Now in its seventh year, Sonic Visions is a festival that celebrates new music and gives local industry types a voice and a chance to learn from experienced pros.
It is not every day that a Luxembourg venue lands two Mercury Prize nominees on the same bill. But the Rockhal has done just that in the shape of singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey and rap-poet Kate Tempest, who perform on the Friday and Saturday of the Sonic Visions festival respectively.
Throw in artists like US new soul sensation Sinkane, Cleveland punk upstarts Cloud Nothings, Icelandic folk electronica pin-up Ásgeir and Australian DIY slacker heroine Courtney Barnett (photo) and it is clear that Sonic Visions is living up to its reputation as a showcase for emerging artists on the verge of a breakthrough. The festival also allows local artists and acts from neighbouring countries to play to a wider audience.
More established artists, such as Australian brother and sister act Angus and Julia Stone, music critics’ flavour of the year St. Vincent, and Berlin-based DJ Fritz Kalkbrenner are also on the bill, giving the festival the sort of appeal it rarely enjoyed in its formative years.
Back in 2008 Sonic Vision was a much more local affair, but the organisers always had ambitions to create a truly international festival and conference that would put Luxembourg on the map. They achieved this by not only attracting top artists--latter day headliners, thanks to a collaboration with den Atelier, have included the xx and Sigur Ros--but also music industry experts who could provide what business people might call “added value” to the event.
This year’s keynote speaker is erstwhile Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner--who has also looked after the likes of Marc Bolan and The Clash--who has been at the forefront of the debate surrounding digital use of music and artist remuneration. Panel discussions and workshops on playing gigs in Luxembourg and its neighbouring countries or effective strategies on using YouTube will also pique the interest of musicians and industry players.
Rockhal, ave. du rock’n’roll, Esch-Belval