As the Head of Music Program and Alternate Director of Europe’s leading club festival and conference, Reeperbahn Festival, Bjørn Pfarr is a wanted man in the music industry.

Coordinating more than 450 live acts on more than 30 stages over four days each year, Bjørn Pfarr welcomed around 37,000 visitors from 42 nations to the Hamburg festival last month, all to experience a programme with his tick of approval.

Acts including Portugal. The Man, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and The Drums, performed at over 70 venues across the city – including temporarily converted banks, buses, boats and churches – while arts programs, conference sessions, networking activities and award shows attracted over 4,400 professionals.

Next month, Pfarr will speak at Face The Music in Melbourne to share his wisdom with local and international delegates.

TIO caught up with Pfarr as he prepares for Reeperbahn Festival 2018. He took us through the planning process for the event, how and why the conference element came into play in 2009, why he doesn’t want the festival to grow too much in size, and more.

You book an event for over 450 acts each year, where do you start when putting an event of this size together?

Planning, booking and programming a club Festival like Reeperbahn Festival with such a massive number of acts is very complex. For the club festival first of all, we evaluate the occupancy rate of the clubs of last year’s edition. With those results we define an initial number a clubs we will look at for next year’s edition.