ASM Global enlisted for Helsinki arena project
ASM Global is partnering with Suvilahden Areena Oy in Finland to secure the future development of Helsinki’s Hanasaari power plant area.
The site is best known for hosting Helsinki’s annual Flow Festival, which hosts some 30,000 visitors per day.
Suvilahden Areena Oy, a privately owned Finnish development company, applied for a development reservation for the site in March 2023.
A further feasibility and market research study was then completed in May 2023 by venue consultants CAA ICON, which “confirmed the viability of the project economically… provided that the city is contributing to the implementation of the project”.
Both companies’ shared goal is to secure a development reservation for the area and to start actual planning work in cooperation with the operators of the area and the city.
Plans include building a [17,000-capacity] arena onsite and using the existing structure and festival grounds to continue to cultivate the area for music, arts and events, while preserving as much of the power plant building as possible, supporting the local culture and environment and to combine the current festival area within the development.
“Hanasaaren Voimala is a major next step for ASM Global in Finland”
According to ASM Global, “there is also scope for incorporating sports programming on a major scale”.
President of ASM Global Europe, Chris Bray, says: “Hanasaaren Voimala is a major next step for ASM Global in Finland. We already have a strong presence in Scandinavia and are now building on our recent expansion into Helsinki, which includes Kulttuuritalo. We believe that with our unrivalled global network, we will bring the world’s most sought-after concerts and artists to fans in Helsinki.
“Hanasaaren Voimala has an exceptional location. The possibility of building a new arena and entertainment hub by the sea with a festival area and an urban culture project is an exciting prospect. Suvilahden Areena Oy has done a great job together with CAA ICON, and we are looking forward to the project progressing in the near future.”
CEO of Suvilahden Areena Oy, Timo Nieminen, adds: “Cooperation with ASM Global strengthens the credibility of our project. We get to use ASM’s experience and best practice regarding venue management. Basing the design on strong experience and insights is a prerequisite for a financially feasible project. Our cooperation will certainly continue in the planning phase with CAA ICON as well.
“We are now just waiting for the development reservation to be granted by the city. We aim to run a planning process, working with the key players from the Suvilahti and Hanasaari power plant area, the environs and the city of Helsinki.”
ASM Global made its first foray into Finland earlier this year, having been appointed to run operations at Helsinki venue Kulttuuritalo (The House of Culture).
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Flow ends Heineken partnership over Russia war
Finland’s Flow Festival has announced it has ended its brand partnership with Heineken Silver due to the lager firm’s operations in Russia.
Heineken has been in Russia for 20 years and is the third largest brewer in the country, with around seven breweries and an 1,800-strong workforce. But despite announcing it is “committed” to leaving Russia, the firm is still working towards detaching itself fully – prompting Flow to cut ties ahead of this weekend’s festival.
“When we were informed about Heineken’s situation in Russia in the spring, we had discussions with the festival’s main partner Hartwall about the presence of different products at Flow and evaluated the situation together,” says Flow Festival CEO Suvi Kallio.
“Based on knowledge at that point, Heineken was to leave Russia during the spring. Unfortunately, this has not happened up to this point.
“We have reassessed the situation and come to the conclusion to end the partnership and brand cooperation with Heineken. Heineken Silver will be replaced with Hartwall’s other products at the festival.”
Amsterdam-headquartered Heineken said in April that waiting for the Russian Federation to approve the sale of its business in Russia.
“Heineken is committed to leaving Russia and we’re doing everything we can to find a suitable new owner for our business”
The Dutch brand released the following statement earlier this year: “We are shocked and saddened by the war in Ukraine. The strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people is remarkable, despite the continuing horrors that are happening in the country.”
It continued: “Heineken is committed to leaving Russia and we’re doing everything we can to find a suitable new owner for our business while taking care of our local employees.
“The situation in Russia is unprecedented and the reality for businesses with large production and manufacturing operations in the country is challenging and complex.”
Flow Festival takes place at Suvilahti, Helsinki, from 11-13 August. The event will feature around 150 acts including Lorde, Blur, Wizkid, Kaytranada, Christine & The Queens, Tove Lo, Devo, Pusha T, Caroline Polachek, Suede and Moderat.
Finland’s largest arena Helsinki Halli has been left unused since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. The former Hartwall Arena is owned by Arena Events but has laid empty since two of the company’s co-founders, oligarchs Gennady Timchenko and Boris Rotenberg, were added to the UK’s sanctions list shortly after the war began in February 2022.
