How do you create a special event experience?
On Monday 25 September the event Powering The Future – The Network Sessions was held for the first time. The venue was the Amsterdam ArenA. This event was all about how to create a special event experience. Using the format of a number of interviews with companies like Mojo and Sensation, various aspects of event engineering and experience were discussed.
From individual activity to mass audience event
ESL: Interaction with the target audience
When Electronic Sports League (ESL) was launched in 2000, it was no more than a gathering of gaming enthusiasts. Now the company runs events that fill stadiums and bring together millions of online viewers. ESL’s largest event draws around 4.8 million viewers and some 160,000 visitors.
“We present the players as heroes and give them a stage, online and offline.”
According to Jaap Visser (Managing director of ESL Benelux), eSports have become much more professional in recent years. Their popularity has also grown hugely, both offline and online. This is due mainly to the presentation of the players as heroes; they are given a platform not only offline but also online from which to make contact with their fans. Interaction with the target audience is very important. Take an eSports event, for example. This has become a complete experience. World-famous DJs like Hardwell perform, there will be an exhibition to look round, and companies like BMW will be present with a stand.
This success is due mainly to the combination with Twitch. ESL is the largest content provider for Twitch and reaches a huge audience. These days you can also find ESL on other platforms like YouTube. The challenge ESL is currently addressing is the expansion of eSports to the Netherlands. The fans already know how to find eSports in other countries like England and Germany, but don’t yet in the Netherlands.
FormulaFPV and ZoomIn.TV: Optimising the audience experience In cooperation with FormulaFPV, ZoomIn.TV is launching the Drone Racing World Series, in which drone pilots will compete for the world title. These drone races bring together the best drone racing pilots from across the world and millions of fans in local communities.
Lars Sang Mo Boom is Event Producer at FormulaFPV. FormulaFPV promotes and organises FPV drone racing. The sport is becoming increasingly popular. According to Lars Sang Mo Boom, some 1,500 people in the Netherlands are involved in drone racing. This is still a very young sport, said Lars, so the company has only just begun its activities. He sees opportunities for optimising the audience experience, including how the audience sees and can experience the speed and flight lines of the drones. According to Lucas van der Eerde (Zoomin.TV), if drone racing events are to become successful, two major challenges must be tackled. First, how do you draw the largest possible crowd to the stadiums, and, secondly, how do you make the event as attractive as possible to media organisations.
An audience member asked how difficult it is to make your own drone. According to Lars, it is easy to make a drone these days. All you need is a starter’s kit and an instructional video on YouTube.
Creating a spectacular event
Arcadia: immersive experiences
Arcadia Spectacular was founded by Pip Rush and Bertie Cole. Two school friends whose goal was to give partygoers a bigger experience and to get them more involved in the event. ‘The Spider’ is the largest and most radical machine built by Arcadia and it can host up to 50,000 people within its arena. The lynchpin of the arcadia ecosystem is a 360- degree, immersive environment built from recycled materials. The Spider is fully rigged with a vast array of effects, from moveable limbs firing dry ice to interactive costumes, to lasers and lighting. Arcadia now appears in cities and festivals all over the world. Read more about its projects here. As well as ‘The Spider,’ the team is working on a number of other projects that are currently in their infancy. They hope to launch two interesting new projects in the coming years.
Lowlands: increasing engagement Every year in August, some 55,000 lowlanders converge on a town in the heart of the Netherlands for A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise, commonly known as Lowlands, a three-day festival packed with music, theatre, film, comedy, literature, street theatre, science and the visual arts. Marcel Surendonk, head of Brand Partnerships at Mojo Concerts explained how he and his colleagues see technology as a way of increasing brand experience among festival-goers. Marcel Surendonk said that the real reason people attend Lowlands is to experience something new. “What we try to do is offer visitors a range of things and let them experience them for themselves.” Sensation: the world’s largest nightclub Sensation has now been held on 5 continents, in 34 countries. More than 2 million people, dressed all in white, have danced to 60 shows with a shared mission: To celebrate life! Sensation, believes, Erik Keijer (Executive Event Director) is the ultimate show. As well as being a cool show, ‘together we create an unforgettable experience’. Besides music, the event involves a great many acrobats and dancers, as well as on-stage fountains. Even the way in which drinks are served is designed to build the evening’s experience. On Saturday 8 July 2017 the very last Sensation took place in Amsterdam. With “The Final” as the theme, the Amsterdam ArenA was transformed one last time into the largest nightclub ever. According to Erik Keijer, they are already busy developing ‘something new’.
About Powering the Future – The Netwerk Sessions
The event on Monday, September 25th was the first edition of Powering The Future – The Network Sessions. Every month a network of innovators gathers in the Amsterdam Innovation ArenA to exchange ideas about innovation in the field of Live Events. The language spoken at these events is English. The events are free of charge, and open to interested professionals from the industry.