JEREZ – The corona crisis has had a major impact on the flamenco sector. Many flamenco halls in Spain have closed down. Others fear the final blow. The future of flamenco dance was discussed with experts in Jerez de la Frontera.
Following the Jerez de la Frontera conference, ‘Mudanzas para después de una crisis’ (Moving forward after a crisis), a plan to promote flamenco dance to the rest of the world was created. Jerez is considered to be one of the most important cities at the centre of flamenco dance. The conference was part of the 25th Festival de Jerez. Moreover, it aimed to analyse the present and future of flamenco from different perspectives.
Think tank of experts
At the conference, there were representatives from various business sectors. They not only analysed flamenco dance as a brand, but also as a professional and business activity and as a cultural industry. The sectors involved included communication, business, cultural management, marketing, economy and the legal system. Furthermore, in presenting the conclusions, conference coordinator Francisco López, stressed this was only ‘a partial approach’. And as such artistic creation must still be taken into account.
Five panels concentrated on a specific theme and their members were chosen as ‘their professional profiles were complementary’. And therefore, their contributions were enriching. In the initial, stage a diagnosis of the current situation was made, then each group drafted a set of recommendations.
Brand image and marketing
With regard to brand image and marketing, it was concluded ‘the process of creating the brand is as important as the product’. The experts from this group agreed on the importance of strengthening the existing interest as well as reaching new audiences in the medium term. Also making more use of public media channels should be part of the strategy.
Additionally, the group wants to professionalise communication within the industry. This will include the use of digital media to show different perspectives and points of view. And to see where links can be made with companies to strengthen the Spain brand. In doing so, digitalisation should encompass more than just having a web page. It should also be about conducting business on the net. Finally, flamenco should be more visible on the major digital platforms, although it is difficult to access them.
Product and production
`Flamenco dance is a cultural product without competition outside our country. A strategic resource’, according to the Product and Production panel. The panel also noted that there is a need for more training in cultural management for artists. Professionalisation of this ‘promotes the launch of new initiatives’.
There is a lack of measurement indicators in this area and a lack of knowledge of the market and demand. A new Flamenco Observatory to be set up could help here by, among other things, providing relevant data about the audiences of flamenco shows.
Without a strategy, the industry is too dependent on subsidies.
Moreover, public and private support should not be directed towards production but towards the market. Flamenco is Spain’s heritage, a cultural and economic asset that generates identity, wealth and is distinctive, which is a triple competitive advantage that must be deployed with responsibility, intelligence and planning.
Dissemination and funding
The Working Group on Dissemination highlighted, among other things, the creation of a code of conduct, supplemented by training courses and a database for distributors of flamenco, and the promotion of flamenco at cultural events.
The reduction of VAT to 4%, encouragement of sponsorship through income tax (IRPF) and tax incentives for companies were some of the funding panel’s suggestions.
Presenting the conclusions of the conference “Mudanzas para después de una crisis” was Isamay Benavente, director of the Festival de Jerez, who thanked the 25 participating experts for their contributions. ‘The festival will continue to hold such meetings in the future with professionals from the sector or beyond to exchange information and reflect on what is happening and what the future holds,’ she said.