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Lions Festival Roars in Cannes

An alternative look at the festival's fringe events from Native Music's Dan Neale.

By Dan Neale - Native Music 14-Jul-2017

The more that music, and specifically sync, has become entwined with marketing communications, the more artists we have seen arrive on Le Croisette for Cannes Lions each year, to play to hundreds of lanyard wielding delegates from across the advertising industry. Brands or tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Spotify are the main places to see some amazing shows. But you also have lower key and smaller events which are just as, if not more, gratifying to attend. 

This year we had the good fortune to have Jamie N Commons and CC Adcock attend Native's pre-party BBQ as guests of the sync team from Universal Publishing. As they walked in I spotted they had their guitars, and I thought just maybe they’d play. And play they did… After some coercing from their sync team, they performed an impromptu set for 40 minutes, and the guests loved the off the cuff nature of it all. You could see they knew they were experiencing something real, close and exclusive.

In general the fringe events have been clamped down upon by the official Cannes Lions operation, keen to push attendees and events through their official channels. But my experience this year was that the fringe of the official offering continues to add to the overall appeal of attending, rather than subtract. The organisers should embrace the independent spirit of fringe events, that are inevitable if you gather thousands of creatively minded people in a small space for a few days, rather than try too hard to control, filter or nullify it.

I saw more rights holders out there this year than ever before, and while it differs from the serious sit down meetings of Midem, the contact and discussions are still invaluable to me as a music supervisor. Every year I wonder whether it’s worth attending Cannes Lions, and this year the answer was an independently spirited “yes”!

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