Beverage giant Hartwall ended its 25-year association with the building due to its Russian ownership, while scheduled shows by acts such as Kiss, The Cure, Eric Clapton and Queen + Adam Lambert were relocated.
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Wacken rebounds to sell out 2024 in record time
Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) has rebounded from this year’s weather-related struggles to sell out next year’s festival in record time.
All 85,000 tickets were snapped up in just four-and-a-half hours yesterday evening, smashing the existing record of six hours set for 2023’s event.
Artists including Scorpions, Amon Amorth and In Extremo are already confirmed for W:O:A 2024, which will take place under the Witches & Warlocks banner from 31 July to 3 August.
The news provides a boost for organiser International Concert Service, which was forced to run last week’s festival at a significantly reduced capacity after the site was hit by rain and thunderstorms in the days leading up to it, leaving the camping areas “impassable”.
The 32nd edition of the German metal institution concluded over the weekend, having welcomed the likes of Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Dropkick Murphys, Wardruna, Beartooth, Ensiferum and Pentagram.
Revised numbers indicate that 61,000 people entered the site before no further admissions were allowed (initial police reports put the figure at around 50,000), meaning close to 25,000 legitimate ticket-holders were denied entry. Those fans were given first refusal to buy tickets for next year’s Wacken, priced €333.
“We are more than grateful and humbled for your trust,” says a message from promoters. “Especially after the difficult start of the festival this summer, where a part of our metal family couldn’t celebrate with us, we really appreciate that the community stands by us and sticks together. The fact that all 85,000 tickets are gone is simply amazing!”
Festival co-founder Thomas Jensen estimates the revenue shortfall caused by the capacity reduction to be in excess of €7 million
With tickets for 2023 costing €299, the Superstruct-backed festival’s co-founder Thomas Jensen estimates the revenue shortfall caused by the capacity reduction to be in excess of €7 million.
“It’s a third of our income: 23,500 x 299, and then you get pretty close somewhere,” Jensen tells Watson.
Weather conditions have continued to blight Europe’s festival season. The final day of Slovenia’s MetalDays was scrapped on Friday (4 August) due to torrential rain and flash flooding in the area, which prompted the authorities to issue a state of emergency. The death toll has since climbed to six, prompting prime minister Robert Golob to describe the situation as the country’s worst natural disaster since gaining independence three decades ago.
Elsewhere, Depeche Mode’s scheduled Live Nation Finland-promoted concert at Kaisaniemi Park in Helsinki tomorrow night (8 August) has been cancelled due to forecasted severe weather conditions.
“The health and safety of our fans, crew, and everyone working at the site are our number one priority, and we have been advised by Tukes (the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency) and the local fire department that it could be unsafe to proceed given the forecasted weather conditions,” says a representative for the band.
Other outdoor music events to be disrupted by adverse weather conditions this summer include Pitchfork (US), Bluedot (UK), Primavera (Spain), Dutch festivals Awakenings, Bospop and Wildeburg, Alexandra Palace’s Kaleidoscope Festival and Robbie Williams’ concert in Austria.
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ASM names Emilia Mikkola GM of Helsinki venue
ASM Global has announced the appointment of Emilia Mikkola as general manager of Helsinki’s Kulttuuritalo (The House of Culture), its first venue in Finland.
Mikkola has been heavily involved in the planning and delivery of more than 30 events and festivals across Finland and Europe for 15 years, including as event director at Finland’s largest gaming event Assembly. She also worked as production manager for Flow Festival for over a decade.
ASM was appointed to run operations the 1,400-capacity venue in the Alppila district last month.
“As ASM Global expands into Finland, we’re delighted to have Emilia on board to plant the flag in this exciting new market,” says the company’s SVP operations Europe Marie Lindqvist. “Kulttuuritalo is a culturally rich and much-loved venue in Helskinki, and at this important time in its redevelopment, it is key that we have a best-in-class team on board to relaunch the venue with great success and phenomenal impact.
“Emilia comes with real, on the ground experience working across a huge array of live events of all sizes and scales, making her a perfect fit for a venue like this, which is prided for its varied and diverse programme of events.”
“We’re delighted to have Emilia on board to plant the flag in this exciting new market”
The 1950s venue is set for a “transformative” relaunch and will soon boast a new 300-cap live music space which will play host to live music, club nights, DJs, and streaming events.
Upcoming concerts in the main hall, meanwhile, include Patti Smith, Elvis Costello and Rumours of Fleetwood Mac. Mikkola describes her new role as her “dream job”.
