation with export offices Music Estonia, Music Latvia, and Lithuanian Music Business Association with the support of the Baltic Culture Fund.
Applications for MENT Ljubljana 2023 are now open, and 3-5 acts from each Baltic country will be selected to represent their country. Apply for the festival if you want to gain international exposure and showcase your music or knowledge (applications are open until October 1st 2022).
MENT Ljubljana is a music discovery festival and conference that aims to discover and highlight more music from European countries that are not always on the map of music scenes, particularly those close to Slovenia.
MENT Ljubljana has been taking place since 2015. Over 70 acts from 24 countries performed at various venues over three days at the latest edition of MENT Ljubljana in June 2022. The next festival will be held in 15 venues throughout the city from March 29 to March 31, 2023.
“We’re quite diverse genre-wise, so we host everything from electronic music to pop, to rock, to experimental music”, says Andraž Kajzer.
Check out previous festival lineup to get a sense of what it's all about, but it doesn't matter if you're an 11-piece band or a DJ with a USB - if you have something great and unique to offer, you're welcome.
MENT sessions, a video series of live performances by new, fresh, and unknown artists, were introduced as a new chapter of the MENT Ljubljana festival during pandemic.
During the conference, the festival tries to present different scenes, and provide as much education as possible for artists, managers, and people involved in the music industry.
Performers at the festival gain exposure to music professionals as well as local audiences. Over the last two years, an increasing number of visitors from neighbouring countries have come to the festival solely to see new bands.
“So, it’s an event where as an artist you can get a lot of knowledge, connections and of course, you can present yourself on the stage”, says Andraž Kajzer.
The festival team is looking for unique and special artists and has no problem with different languages. They actually prefer it if they believe the band or solo artist is exportable and interesting to audiences around the world, even if they sing in their native language. When asked what it means to be export-ready, Andraž Kajzer explains:
“In my opinion, export ready means that you are steady as a band, so you actually know what you are doing, you can present yourself very well live, I think that’s the most important thing. So, if you sound good on the recording, but come on the stage and the show is not there, it's not convincable, it will be very hard for anyone to book you for somewhere else. Of course, you need to have a good online presence, which means that it's easy to find your music, it's easy to understand what your band or you as a solo artist are about, and of course that you understand at least part of the music business ecosystem, which means you understand the different roles and what you are looking for at this kind of festival.”
Every year, the festival team receives between 1500 and 2000 applications: “We go through all of them, we listen to all of them and then we choose the artists we feel are at the moment at the level we want to see at the festival and we feel they will have a good presentation.”
Tips for artists looking to get a booking and perform at the showcase festival:
- Check out the festival's mission, profile, and whether you fit their programme.
- Make sure you have a video of the live performance. It's a crucial part because being good at the record is one thing, but being good at the purest form of music is another.
- Prepare! A lot! The most important aspect is preparation. Showcase festivals provide excellent opportunities for exposure. This type of festival can help you advance your career.
- Do your homework and know what you're searching for! Before the festival, a database is opened where you can view all of the profiles of those attending and decide who you want to meet, invite to a concert, or connect with.
- Perform a great set at the festival! You must present yourself in the best possible light in 40 minutes and try to make the most of it.
- Don't go overboard - if you're a six-piece band, don't go with nine just to impress. This could work against you. People who are watching you are thinking about practical matters as well. Nine people cost more than six.
- Don’t get drunk before the show.
- Connect with people after the show, ask for feedback, look for people who can help you play at other festivals, make connections, and possibly sign a record deal.
- Meet music professionals by attending the festival's conference. The conference part is one of the best places to meet industry professionals such as agents, promoters, and others. People in places like this are very approachable because they go there to meet new people and discover new music. Work on your career; magic will not occur if you do not put forth any effort to make things work.
- Be patient; building a network and making connections takes time, and seeing results takes even longer.
- Last but not least, as Andraž Kajzer said: “Whoever you meet - be nice to them, because you never know how they can help”.
Now go fill out the festival's application and cross your fingers that you'll be chosen! If something doesn't work or you have questions about the Baltic Focus at MENT Ljubljana 2023, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the festival is available on the festival's website.