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Serge Grimaux takes over redeveloped Fórum Karlín

The Prague venue has relaunched under new ownership, with a ‘promoter-friendly’ ethos, focus on sustainability and the first 1,500-capacity space in the Czech Republic

By Jon Chapple on 14 Oct 2019

Forum Karlin, Prague

Fórum Karlín aims to become "the greatest live venue in the Czech Republic"

The new-look Fórum Karlín in Prague is open for business, with a 4,000-plus capacity, cashless-only payments and impeccable green credentials among the key features of Karlín Group’s ‘smart’ venue.

The multi-functional Fórum Karlín originally opened in 2014, and was acquired from former owner Zdeněk Bakala by Karlín Group’s Serge Borenstein and Jan Ludvík late last year. The venue is now jointly owned by Borenstein, Ludvík and Serge Grimaux, the veteran promoter and founder of Ticketpro and Intellitix, who becomes the venue’s CEO.

The Fórum has hosted more than 750 events since opening, and the new owners hope to build on that success by transforming it into a ‘SmArt Venue’ (emphasis theirs) that provides both audiences and event organisers with the best experience possible.

According to Karlín Group, in practical terms this means:

  • A rental structure going from being ‘static’, renting square metres, to becoming ‘dynamic’, having a very low guaranteed rent amount to start with, adjusted with ticket sales income
  • Having sound and light permanently installed in the venue and only paid for if used, substantially decreasing rental costs avoiding transportation, set-up and dismantling charges
  • Creating a marketing and promotion department which will promote events presented in the venue via digital media, helping organisers sell more tickets
  • Making sure the venue is a warm and welcoming place as soon as visitors step through the door
  • Becoming net carbon zero – for example by eliminating all forms of non-reusable plastic, such as plastic cups, and replacing them with reusable cups
  • Enabling payments for F&B and other products, including the cloakroom, only via contactless transactions using credit or debit debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay or any other electronic payments platforms

“This is […] one of the most, if not the most, exciting projects I have [worked on] these past years”

Grimaux, who originally consulted on the venue when it was being built seven years ago, tells IQ that Fórum Karlín is an “extremely versatile” space. “The entire ceiling is a rigging grid with equally great capacity,” he explains. “It can be configured in many different ways.”

One of those configurations is Fórum Karlín Club, a 1,500-person setup with the stage build closer to the main floor bar area and two levels of balcony “Never before in the Czech Republic have fans and musicians experienced such an immersive, comfortable and exciting experience.”

“My aim is for having the venue as ‘promoter-friendly’ as possible, offering new types of events such as sporting events, culinary events, etc., and also adapting its capacity so it can provide Prague with its first 1,500-capacity venue,” continues Grimaux, something which was missing in this marketplace – hence increasing the amount of live music entertainment events hosted in it.”

“Teaming with the Karlín Group, I could not imagine a better scenario to once again become fully active in the live events industry in the Czech Republic,” he adds in a statement.

“After having been part of creating the current dominant force in concert promotion – and having launched the first, and to this day the most efficient, ticketing company in the country – to now oversee the evolution of the greatest live venue in the Czech Republic, taking this entire spectrum of activities to where the world will be tomorrow is one of the most, if not the most, exciting projects I have come to embrace in the past years.

“For event organisers, we do not just rent you a venue – we care. And for fans, we do not just let you in our venue, we take care of you.”


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