“I am extremely grateful and motivated for the opportunity I have been given,” she says. “Kulttuuritalo is iconic, prestigious, and full of endless possibilities, and our goal is to provide diverse and high-quality programme and experiences throughout the year.
“In recent years, several concert halls in Helsinki area have closed their doors, resulting in a shortage of event venues. We want to strengthen the position of the Kulttuuritalo as the most exciting event arena in the capital region and invest in its functionality.”
Ville Koivisto named festival director of Provinssi
Finland’s Fullsteam Agency has appointed Ville Koivisto festival director of Provinssi, effective 1 September.
In addition, the Fullsteam and Provinssi ranks will be strengthened by partnership manager Tuomas Kallio from 4 September.
Koivisto started selling tickets for Provinssi as a volunteer in 2009, before being appointed production manager in 2017.
Awarded event producer of the year at the 2018 Industry Awards, Koivisto has worked at numerous other festivals besides Provinssi, such as Sideways, Ilosaarirock and Rockfestari Naamoi.
Koivisto has also influenced numerous large-scale productions, such as Cheek’s Valot sammuu concerts (2018), Ed Sheeran’s Malmi Airport concerts (2019) and last summer’s Helsinki Olympiastadion gigs (Haloo Helsinki!, Apulanta, Ed Sheeran, Antti Tuisku).
In addition to this summer’s Provinssi, Koivisto works with Finnish rap duo JVG, who are due to perform at the Olympic Stadium in August.
“I am really grateful to Provinssi for the opportunity and trust to learn and grow in the management of the production of the event,” says Koivisto.
“It’s time to focus on making the best festival in the world from a slightly different angle”
“Starting in the fall, it’s time to focus on making the best festival in the world from a slightly different angle, and I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead!”
Kallio boasts a 15-year career in B2B sales, marketing and business development in various media houses – most recently Radio Helsinki – and also as an entrepreneur.
“It is wonderful to return to the fascinating and multidimensional world of events,” says Kallio. “What makes all of this wonderfully special is that I get to work every day with many top professionals I already know.”
Tuomo Tähtinen, CEO of Fullsteam Agency, adds: “Even when viewed internationally, Ville is one of the most competent event industry professionals I know, so I am extremely happy that we will be able to build the future of the Provinssi together with him.
“I believe that the transition to the position of festival director will be very natural for Ville, as he already enjoys the trust of the staff and the industry. We have successfully collaborated with Tuomaks on partnerships in the past. He brings a lot of new know-how and energy to the house, as well as tools for us to be able to build even more successful partnerships around Fullsteam’s entire operation.”
The two appointments come a few weeks after the agency announced a reshuffle. Marko Kivelä will swap his position as CEO of Fullsteam’s Provinssi festival for an agent/promoter role within the company from 1 September, it was announced.
Meanwhile, Aino-Maria Paasivirta, former assistant to Fullsteam founder Rauha Kyyrö, will take responsibility for Provinssi’s programming and booking.
Provinssi festival returns to Seinäjoki in Southern Ostrobothnia, western Finland, between 29 June to 1 July.
Finland’s Fullsteam Agency announces reshuffle
Finland’s Fullsteam Agency has announced a reshuffle of responsibilities within the organisation.
Marko Kivelä will swap his position as CEO of Fullsteam’s Provinssi festival for an agent/promoter role within the company from 1 September. He will also step down as executive director of Selmu, the live music association of Finnish city Seinäjoki.
Meanwhile, Aino-Maria Paasivirta, former assistant to Fullsteam founder Rauha Kyyrö, will take responsibility for Provinssi’s programming and booking. Paasivirta has been involved in Provinssi’s programming work group since 2016.
Commenting on his new role within Fullsteam, Kivelä says: “I am really grateful to Selmu for the years together, during which I have been able to grow from an inexperienced newcomer to my current boots.
“Now is a good time for both myself and the association to experience new patterns in an already familiar environment in the nicest music company in Finland. I’m really excited about the new one, it’s time to roll up my sleeves!”
“After a successful last year and recovery from the pandemic, it is a natural time to look to the future”
Kivelä will continue working on Provinssi, especially on building the festival’s programme with Paasivirta.
In addition, Fullsteam Agency’s long-term promoter Artemi Remes, who is known for promoting Sideways festival, will work under the title of senior promoter in the future.
