A Transformational Festival: Cappadox

With emerging genres and artists, the live music industry is on the verge of becoming de-centralized and the time of the passive audience is nearly over. 

To achieve a success as an event producer now and five years out, one needs to be aware of the political and economical climate and observe what the new music audience needs. And one of the significant event producers of Turkey, Pozitif, has realized that what audience needs is a transformation, a space where the audience can feel out of the system, explore individuality and have revolutionary moments. Starting as a free-jazz promoter, Pozitif became one of the major companies representing jazz and contemporary pop and rock music. In 2015, instead of booking international mega-star jazz names which they are used to booking since 1988, Pozitif created a transformational festival named Cappadox, in the middle of central Anatolia where music festivals rarely happen, in a geography which is particularly known for cone-shaped fairy chimneys, deep canyons, caves and ancient underground cities. Pozitif not only revived this tourism spot but they also created mobility in the region with a multi-disciplinary festival and have been successfully doing it for three years. There are three elements that play an important role in the festival: mobility, participation and interactivity. Happening once in every two years, Cappadox draws thousands of people around the globe to experience Cappadoccia’s history, nature, local food, handcraft fused with contemporary art, healing, music, fashion and much more. Co-owner of Pozitif Cem Yegul in an interview with Independent says, “This topography here is so surreal that I don’t think you even need to go to a concert. We like to let the festival be led by the environment and the atmosphere rather than by big set-piece performances that everyone feels they must attend.” Physical mobility is one of the most attractive features of Cappadox workshops. The days start early at Cappadox with morning walks in the Love Valley, open-air dawn concerts, guided walks discovering the flora and geography, hot-air balloon rides, meditation, yoga and cycling events, led by instructors from different countries who are well-known for their innovative techniques that they bring to the table. Interactivity is another important feature of Cappadox. There are workshops such as 15-course fire-cooked Turkish dinner that teaches all about archaic cooking and region’s rich culinary history. There are workshops where you can get your hands dirty with clay-making which is special to Cappadoccia. Walking in long valleys, one can experience the contemporary art implemented perfectly with nature, from local and international artists. One of the themes of the festival was “ways out of from the earth” however it was more about finding your place in “the alien landscape” of Cappodoccia. The concerts were out-of-worldly with the visual projections on fairy chimneys and sometimes happening in the caves or on the open fields. While one could listen to Peter Broderick and David Allred in a cave, he/she could start a day with Mercan Dede’s enchanting contemporary Sufi music. Hosting the country’s hottest electronic/rock band Buyuk Ev Ablukada, the audience feel energized but also feel soothed the other day, with Jehan Barbur’s ethereal contemporary folk vocals. The music curation of Cappadox in that sense collided very different genres together in one festival experience, focusing more on the mood than “headliners”, therefore offering a mind opening experience for the audience that took part. Cappadox is a prototype for future transformational festivals in the region. Not only it provides a very wellrounded experience of different disciplines but it also contributes to the local economy of the region and does minimum environmental harm. As the headliners festivals and events decline, festivals like Cappadox will be the future of festivals around the globe.