BIME Pro | Oct 24 – 26

Report By: Silvia Urgas

The Spanish music festival BIME, set between the green, rainy and magical hills of Bilbao provided the setting for the second and last meeting point for all 60 participants of the first edition of Keychange. As such, the festival itself was an ongoing series of first impressions and reintroductions, new people and vaguely familiar-seeming faces, memories and plans. Although there was a lot to do at BIME Pro – for example you could try out a virtual reality kit or marvel at the holograms when the music and talks portions of the festival got too traditional for you – I felt a certain restlessness in the role of a passive concert/conference-goer, meaning that time was running out and if I wanted to make the most of my Keychange experience, I had to do it now.


BIME Pro is an annual highlight and an unmissabel event for the Spanish music industry. Despite some smaller panels being held only in Spanish, it has many international acts and speakers, and high-quality English translation for those who are not quite that multilingual.

Concerts at BIME took place across both free city stages and at the mind-blowingly big BEC conference centre. While the industrious scale of BEC welcomed (mostly male-fronted and English-speaking) acts like Slowdive, Aphex Twin, Four Tet and MGMT, the crowd at the city venues could enjoy nine Keychange artists from Germany, UK, Iceland, Estonia, Sweden and Spain: Gurr, Poppy Ajudha, KRÍA, HUNT, TMRW, Mueveloreina, Maia Vidal and Rocío Saiz. The mood fluctuated from Gurr’s riot grrrl to HUNT’s mysticism, with in-between stops anywhere from Poppy Ajudha’s thoughtful neo-soul to Mueveloreina’s highly energetic trap.

The conference side of BIME Pro included Keychange innovators tackling themes from femme film to the future of A&R, and don’t worry – topics like diversity weren’t forgotten either.

– Poppy Ajudha


When the initial giddiness of landing in beautiful Bilbao wore off, it dawned on most of us that BIME was the endpoint of this part of our Keychange experience. And so, our traditional closed Keychange discussions turned into a mission for all sixty participants to try to figure out ways to continue the relatively new and fragile connections forged throughout this year. Festivals and meetings had come and gone at a dizzying speed which forced everyone to take a moment and think back about what Keychange had meant to all of us. This is why more than any panel or concert, I will remember BIME for the people, even if I couldn’t remember their names or stumbled on an interesting conversation with someone for the first time hours before one of us had to leave for the airport.


I guess no one said it better than Keychange’s matron saint Vanessa Reed on a panel at BIME Pro. Vanessa talked about how she avoids using the term “positive discrimination” (which is something that I have encountered while explaining Keychange to people – “So you get to participate in this program because you’re a woman?”) and instead focuses on “positive action” (“So you get to participate in this program!”). Like with most of the things in life, BIME Pro and Keychange in general give back to you what you put into it. I am sure it was possible to float through the whole experience feeling confused about what this program and these events exactly meant. And although a certain feeling of doubt is always bound to stay, Keychange and BIME certainly gave all of us a lot of positive action. As an unidentified Spanish trap song played by Pretty Pretty 2000 said: “Make that booty trabajo.” You got to put in work.