“After a successful last year and recovery from the pandemic, it is a natural time to look to the future and update Fullsteam’s organisation and responsibilities,” says Fullsteam Agency CEO Tuomo Tähtinen.
“The reorganisation of Provinssi is also well underway, and hopefully soon we will be able to share more news related to that as well.”
Provinssi festival returns to Seinäjoki in Southern Ostrobothnia, western Finland, between 29 June to 1 July.
ASM Global plants flag in Finland
ASM Global has been appointed to run operations at Helsinki venue Kulttuuritalo (The House of Culture), marking the company’s first foray into Finland.
Founded nearly 70 years ago, the 1,400-capacity venue in the Alppila district hosts events ranging from concerts, festive events, gala nights and trade shows.
The 1950s venue has a rich cultural history, designed by world-famous architect and modernist visionary Alvar Aalto. To this day, Kulttuuritalo continues its strong and important relationship with the Alvar Aalto Foundation.
The companies say the partnership will aim to “relaunch and future-proof the venue for generations to come, cementing it as a ‘must-visit’ cultural destination and capturing an even wider audience”.
ASM Global will also lead the renovation of Kulttuuritalo’s basement space, Klubi, including the building of a new 300-capacity live music space.
“We are extremely excited to partner with ASM Global in re-creating it as the landmark cultural venue in Helsinki”
The ‘state-of-the-art’ new club space will play host to live music, club nights, DJs, and streaming events, further broadening and diversifying the events and audiences at the Helsinki venue, according to a press release.
“On behalf of all at ASM Global, I’d like to welcome Kultturitalo to the team,” says Chris Bray, executive vice president, Europe at ASM Global. “This is a wonderful venue with a rich cultural significance in Helsinki, so we’re incredibly excited to be on board to manage operations and relaunch Kultturitalo through significant investment in infrastructure, food and beverage and developing a new club venue in the basement of the venue. This is our first step into Finland, so it’s a huge opportunity for ASM Global, which is already established and seeing huge success in Europe and the Nordics, to expand further into what’s a growing market brimming with opportunity.”
Patrik Sarajuuri, CEO, Helsingin Kulttuurihub Oy adds: “Since acquiring the property in 2022, Helsingin Kulttuurihub Oy has been keen to develop the content and offering of the House of Culture and we are extremely excited to partner with ASM Global in re-creating it as the landmark cultural venue in Helsinki. This partnership with the leading global venue operator and creator of live experience enables us to further liven up the content and bring to life this unique building, bringing it closer to all people for live events. House of Culture has exceptional facilities for multiple different uses and experiences with a great location. We are very pleased with the new agreement, which enables significant investment in this iconic venue.”
ASM Global has a portfolio of 350 venues the world over which host 20,000 events, and welcome 165 million guests every year.
Perfect partnerships: 2022’s innovative activations
Sponsorship is a key revenue stream for festivals, whilst music and arts events are excellent ways for companies and charities to expose their messages to receptive audiences. In an excerpt from IQ and Yourope’s European Festival Report, we profile some of the most innovative partnerships in 2022.
Commercial partnerships are key for most festivals, with many companies eager to benefit from the association with a festival brand and access to its audience. However, it’s important to create an activation that not only aligns with the company’s goals but matches the audience’s expectations without damaging the event’s reputation.
But how do you ensure your partnership brand is met with approval by festivalgoers? How do you know the partner you’re working with won’t be viewed negatively by them? And even if they are receptive to your brand/message, how do you calculate the success of the activation when the measurements of success are not as sophisticated as they could be.
Well, thanks to a new big data collaboration with Aalborg University’s techno-anthropologists (yes, they do exist), Roskilde festival in Denmark might have solved these issues.
Together they have created a new online open-source platform called Culturography, which enables organisations to understand and visualise how their target group – and the broader public – engages in different aspects of societal issues online.
Roskilde’s online tool analyses social media posts from fans and the public that show where interests of different groups of people overlap
The online tool analyses social media posts from fans and the public that show where interests of different groups of people overlap. This use of big data enables festivals to understand whether a brand and its activities are a good fit.
“Every time we engage in a commercial partnership, there are three basic steps that we go through. There’s finding the partnership, signing the partnership, and then monetising it. This method was very helpful for all three,” says Roskilde’s head of partnerships, Andreas Groth Clausen.
