One of the questions we hear a lot from you as VEMF is coming to life - and all the MORE common once the full schedule is released - relates to how our overall lineup is created. I thought I’d share with you a bit about that process. Selecting VEMF’s artists each year is easily one of the hardest parts of putting on an event like this. There’s always about 4x as many applicants as there are spaces to fill, so maybe 25% are going to be selected. And certainly the quantity of amazing applications & worthy artists far exceeds 25%, so in the end we’re always left with tough decisions.
First, VEMF has a number of longstanding relationships with major artist management companies, and these companies have supported VEMF since its inception - allowing VEMF to bring together Victoria’s best right alongside the world’s best - all while keeping our festival very inexpensive.
Then we begin reviewing the applications! Generally, applicants have 4 weeks to submit their application which requires a minimum 30 minute set, along with information on how long they’ve played, what kind of equipment they use, their preferred genres and so on. Every year, the applications that are submitted are tremendously diverse, ranging from emerging producers to turntable duos to singer/DJ acts to elaborate live PAs (like this year’s openers - Righteous Rainbows of Togetherness). As a rule the quality of music is amazing - and this year that has certainly been the case. The selection committee reviews every application - often many times over - while considering the following questions:
What is the overall quality of the mix the artist has submitted?
Is the mix technical? Innovative? Surprising? Consistent?
Have they played VEMF before, or would this be their first VEMF experience?
Given their experience & submitted music - can we expect a strong live showing?
What genre(s) do they play, and how well is that sound already represented?
Given that each member of the selection team has varying tastes in music, the selection process from here is more organic than deeply systematic. We select our favorites, as filtered through the above questions. We then go over the applications again, looking to ensure a great balance of sounds - a blend of familiar & unknown faces - some opportunities for local upstarts, and some acknowledgement opportunities for those who have been working hard to contribute to the scene. Lastly, we look at the schedule framework we’ve created - and ask ‘which applicants would tie this part of the event together the best?’.
It’s accurate to say that the team doesn’t always unanimously agree with every decision. It’s also a truth that with so many intentions to fulfill it’s preordained that VEMF will always be a very diverse musical experience. All that said, we always end up very happy with our collective selections - and know that for some that we get to say yes to, this may well become the apex of their DJ career, while for others, it’s just the beginning…
So now that you’ve go the inside scoop on our ordered-chaos-selection-process, hopefully your mind can rest, and your eyes, ears & heart can determine if we’ve made the right calls! Lastly of course, if you applied this year and didn’t make it - apply again next year, and keep this blog post handy!
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