EFC: Successful Premiere

The first edition of the European Festival Conference, organized by Yourope, welcomed 70 delegates from 18 countries, including two from India, Dec. 2-5. 
in Austria Dec. 2-5. 

A luxurious mountain resort in the east of Austria served as a particularly scenic conference site, where professionals met to talk about the trade’s current hot topics, including health and safety, Europe’s initiative for the creative and culture sector called Creative Europe, waste at festivals, marketing, sponsoring and communications, weather and, of course, cashless and RFID technologies.

The topics were discussed in highly interactive sessions where everybody brought their own experiences to the table. With many major European festivals present – including Exit, Lollapalooza Berlin, OpenAir St. Gallen, Roskilde to name just a few – the sessions resulted in tangible exchange.

Every day saw a set of three short carousel sessions – named after the fact that delegates moved from one room to another in a short period of time – revolving around broader issues like giving festivals an identity or segmenting one’s audience. An important part of the EFC was the formulation of a mission statement signed by European Festival Promoters. As major incidents – Greece crisis, Colectiv tragedy, Paris attacks, refugee crisis – also affected the live entertainment and festival scene, many professionals felt the need to take a stand.

Nana Trandou from Rockwave in Greece or Codruta Vulcu from Artmania in Romania, for example, had to cancel their participation because their countries were still struggling in the light of recent events. The mission statement highlights the promoters’ commitment to positively influence festivalgoers but also politics. It states that the European festival scene intends to be ambassadors for the European idea, and that it vows to do business in a responsible and sustainable manner. It remains to be seen which festival associations besides Yourope will co-sign this statement.

The time at EFC was simply used to formulate an idea. Speaking of Europe, there will be a consultation in Brussels Dec 10-11 where Yourope and other industry players will present ideas to the European Commission, which has allocated euro 1.4 billion for creative and culture sectors in Europe as part of its Creative Europe initiative. The Commission had issued a call for ideas to the creative industries.

Delegates collected their submissions at EFC. Yourope’s members will now take them to Brussels and present them to policy makers. While all participants we spoke to told Pollstar that they got a lot out of the first EFC, its organizers around Huber have not yet committed to repeating it next year.