“Normally, when I present the idea of a partnership with Roskilde Festival to a company, it’s just me, and I’m hoping that the person I’m talking to is a fan of a particular festival or can see the idea. With this digital database, we can actually tell them what our audience is interested in. We can show them our fans are really engaged with some of their competitors, but they’re not interacting with them. So, the starting point changed significantly when we introduced these visualisations to our partners.”
The tool also helps the festival and the brand design an activation onsite that hits the appropriate demographics, by identifying the key touchpoints certain groups are interested in. This minimises the risk of running an activation that doesn’t chime with festival-goers.
As a non-profit organisation, Roskilde festival is making the software available to everyone. But there’s still some development required – currently the data is interpreted by experts from the university, whilst the goal is to develop the software further so that it removes this requirement.
“Trasholution” incentivises people to pick up litter by gamifying the process
“That’s the last challenge for us – to build a tool that’s just plug-and-play for everybody. As good as it is right now, it’s still a work in progress, but we can make it even better. We are going to do that in the years to come,” says Groth Clausen.
FKP Scorpio: Trasholution
FKP Scorpio festivals Hurricane, Southside, Highfield, and M’era Luna launched a new concept for waste management in summer ‘22. “Trasholution” incentivises people to pick up litter by gamifying the process – and it was used to benefit social causes, too. Every full rubbish bag was counted by the festival and triggered a donation of €1 to social projects in the region of each festival. This was live-tracked and visible for all festivalgoers, further motivating them to hand in their rubbish. As soon as a donation goal was achieved, the German company launched the counter for the next one.
“This is so important because if the festival waste is separated cleanly, its recyclable materials can be sorted out much better and returned to the material cycle,” says FKP Scorpio managing director Stephan Thanscheidt. “So, we’re achieving two good things with one concept: donations for social causes, as well as more sustainability.”
Flow and Polestar
As one of the world’s first carbon-neutral festivals, Finland’s Flow fest is renowned for its environmentally friendly credentials. So, it was especially important for them to work with brands that shared its ethos.
Polestar’s commitment to bring 100% electric premium car products to the world, led them to partner with the Superstruct Entertainment-owned event to bring their brand statements to Flow’s highly eco-conscious fan community.
With a campaign aimed at building brand awareness and affinity in Finland, Polestar gave selected ticket holders exclusive drives to the festival as well as pairing with Tiilikello venue for an exclusive art installation, matching both the festival and brand’s minimalist image.
At Latitude and Wilderness, professional Bacardí mixologists offered cocktail-making classes for attendees
Live Nation and Bacardí
With 2022 being the first full year back after the pandemic, Bacardí partnered with Live Nation in the UK to join the celebrations for the return of festivals, signing a multi-year deal to be the official spirit partner across ten events.
A drinks brand could be considered an expected sponsor for a festival, which was exactly what inspired Bacardí to create spectacular spaces full of thoughtful surprises and touches.
The partners created physical spaces that became destinations in their own right at festivals. Each was tailored to the festival audience’s tastes and preferences, such as Casa Bacardí (at Reading, Parklife, and Wireless), a two-story dance destination programmed with world-renowned DJs and premium rum cocktails; or Haçienda Patrón (at Wilderness and Latitude), a Tulum-inspired space.
Bacardí also used its spaces creatively by inviting fans to experience its brands in new ways. At Latitude and Wilderness, professional Bacardí mixologists offered cocktail-making classes for attendees. Bacardí also programmed established and up-and-coming DJs at Casa Bacardí to support its Music Liberates Music initiative, an ongoing programme designed to champion underrepresented voices in the music industry.
The results reached 3m in-person attendees and 10m followers on social media.
Jay Williamson, VP of marketing partnerships for Live Nation UK, said: “The Bacardí team truly understands how live music is one of the rare things that can bring people together, and the opportunity to work with them this summer on creating lifelong memories for fans was an incredible privilege.”
Wacken Open Air partnered with brewery Krombacher to put together a band made up of rare native species under threat
Wacken Open Air and Krombacher: Growling Creatures
Have you ever heard an endangered animal sing metal? Well, now’s your chance. This year, German festival Wacken Open Air partnered with brewery Krombacher to put together a band made up of rare native species that are under threat: Growling Creatures.
To raise awareness of the plight of these animals, three songs featuring the calls of a variety of animals were released by the ‘group.’ Nest Destroyer included the sounds of the cuckoo and grey shrike over a melodic death metal tune. The brown hare and lynx contributed to metalcore banger Furry Inferno. And the female bison and grey seal joined together for death metal song Small Number Of The Beast.
