general secretary / YOUROPE -The European Festival Association
Holger Jan Schmidt is one of Europe's leading networkers in the music festival branch. Among various topics he has a special focus on sustainability and social responsibility for festivals and events. Holger is General Secretary of YOUROPE – the European Festival Association, the most important representation of European popular music festivals with more than 100 members from 25 European countries. Part of his duties is the project management of the international Take A Stand initiative and campaign for the (live) music sector, which was launched in 2017 to create a movement encouraging social cohesion in our society as well as promoting awareness and tolerance. He also leads the pan-European think-tank GO Group (Green Operations Europe) that focuses on sustainability related and environmental issues at events.
Holger looks back at more than twenty years working at Germany’s biggest admission-free festival RhEINKULTUR in Bonn with a daily audience of 160.000, being in a leading position from 1998 until the festival’s last edition in 2011. Today Holger is a booker, consultant and part of the management teams of various festivals among those DAS FEST in Karlsruhe and SUPERBLOOM Festival in Munich.
Holger is contributing his expertise to various European funded projects such as "3F –Future-Fit Festivals”(Creative Europe),"FUSION - Festivals as social innovation incubators" (Erasmus+), "FUTURE FESTIVAL TOOLS - green competency for event professionals" (Erasmus+), "GEX-Green Europe Experience" (Creative Europe) and "EVERYWH2ERE" - bringing mobile hydrogen energy to festivals (HORIZON 2020). He is co-author of the book „stay SOUND & CHECK yourself“ dealing with stress and mental health in the live music, festival and event industry and co-wrote the „Sounds For Nature guidelines for environmentally friendly events“. Holger holds a diploma in media economics from Rheinische Fachhochschule Cologne and was a lecturer for “Sustainable Festival-and Event Management” at Hochschule Fresenius (Fresenius University of Applied Sciences) in Cologne and Düsseldorf. Also he is an active musician himself.