It was more than a festival and more than a competition. It was a movement. Welcome to the most quirkiest event I have ever experienced – Music Video Festival – VKRS#1 in Brussels…
What was the event?
The 9-11 May were the dates for the first ever Music Video Festival in Brussels. The event brought the whose who of art in Brussels together to enjoy, discuss and forward the creativity elements that are all part of music videos.
What happened at the event?
So firstly my French is restricted. Going to any event in a country that I have limited knowledge of the language is always going to be an experience. On the website it was all in French but I navigated my way through the website to know timings, location and the overall concept – which was intriguing from reading. Firstly – let me say this event for its concept and sheer passion and determination of trying to forward the arts is in the top 5 of my events I have experienced so far. THATS A HUGE DEAL!
Let me firstly define the event. Music videos had been created and then were shown on a big screen. Easy. But really the event had a deeper meaning. Gathered in a theatre in Brussels was about 120 people. The event was attended and supported with partners and sponsors but also those with a dedication and interest in the arts of Brussels (which is SO VIBRANT) were the main people driving this night and movement forward. Gathering at the Riches Claire’s and Palace cinema participates and spectators were in for a treat of visual emotional evoking. Artistically the event is about combining art and music and spearheading a campaign to put this type of art at the forefront of Belgian arts and culture. The running order for the event was varied with workshops, conferences and competitions making up what was quite an exciting time in the arts world of Brussels. Funding Organisations, production companies, professional videographers, creative thinkers and really anyone who wants to be part of this industry we’re watching the success of this and are watching as the festival continues and the ball begins to roll.
Music videos is a concept that for many might mean not much but for millions are an integral part of enjoying and immersing in music. The magazine the Medium in 2016 wrote a piece that music videos were declining in popularity and investment. The argument they pitched was music videos are more than just music. The integration and the results they can produce and effect visual language, cultural storytelling and the overall impact on appreciation of arts. The article went on to state that really music as a commodity was consumed daily and forgotten about hourly. Where as back when MTV was the place to watch bizarre and daring music videos people would be talking, discussing and watching the music video and not only the song. It was a time when Halloween costumes were inspired by music videos. In 2019, Forbes magazine ran a piece that was about the key building points of the future of the music video industry. Two of the points I want to focus on. People are – in the future – even more likely to watch music video but it’s how they are bought in to have the “need” to watch something. Everyone has a device. They have something they hold and breath with. And watch with. Netflix was part of that article…but that would take up a lot of discussion – maybe for the book next year. The second point I want to focus on is music breaks boundaries of cultural divide and leads to global audiences buying in to music from Korea or Germany. Whether it includes the Gangham Style billion views in 3 years or the Despacito billion views in less than a year. The articles I read – read the following message, in my non-expert opinion. Music videos have an important future in allowing self expression to enter back into society and not be told by million budget productions what image, culture and identity should be. Music videos have a sense of belonging and up until 2008 where the go to for people – to watch, to hear and to feel part of the artist they were interested in. They can return. Bands can be found through viral videos.
But now in 2019 I sit at a festival that is trying to bring Belgian and global artists to the forefront of art and bring a focus back to what has been lost. I watched approx. 17 videos in the first competition. Some of the creativity I viewed was spectacular. Whether it was performers in a windmill dancing with baguettes with kitchen utensils on their heads or a video about escaping form the trapped person within – all mind emotionally evoking. Everyone in the room was really supporting each other – because with this competition comes opportunities. And most importantly the trophy that was sitting on stage left waiting to be given to the overall winner.
Anything else happen at the event?
Apart from me being completely out of place sitting in my north face jacket wearing the same jeans I have worn for 2 months and looking at rather chic and quirky fashionable individuals – I was so part of the event. I briefly spoke to a few people who spoke English and they explained it was a tight community – which you know what was the most special part.
The festival has workshops and expert panels to drive forward the thoughts and the creativity of those that produce music videos. But really it’s the support of each other that is the driver here. I honestly couldn’t understand a word being said but I did understand the hugs and affection given to each other throughout the festival.
In a leaflet pictured below the event was not just about conferencing and educating but about partying. In the festival space it had a few DJs and VJs – which are video jockeys for those not culturally up to date with initials like that. Which for me allowed all of the talent in the area to support and learn from each other. After 10pm. Lights down. TV on. Perfect.
One thing to take away…
This was quirky. This was celebratory but this was about the future. The international Music video community could learn from those that came up with, directed and produced a festival that is putting creativity back on the map.