The songs were released on Spotify and videos were posted on YouTube and social channels, as well as running on stage screens between bands. Band T-shirts were also sold.
All proceeds from the campaign will be donated to the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) of Germany.
“The audience response as well as the media was very positive,” says festival spokesman Peter Klapproth. “All three songs were professional produced and went down well in the metal scene. The campaign created a reach of over 8m, which made the whole cooperation very successful for all parties involved and most importantly created the awareness for the endangered species.”
The partnership was such a success that plans are already in place to continue it next year.
Emerging artist Madalena Pequito ran a workshop of festivalgoers that positioned art as a pillar for sustainability
MEO Kalorama and Underdogs
While audiences filled their ears with music from the likes of The Chemical Brothers, Arctic Monkeys, and Disclosure, new Portuguese festival MEO Kalorama also filled their eyes with art, thanks to a partnership with Lisbon-based cultural platform Underdogs.
Promoter Last Tour invited the art organisation to undertake three different initiatives that involved several people from the Underdogs’ diverse roster of Portuguese and international artists.
The first part of this collaboration was a large-scale intervention by Portuguese visual artist AkaCorleone called Temple of Sound, which saw the entire main stage decorated with work, as part of his ongoing Temple of Light project.
Elsewhere, an art gallery was built dedicated to displaying over 30 exclusive Underdogs artworks by a diversity of artists, including Felipe Pantone, Okuda San Miguel, Tamara Alves, Vhils, Wasted Rita, and many others.
And sustainability was a key theme for the third intervention – emerging artist Madalena Pequito ran a workshop of festivalgoers that positioned art as a pillar for sustainability. She invited the audience to illustrate the 17 sustainable development goals established by the United Nations.
Jazz in the Park bought six GoPro cameras, which festivalgoers borrowed for 45 minutes at a time to record their experience
Jazz in the Park and Mega Image
Most people who work on festivals never get to experience it as audiences do. But for its 10th anniversary in 2022, Romanian festival Jazz in the Park set about changing that. Thanks to a partnership with supermarket Mega Image, the festival bought six GoPro cameras and set-up a station that saw people borrow a camera for 45 minutes at a time and record their experience. The 180 people shot 96 hours of footage, which was edited into a “People’s Aftermovie,” which was released on social media.
“We were a bit nervous about people’s response[s] to being invited to film,” admits festival founder and manager Alin Vaida. “But the cameras were used almost all the time. People love the opportunity to just fool around and film their family, their preferred concerts, and so on. After the first day, people started asking about where they could get the cameras, and there was a good level of interest in the activation.”
The resulting film is unlike any traditional marketing movie, showing the event in a truly authentic manner, as even some of the ‘less desirable’ elements of the event, (such as the poor weather on the first two days) were included.
Communications manager Sergiu Topan says when the first draft arrived from the editor, he ran into Vaida’s office and shouted “It’s great!”
Vaida adds: “We are a relatively small office, and it’s usually quite noisy. But when the team got the video, there was just seven minutes of total silence. People were trying to be poker-faced about it, but I could see some of them wiping away tears. It was amazing. Watching the film was the first proof in 10 or 11 months or more that we had done something brilliant.”
He says sponsor Mega Image’s response was “really good.” So much so that there are now plans to increase the budget next year so they can buy more GoPros and have more people involved. “The word-of-mouth regarding the brand activation was excellent, too,” he adds.
EXIT’s fortress walls were painted with words of emotional and psychological support
EXIT and mental health
With global events such as the pandemic, the economic crisis, and the war in Ukraine continuing to impact people’s lives, organisers of EXIT Festival in Serbia had a special focus on mental health at the 2022 edition.
The walls of the festival site’s fortress were painted with words of emotional and psychological support, while the messages were also presented on the screens of the big stages.
Many people have encountered anxiety, fear, depression, loneliness, and other related difficulties in the past two years. This is why the festival further strengthened its relationship with Novi Sad-based suicide prevention and mental health support organisation Srce Centre. The festival has worked with the centre for years, and this year the partnership was extended to bring more mental support locations to the fortress, namely at the Foodland, the OPENS State of EXIT zone, and in the EXIT camp.
And it’s not only the audience that could get help. EXIT says it is the only organisation in the music industry with two mental health experts on the team throughout the year. Over the course of the festival, other psychologists and psychotherapists were onsite to support the backstage teams and performers whenever needed.
