Q & A Stockholm Burlesque Festival

Why should I apply to the Stockholm Burlesque Festival?

SBF is one of Europe’s biggest and longest running burlesque festivals. We have brought together amazing performers from all over the globe to our gorgeous city, venues and, above all, our absolutely fantastic audience!

We pride ourselves on having a non-competitive, inclusive and supportive atmosphere, with as many different types and flavours of burlesque as possible. The festival is a networking opportunity that we document carefully with great quality pictures and video. We offer a programme of workshops and informal meet and greets as well as our ‘famous’, casual and super cosy performer Sunday Brunch and the charity gala and light hearted tasseltwirl competition Octbooberfest.

You state that you can not take any glitter and confetti – why, and is it worth me trying to apply anyway with my glitter number?

Our Saturday venue Nalen does not allow glitter or confetti at all – the fine plastic gets into their lights, damaging them. Glitter is also very bad for the environment and our health, so we want to create a show without loose glitter being thrown around.

If you have a glitter act you want to apply with, please state clearly in the application if you are happy taking the glitter/confetti away, and/or if you are planning on using something else instead.

There is a specific type of glitter canon with larger, streaming confetti that both venues approve of, so ask us if that is an option for your act – the cost of the streamer canons is 200 SEK. Also, colour-fast flower petals and similar are alright.

Why does it cost to apply to your festival?

We take a small application fee (70 SEK) because we want everyone applying to be serious about wanting to take part in the festival. The fee ensures us that applicants have thought through their commitment, are serious about performing and have considered the costs involved with coming to our wonderful city.
We are aware that festivals are expensive but feel we offer a good opportunity to network with amazing performers, to see a broad cross section of styles and celebrate our form in amazing surroundings. All events (except workshops) are free to performers.

Why do performers of colour apply for free?

We think it is very important to promote and support a diverse art form and community, and even though the burlesque scene has been more inclusive during the last few years, it is still predominantly white.
We have listened to a lot of performers and people of color about their experience and want to remove as many barriers to taking part in our festival as posssible. We also hope this positive inclusion encourages others in the burlesque scene to consider their diversity policy. We still ask every performer applying to the festival to think about it and to only apply if they really want to and can come.

What acts are you looking for?

We do not have a specific house style, we are looking for well developed acts from as wide a range of burlesque, and related art forms, as possible! We plan the two nights to be of equal quality and ambition, so there is no “better” night, just two crazy, engaging and unforgettable experiences. We do love everything from classic and beautiful, to weird, crazy, political, satirical and scary. Show us what you do best, not what you think we will book.

In the selection process we are looking at the following in each act: uniqueness/personal take on burlesque, costume, choreography, ability/skills and personality on stage. We are also looking for “big” acts: both our stages are very big, and we like to see acts take a space well. The quality of your video is not too important, but the better we can see you and your interaction with the audience, the easier it will be for us to see how great you are!

We are also looking at the show over all, and want to have a line-up as diverse and interesting as possible for the audience, in regard of gender, geographic’s, race, acts colour scheme, stories, tempo, styles, skill-sets, themes etc. If you don’t get selected, it may be because we had the diffficult decision of choosing between several similar acts.

I don’t have a video with a live audience, is that okay?

Yes, you can send in a video of you rehearsing your number in the living room etc, the video quality is not too important but we do need to be able to see the act (we have received videos where it is almost impossible to see the performer in a dark space). However, we do think personality and audience connection on stage is important and this is something we are looking for in performers. If you apply with two acts, it can be a very good idea to have at least one act with an audience so we see how you are live, on stage.

How do you feel about inclusion vs racial appropriation?

This is a hard but important question. SBF is an inclusive space regardless of gender, culture or physicality. We work hard to promote under-represented groups so we will not book acts that undermine this. We are looking for as a diverse a line-up as possible, but also feel that acts that are ‘borrowing’ too much, too clearly from another culture, are problematic. Of course, this is sometimes a very fine line, but for example, we won’t book a caucasian artist performing a Geisha or Native American act and we will not show Blackface. We are open to discuss acts if you have any questions regarding this, and we also want to be very clear that this is an area that is difficult for all of us as we learn lessons and work to improve the way we work with influences and show sensitivity to other cultures.

How do you decide on who is going to headline? Can I apply for a headlining slot?

The SBF is a big and beautiful event and we are fortunate to have had absolutely amazing and well established performers apply over the years. We have only a few headlining spots that are by invitation only, and usually booked between 9 months to a year prior to the event.

I was performing at your festival last year – can I apply again?

We try to have a difference in line-up every year, so if you where part of the international line-up last year, then it is unlikely you will be accepted again this year. But we would be very happy to see you apply next, or up-coming years! We do love to see performers develop, and have accepted performers that have been on before, everyone gets the same chance of being accepted.

If you have any questions regarding the application process, feel free to ask us! info@stockholmburlesquefestival.com