The content and the progress of Czech Music Crossroads is still accompanied by inaccurate ideas and preconceptions, saying that it’s some kind of semi-sectarian event where a bunch of musicians gather, “reportedly” without contributing anything. Perhaps because of these prejudices, and to our regret, not many bands and musicians arrived at this year’s edition in Ostrava, despite our program of panel discussions focused on themes enabling artists to better understand the music industry, and also a number of special workshops led by respected professionals. Nevertheless, for us, giving up is not an option, and in the coming year we intend to continue in our efforts. We’re motivated not only by the response of musicians who arrived to the Crossroads, but also by the reaffirmation of experienced foreign guests regarding our properly chosen form and direction.
“Your main aim was to advise the artists who want to promote themselves in other countries, their managers and the people they cooperate with — which is important. There were not that many of them, but this year was only the third edition, and events like Crossroads are built up little by little, so it’s worth it to keep on working,” Christine Semba, the executive head of WOMEX’s consulting and special projects department, told us.
“In promoting my own music, I have spent a great deal of time reaching out to journalists and working from home from behind my computer, and that’s an important thing to do: but Crossroads makes me realize, while it´s good to spend money on things like publicists, nothing is better than being in front of people and so, if you’re gonna invest a few thousand dollars to get a publicist, in some ways you can do more on your own by buying a plane ticket and coming to a showcase like this, where you can actually contact, meet and interact with people. It was really eye-opening to me to see the importance of representing my own music. I particular, I think it´s very rare that you have musicians with so much savvy and who really think about how to present themselves in a way to best represent their music, and it was great to hear what people are saying and speak to people about that. And I
think artists could really benefit from that. There were really frank and open discussions about music. It was great,” we were told by American guitarist Aram Bajakian, a bandmate of Lou Reed, John Zorn, Marc Ribot, and Frank London and husband of the singer Julia Ulehla. She continued: “We made many excellent contacts, many journalists will be writing about us and in the upcoming months we´re doing many interviews. We had two offers for festivals. But to me, it seemed there weren´t always musicians at the talks. And that´s a pity, because they really missed out on a lot of great things. I think they could benefit greatly from it and, in that sense, I think we were so privileged to be a part of the whole thing. It´s really interesting to think about how promoters of festivals are thinking about you as an artist or musician. I don´t know that the musicians are aware of this…“
In addition, it is not a coincidence that, also thanks to Czech Music Crossroads, the foreign world media writes far more about Czech music than it used to. The bands are being placed in prestigious polls, and for Clarinet Factory and Ponk, it even led to an invitation to WOMEX. Of course, participation in Crossroads in and of itself won’t guarantee similar success or trips abroad (in the case of both groups, it’s mostly the hard, long-term, patient work that got them where they are). However, to meet seasoned and experienced people willing to share their wisdom is never bad. You never know what will come out of it.
And, therefore, Gerald Seligman, an internationally respected figure, says to you: “Crossroads has done an amazing job in really focusing on what is useful information for managers, labels and especially for artists. Information that helps them further their careers, find new opportunities, new markets and even strengthen their presence in their own market. So my suggestion to youe public is — you need to be here, this is the most valuable event that´s being created to help you understand what the market is like and to pick up tips.”