Impressions From BIME’s Festival Congress

For the third time, the Congreso de Festivales was part of BIME, Oct. 27. Pollstar’s European correspondent was on site. 

The main theme of this year’s edition was fan engagement, or what Luis Miguel Barral, adviser to the conference, calls “beyond the lineup thinking.” Jordi Herreruela of Cruilla Festival in Barcelona talked about how to stay competitive as a small local festival.

The promoter knows he cannot compete with the two big Barcelona events – Primavera Sound and Sonar – in terms of the lineup.

 “Being festival fans ourselves, we approach events in a more complex way: what if a festival was a place where we are not only attendants but also participants? We want our attendants to help us create magical nights around the music and shows,” Herreruela explained. To properly include festivalgoers into the event, “we need to know much more about every single person in the audience. If we get to know them personally, we will be able to think of them as individuals, and not just as a number of people who like this or that artist,” he said.

Herreruela utilizes data for what he calls the “hyper segmentation” of his audience. “Once we can learn about who they are, their preferences and choices, we can approach every single person in a unique way. For example, we will know who’s celebrating their birthday at the festival, and maybe we can arrange a special celebration for them. We can create something particularly for those in our audience who are over 60 years old.

We can be aware of how many people come from a certain location so that we can offer them a collective shuttle service.” In short, Herreruela intends to make all of the 25,000 guests that attend Cruilla at Barcelona’s Parc del Fòrum feel like VIPs. Eduardo Prádanos, CEO of innovation agency Fluor, spoke about turning a festival into a proper brand. He took the premiere of Utopia Festival as an example, which took place in Madrid, June 4-5. It had David Guetta, Alesso, Martin Solveig, Armin Van Buuren and more on the bill, and welcomed 30,000 visitors to its first edition.

Utilizing almost 90 presentation slides, Prádanos took the audience through each step of conceptualizing a festival, from conducting surveys to find out what acts people wanted to see to creating an identity for the festival, which included finding a slogan and establishing the festival’s ideology. People had to be in fear of missing out, once the event was imminent. Martín Pérez is the director of Millenni Festival in Barcelona, which takes place over seven months each year.

The 18th edition is under way Nov. 3 to May 20, 2017, with close to 40 concerts taking place in a selection of Barcelona’s venues and theaters, such as the Sala Apolo, the Palau de la Musica or the Teatre Victoria.

Pérez explained how he maintained a continuous relationship with the audience over such a lengthy time period. The aim was to inspire the organizers of more traditional two or three-day events how to keep their audience engaged throughout the year.

Javier Recuenco could help with that. The CEO of advertising agency Singular Targeting came up with an algorithm to target the right people with the right message at the right time and in the right context. Barral told Pollstar after the conference: “We have the interests of promoters at heart. It was the third edition, and I think they’re going to return next year, because they can make contact not just with their Spanish colleagues but also with new ideas.”