The Power Hour sees attendees gather at Defqon.1’s main stage for 60 minutes of DJs mixing high-energy tunes
Defqon.1 and Red Bull
One of the key moments during Dutch hardstyle festival Defqon.1 is the Power Hour – which sees attendees gather at the main stage for 60 minutes of DJs mixing high-energy tunes with lightning transitions – it’s an intense moment that sees the audience go crazy.
Festival organiser Q-dance (a brand of Superstruct Entertainment-owned ID&T) partnered with Red Bull to make this year’s Power Hour truly something to remember. Opening with Red Bull athlete Bicho Carrera, it featured an aerial display that included multiple Red Bull assets such as an aerobatic flight and the helicopter from The Flying Bulls.
During the left-to-right moment, which sees the whole crowd dancing from side to side, the Red Bull helicopter joined in, hovering from left to right, too. Additional activation included special Power Hour-branded Red Bull four-packs, which were sold onsite and in the campsites and included an illuminated LED cup.
This moment was captured in video and generated significant reach and viewership over digital platforms on both Red Bull and Defqon.1 channels.
“We had almost 4m (organic) total online reach and counting,” says Q-dance brand partnerships manager Jack van Mourik. “When answering the question ‘How would you rate the Red Bull show moments during Power Hour?’ the average score was an 8.59 out of 10 in our Defqon.1 survey and was experienced as ‘very positive.’”
At Ab geht die Lutzi Festival and Rocken am Brocken, a small PENNY.Festivals Kiosk was set-up
Many festivals and PENNY
For many years, German supermarket brand PENNY has supported the German festival scene – most prominently with its sponsorship of Parookaville. But for the return after Covid, it wanted to expand its help. So multifaceted festivals platform Höme used a survey of 37,000 festivalgoers to find out how the 2,150-store company could offer the best support. What they discovered led them to develop a broad range of activations across multiple festivals under a new sub-brand, PENNY.Festivals.
Alongside its activations with Parookaville, which include two big stores, the DJ-Tower with its legendary pre-party on Thursday and up to 20,000 visitors, the brand ran smaller and different modules at 16 festivals.
Among the activations were the PENNY.Festivals Shuttle, which saw festivalgoers at Burning Beach and Happiness Festival able to leave the festival site free of charge, drive to the nearest PENNY branch, and stock up on food and essentials. At other events, such as Ab geht die Lutzi Festival and Rocken am Brocken, the smaller PENNY.Festivals Kiosk was set-up; while elsewhere the PENNY.Festivals Food For Good Foodtruck offered vegetarian and vegan food. A number of festivals had digital partnerships.
And it wasn’t just audiences that benefitted from the support. PENNY also supported November 2022 conference Festival Playground, which brought together 150 different festivals of different sizes and genres.
“With this new concept, PENNY is once again strengthening its position as a reliable partner and supporter of the German festival industry,” says Höme’s Laura Pfeiffer.
“The response from the audience was great. For example, the Kiosk was always almost completely sold out after the first day (even though we ordered more than twice as much from the first to the second time). PENNY saw recognition at a huge variety of events. Our Instagram channel reached 10,000 followers within seven months. Festival attendees, especially from smaller festivals, are always happy to find our services at these events because it’s unusual to find big brands like PENNY there.”
Pfeiffer says this new approach is part of a three-year plan with the brand. “The first year was all about testing. Next year is all about improvements and taking the learnings from the first year to another level. Last but not least, the issue of scalability and the long-term implementation should also not be ignored.”
Read the European Festival Report in full below.
Flow Festival plans revamp after record year
Finland’s Flow Festival is planning a shake up of its formula as it builds from a position of strength following its biggest edition yet in 2022.
Organisers of the Superstruct-backed festival, which welcomed 90,000 visitors to the post-industrial Suvilahti area in Helsinki over three days last summer, unveiled their first raft of acts for 2023 last month.
Set for 11-13 August, the line-up will include FKA Twigs, Caroline Polachek, Suede, Devo, Amyl & The Sniffers, Shygirl, Jockstrap and 070 Shake. Three-day tickets cost €225, with gold passes priced €345.
“The festival is shaping up really well,” Flow Festival creative director Tuomas Kallio tells IQ. “We are super-happy with some of the bookings for 2023. The effects of Covid, as well as geopolitical changes in Europe, affected international sales in 2022, so we are now looking forward to those numbers bouncing back in 2023 and welcoming even more visitors to Helsinki this August.
“Also, we are very excited to be able to use the festival area in the current, well-tested and iterated formula one more time. After this year, we will see some quite dramatic changes in our festival area, since it will begin to undergo drastic construction and developmental projects.
