Guido Janssens is determined that Emag!c Entertainment’s third full year as a Romanian promoter will be spent testing how much the market has expanded and how much live entertainment it can take.
The second edition of his B’Estival (July 4-6) – now renamed B’Estfest – will have a second stage with a 15,000 capacity. He’s also starting an all-dayer for rock fans on the same site a few days later, and his company has taken over the running of the country’s Coke Live Festival.
Janssens is also bringing more top-drawing tours to Romania with Emag!c Summer Fest, a series of shows at the 25,000-capacity Cotroceni Football Stadium including Kylie Minogue (May 17), Metallica (July 23), Lenny Kravitz (July 26) and Iron Maiden (August 4).
It adds up to what must be the busiest year the country’s live music business has seen. Extensive sponsorship from local Internet provider Clicknet, Heineken, Renault, Coca-Cola and Raiffheisen Bank means tickets for B’Estfest and Bestfest Aftershock (July 11), which will be headlined by Judas Priest, will be as low as euro 25.
B’Estfest, which was originally called B’Estival but was changed to appease organizers of the British festival with the same name, has Kaiser Chiefs, Alanis Morissette, Cypress Hill, Nelly Furtado, Roisin Murphy, Manu Chao and Manic Street Preachers.
It’s still happening at the Bucharest’s Romexpo complex, although the site has been expanded to include sufficient space for the second stage area.
Janssens has been particularly keen to establish the Emag!c brand, as the company was the target of heavy criticism over a show that had actually been promoted by a rival.
"For a couple of years now the Romanian market has been steadily growing in terms of events with international artists, but also in terms of the number of would-be promoters who have tried to put together such events – many times announcing unconfirmed gigs and letting the public down," Janssens explained.
"We felt the need to differentiate ourselves from such promoters by making it very clear to the public and the sponsors that our events are promoted by Emag!c Entertainment which, I’m happy to say, has become a brand in its own right in Romania."
When Janssens set up the company with his wife Laura and Dutch promoter Leon Ramakers, it was with the intention of providing major U.S. and European touring acts with a safe partner in Romania. He aimed to win the confidence of a country that has no real concept of such an event, other than being accustomed to seeing them flounder or get canceled.
Emag!c will also promote the second edition of the Coke Live Festival (September 12-13), after the soft-drink company invited Janssens to put forward his proposals for the event.
Last year the festival, which takes place on an artificial island at Lacul Morii, was promoted by Sorina Burlacu’s Bucharest-based Events.
"We are convinced that there is room for two major festivals in Bucharest and can now position both festivals in such a way that they will not hinder, but rather help each other," Janssens said, referring to the fact the two events were too close to each other last year.