Having never headed further North than the safety of Denmark’s capital, Copenhage, Spot Festival was a time to explore Denmark and experience its musical culture, to practice speaking English with all of the better spoken Scandinavian industry heads and also to become one of the many booking agents scouting for some of the next big acts.

Each year, the city of Aarhus transforms its city centre into a Nordic hub and host-city for Spot Festival - an industry showcase festival for upcoming Danish and Scandinavian talent, where copious amounts of beer are consumed and most venues are within minutes and occasionally even seconds from each other. Glorious.

The music industry puts on many showcase festivals each year around the world and Spot Festival could be likened to SXSW or Eurosonic - places where artists careers can be built and lots of small talk can be made. Spot festival is primarily a place for discovery and a two-day showcase to see how well the Danish and Scandinavian industry can fare against the rest of the world.

Centred around the beautiful halls of the Musikhuset Aarhus - a large concert hall complex and the biggest of its kind in Scandinavia - I found (much to my delight) that I could often walk between each of the many varied venues in seconds without any leakage of sound. Any festival-goer will know that this can sometimes be a luxury.

Hordes of Scandinavians and music industry members came to the city to support artists and then drink until the early morning - often centralised at the Radisson Blu Hotel bar which I was fortunate enough to be sleeping above.

With hundreds of acts to watch spanned across a diverse mix of genres, the question I asked myself was 'who would I book and why?':

*Icelandic artist, Special K (yes like the cereal), was indeed special with playful melodies that perfectly accompanied a backdrop of visuals of her life. With topics like imposter syndrome and wanting to be famous, she kept her performance simple with a sound that reminded me of the quirkiness of Gus Dapperton.

*Overwhelmed with a need to dance is how Danish artist Pish made me feel in one of the bigger venues of the festival - at the bottom of the Congress centre (maybe three minutes down the stairs from the hotel). My ideal choice and festival candidate, he showcased a much needed summer soundtrack before we saw snow on the Friday evening. I would book him.

*Josephine Bovien and Erika De Casier certainly had a buzz around them. Both with a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd that seemed to be hot-tipped to the Scandinavian soul/R&B that they both played. When it was good it was certainly good but I’m excited to see how they can make it flourish to hold their mark in a difficult field.

*Norwegian pop-talent Iris, performed with a vocal spell that reminded me of the strange natures of fellow Norwegian singer Aurora and a voice to match. Sitting somewhere in-between, she is certainly an artist to keep watch on in the pop world.

*Selma Judith was mystical as she performed on the harp while singing to a packed out Voxhall. The venue was the furthest I had to stray from the Musikhuset (5 minutes away) and was worth the exercise that I didn’t have to do over the weekend. One of my favourites that I saw - Judith had uniqueness with her duel harp and vocal combination but also a seemingly kind character. I can’t wait to see what happens to her.

Now while I start the process of booking them all; what made Spot Festival any different from any other festival?

Respect. All the Danish crowds I experienced were so respectful; be it in the crowd for Danish indie-band School of X where each song would end and the crowd would still remain attentive. Discussions weren’t intrusive or too loud against the bands and it was refreshing. It could also be to do with how killer their set was though but it came to my mind more than once and it was so nice to see.

The standard of the Scandinavian musicians was exceptional. Watching Hjalte Ross playing a captivating concert in one of the concert halls where all of the audience were sat, I watched in awe as members of his band would go from playing a keyboard to a brass instrument to violins; it was incredible. I noticed that with many of the bands I saw during the weekend, each of the members would often play more than one instrument and it was this expectation of talent was continued.

Spot Festival was a reminder of the incredible acts that have already come out of Denmark and its surrounding territories. Bands like Efterklang who took my breath away with their performance of the cinematic landscapes they create in the largest of the concert halls. The final act I saw at the festival, CHINAH, were no different with a dynamic performance of flashing lighting and left of field pop music that everyone I met and more seemed to be in attendance for.

Rather than read about it why not have a listen. Check out my playlist of Spot Festival 2019 or have a look at the lineup here.