“Our 2022 was a successful return in numerous measures”
Kallio explains that a number of major production and technical changes are already in the works.
“Our biggest tent provider is new and the Main Stage structure will also change this year,” he says. “Otherwise our festival concept and vision remains the same it has been from the very beginning: to create a responsible high-quality and international festival, that is first and foremost a content-driven overall experience.”
The 2022 festival hosted more than 150 artists including Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Gorillaz, Florence + the Machine, Burna Boy, Michael Kiwanuka, Jamie xx and Princess Nokia.
“Our 2022 was a successful return in numerous measures,” he says. “We made our sales record with a sold-out attendance of 90,000 and nearly 50,000 unique visitors during the three-day festival weekend. One of the absolute highlights was the new indoor art space we introduced at the festival area. Our festival is held at an old power plant area and has some amazing protected buildings from the beginning of the 20th century.”
Kallio opens up on his hopes and concerns regarding the wider festival market.
“There are festival and concert operators who are unfortunately ready to lose a lot of money to book certain acts”
“After Covid, a lot of artist tours have become dramatically shorter than before and thus, the competition even harder,” he says. “There are festival and concert operators who are unfortunately ready to lose a lot of money to book certain acts. This makes ever-raising artist fees even higher and, at times, unfeasible for a healthy festival market in Europe. A ‘multistage music lover’-based concept with a lot of various artists becomes financially harder compared to the years before Covid.”
In closing, Kallio stresses Flow’s commitment to retaining its status as a forerunner in festival sustainability, standing among the world’s first carbon-neutral festivals in its scale since 2009.
“The carbon footprint of Flow Festival Helsinki has been calculated and compensated for over a decade, but in 2021, this work was taken up a notch as a more extensive research project into the sustainability of the festival was launched in collaboration between Flow Festival ltd. and D-mat ltd,” he says.
“This research has, for the first time, captured the material footprint in addition to the carbon footprint of the festival and advanced the calculation of the carbon footprint to include indirect emissions related to the festival as widely as possible. This provides a more comprehensive view into the environmental impact of Flow Festival Helsinki than earlier, and presents the opportunity to reduce the environmental impacts holistically with new solutions targeting the key hotspots in terms of the festivalʼs sustainability.”
“A big part of sustainability for us is also to take into consideration the social side of it”
He continues: “A big part of sustainability for us is also to take into consideration the social side of it. This means promoting equality, safety, diversity, and accessibility. As an employer, we expect our entire staff, as well as our associates and distributors, to adhere to the same values. We also have developed an equality plan and a code of conduct that all our staff and subcontractors commit to following.
” We also participate in the European Keychange initiative. In 2022, approximately 55 % of the groups that performed at Flow had women and non-binary members. For some years, we have also worked with Startup Refugees, a non-profit voluntary network supporting refugees and immigrants with employment and entrepreneurship in Finland.
“All in all, we think creating a high-quality, comprehensive festival experience and working towards a more sustainable future can and should be mutually inclusive.”
Finland’s live association appoints Sami Kerman as CEO
Finland’s Event Industry Association (Tapahtumateollisuus) has appointed Sami Kerman as CEO, effective 16 January 2023.
In his new role, he will be responsible for the organisation’s advocacy and influence work, as well as managing its operations and finances.
Founded during the pandemic, Events Industry Association’s members include more than 260 companies and organisations in the event industry.
Kerman joints the organisation from the Finnish Fire Protection Association where he was communications and public relations manager.
He has also worked as a special assistant to the minister of the interior Maria Ohisalo from 2019 to 2021, and has a master’s degree in production economics.
“The event industry needs its own growth programme in Finland and the operating conditions of the industry must be improved”
“Kermani has versatile social networks and strong political decision-making skills,” says Pekka Timonen, chairman of the board of the Event Industry Association. “He gets to start in a situation where the industry is making a strong return to its pre-corona growth career.”
“The event industry needs its own growth programme in Finland and the operating conditions of the industry must be improved. We need effective and long-term advocacy because the importance of the sector as a factor in employment and tax revenues is still not sufficiently understood.”
Kerman adds: “It is extremely exciting to get involved in building the success story of the event industry. The events have a huge significance not only for the economy and employment but also for people’s social well-being. The corona restrictions have been overcome, but there is a lot of work to be done in the development of labour availability and industry legislation, as well as in establishing and strengthening the position of the industry association.”