In its twentieth anniversary year SPOT tries something new

Already host to myriad events that fall under different categories – music, film, and interactive – SPOT festival has added a new dimension to its lineup this year: a heavy dose of free programming.

Preview by Zoë Robertson

SPOT FREE

Photo by Katherine Dunn

Areas of Godsbanen, Gaffa Venue, Royal Venue, and Øst for Paradis are free for the first time. Henrik Friis, one of SPOT festival’s coordinators, explains the decision to introduce free events. “It’s the first time we do so. We want to investigate how to develop these areas for the future and we simply want to give people of Aarhus a touch of SPOT for free in our anniversary year.”

“We simply want to give people of Aarhus a touch of SPOT for free in our anniversary year.”

There are manifold positives in introducing a free section to the festival, not least that the format is in keeping with SPOT’s main goals of supporting and developing new Nordic music production. New acts have a venue to showcase their not-yet established music. Friis notes that “SPOT always has been quite different from the major part of Danish festival events. We have the development and promotion of Danish music and art as our goal, so we’ll work on our tool in that perspective.” Additionally, SPOT aims to support and further the cultural qualities of music, which in this case translates to a program featuring not only bigger names but also marginalized voices.

“SPOT always has been quite different from the major part of Danish festival events. We have the development and promotion of Danish music and art as our goal, so we’ll work on our tool in that perspective.”

In terms of deciding which events and performances will be showcased in the free sections, Friis says, “we try to supply with some initiatives like the ‘Refugee Voices’ that we can’t do on the main SPOT stages.” Friis refers to the “Flygtningestemmer” or “Refugee Voices” event, created in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims, that tells refugees stories through song and interpreted by Danish musicians.

In fact, many of the events in the free sections are ones that would be difficult to orchestrate on the larger-scale paid stages. Also playing at the Royal venue are several ‘Library Sessions’, consisting of a moderated interview with an artist, a live show, and a follow-up Q & A.

At Godsbanen, you can try the new Oculus Rift glasses at Skammekrogen, where you’ll take part in an interactive film about family drama. You won’t have influence on the film’s narrative, but the glasses allow you to watch from one of the character’s personal visual perspectives.

Other events in the free section include music documentaries such as The Stone Roses: Made of Stone, which screened at CPH:DOX in 2013 to great public acclaim and won a NME Award 2014 for Best Music Film. SPOT the Video’s music video festival plays for free at Godsbanen. This subgenre film festival rarely appears in mainstream festival programming. It features 70 minutes of international music videos from Denmark, Sweden, France, and the US, among others. At Øst for Paradis, many films of different genres will be shown, including Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, as well as prize-winning documentaries Pine Ridge and Ud, Spring Over, Ind, both followed by Q and A sessions with directors.

The events offered through SPOT’s new free section appeal to diverse audiences, and increases festival accessibility in general. Says Friis, “Under all circumstances we hope to increase the attention of the Spot Festival and open up for the city and our city fellows.”

SPOT Festival runs from May 1-4. See spotfestival.dk for more information. If you go along to the free part of the festival then tweet us or instagram us and let us know what you are watching/dancing to @jutlandstation, #jutspot.

Zoë is a Canadian journalist who is currently studying for her Erasmus Mundus Masters here in Aarhus.