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13 Oct 2013

Taking care of everyones (band)wishes

Anna Storåkers, head of bookings at U x U makes sure that our curators wishes and demands is managed in the right way, and that your artist suggestions is sorted and reviewed. We wanted to know a little bit more about Anna, and took the opportunity to ask her how it is to coordinate eight creative curators…

– Of course it’s challenging, but also very very fun. Everybody is so extremely humble and forthcoming when it comes to this challenge, no matter what previous achievements they’ve had. I try to listen and learn all the time, as it’s of course very important to respect the curators different course of action.

“Right now there are a lot of collaborations going on within U x U that hopefully will be presented in a near future.”

That sounds really exciting! Tell us how you got into the music business?
– I’ve surrounded myself with, played and breathed live music since I was a little kid, from punk gigs at the local recreation center to my own events in the living room. It was never an active choice; it has only always been there in my veins. But it was at Mejeriet in Lund that I for the first time got paid to stage concerts, and since it has been my profession.

Okay, so what have you been up to before U x U?
– I’ve done a little bit of everything. I’ve taken a master’s degree in culture of science, played football at fairly high levels, lived in France and the United States, worked with kids as a volunteer for BRIS and with the homeless in San Francisco, won the national championship in dance, worked as an assistant director in film and television, bought a country house and was elected to the board of Malmö FF’s supporters organ. And of course, booked bands, both for Mejeriet, Smålands Nation, Debaser and various festivals.

Anything similar to your role in U x U?
– When we started Ladyfest in Sweden and booked acts like Gossip and Mapei, we tried to include them in the process of producing the festival and its message, it was really nice to be able to bring such a good dialogue with the artists, and since I was fairly early in my career I liked the extreme artistic freedom.

You’ve worked at Debaser for several years, right? What was your role?
– I’ve been working there for seven years as a concert producer and band booker. I have been involved in the process of starting up as well Debaser Medis and Strand in Stockholm as Debaser Malmö, and booked several hundred artists, djs and clubs at all levels. Soon, I’m working my last day, then I think it’s time to pass the baton, and focus on U x U.

You currently live in Malmö. Do you have any connection to Umeå or how come you are working with U x U right now?
– I come from the north and felt a desire to move back about ten years ago. Together with my best friend I then applied to a bunch of courses at the University in Umeå, acquired an apartment, found us a football team and just took off. The first day there, I remember, we went into the woods of Vindeln and I just felt like; “Shit, now I can breathe again.” But after a while, the courses came to an end and I moved back south. I still have a piece of my heart left up there though. One day, almost a year ago now, Victor called me and told me all about the festival. We talked quite some time I remember. The moment he asked me if I wanted to work with the curators and bookings I very quickly answered YES.

Do you miss anything about Umeå?
– I miss my close friend Maria a whole lot, but we try to see each other as often as possible. There is a strong family feeling within the music scene in Umeå too, which is unique. But I think Malmö has improved a lot when it comes to that as well. The cities are actually pretty similar to each other; a heart beating for partnerships on the local scene, political participation and entrepreneurship. I also miss simpler stuff like the cinema in Haga, taking a stroll on the ice, chocolate balls on the boat and the real snow.

What are you looking forward to the most with the U x U festival?
– To offer the people living in Umeå, and all the visitors, an extremely unique music experience. A festival that is well thought out and perfect for the location and size. And to prove that it’s possible to create a really awesome music festival without large multinational companies, inequality and super commercial artists with questionable values.

Finally, do you have anything you want to say to our visitors?
– Yes! That I’m incredibly happy for all the emails I’ve received with well wishes and desired bookings! We look at all the suggestions and discuss alot amongst the curators what’s possible and not. And I hope that the once who have not yet received their desired line-up, will buy a CO-FOUNDER ticket, because that money is what will make sure that we can make just those dream bookings and future artists.