Let’s Collaborate! Combining Film and Music at Festivals.

By Andrea Remmert

To many films, there is a soundtrack and to many songs, there is a music video. They compliment each other. Combining the best of both worlds is seemingly impossible in certain situations, but luckily in the entertainment industry these worlds collaborate, coincide and coordinate in festival bliss. Film and music, both culturally and universally defined, share the same liberty of enlightening our world with artistic merriment and boy are we thankful. Stand alone,  each art is a deity, strong enough to fill a festival but when united, what is one without the other? 

With the way technology is carrying us into generations to come, it is no surprise multimedia is progressing right along with it. Contributing both medias to a festival is a great way to showcase them individually, yet celebrate both arts. However, the way that festival organizers are doing so absolutely varies. Sundance gives prominence to the multimedia by showcasing music films; the ultimate amalgamation. Creating a film about music gives viewers insight into the music world, whether it be about musicians, tours, concerts or the industry- it’s vast. It is vast and forthcoming and creating an awareness about the art. Think about it, hours, days, months, years- film producers use impressive footwork to create a 120 minute film capturing an entire world. Videography entices so many people for the sole purpose of learning, and films help convey ample ideas into one movie session. Arguably an effective way to combine film and music at a festival, others choose different routes. Mill Valley Film Festival added a Music Café, or live music showcase to their festival this year. Providing musical entertainment for three days, attendees could marvel the sounds of musicians, interspersed through film screenings. Sundance has also incorporated Music Café into their festival, and we are predicting many festivals to come will do the same. The Music Café is presented by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, or ASCAP. These music expos are proving to be a success at film festivals and is a great way to house the mixed medias at a festival. Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Music and Arts Festival has created a way to add all arts into their lineup- literally. Bumbershoot (informal term for umbrella) was appropriately named for it’s ‘umbrella’ of arts and culture that falls under it. It is a festival to host arts of all sorts from musical talent, film, literary arts, culinary arts, comedy, hands on activities… it is what I would call, all that is creative. A host to every trade, Bumbershoot designed a three day cultural microcosm proving the benediction of combining arts at a festival. 

Big festivals already showing the kinship of these two arts; film and music can truly amplify the experience of a festival. Drawing in attendees from both sides, it can expand the community of festival goers. It develops a different culture than one would find solely at a music festival or solely at a film festival. These patrons come to observe art in it’s many forms, bringing the passionate and the dilettanti. The collaboration is making an entirely separate festival experience and festival crowd, breaking through from single focused festivals. Collectively gathering new attendees and mixed company is a great opportunity to expand a festival population and also to expand the cultural arts experience. Set after set, musician after musician, live bands will have you in music heaven, but when given the chance to stroll from stage to stage, one can stumble across many things. By providing other art forms at the festival, event goers may find themselves watching a short film or admiring an artist sculpturing between performances. Exposure to many different art mediums gives folks an opportunity to capture many different things, other than music, at a festival. Whether it helps break up the constant melodies or provides a long awaited chance to see the creative art experience, mixed arts gives everyone something to see and do. Maybe with more things going on at a festival, they will have to start expanding an extra day, or weekend (and who wouldn’t want more?!). A music festival is a rookery for creativity; it sparks the imagination of many and provides a place to exchange ideas. Adding films strengthens the artistic culture, provides an expansive experience and an opportunity to grow your festival population. More and more festivals are integrating film into their lineup and reaping the benefits, so what will make you want to collaborate? Is it time to put in motion, a motion picture event through your music festival?

Interested in learning more about combining music and film at your festival? Join The Creative Coalition, SXSW, The Mountain Jam, D & E Entertainment and Van’s Warped Tour as they discuss the same topics during their panel, “The Best of Both Worlds: Combining Film & Music at your Festival” at the upcoming International Music Festival Conference in Austin, Texas at the Hyatt Regency Austin, December 2-4.

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