Creating and Managing a Festival: an interview with Germany's "See Us There" Festival founders
We sat down with Carsten aka DJ Meat and Clarissa, founders and organisers of one of Offenbach’s most successful festivals: See Us There.
According to Careercast and many other sources, event management is considered one of the most stressful jobs in the world, preceded only by professions like military, fire-fighter, pilot and police. This says it all about the level of coordination, pressure and expectations that involve organising any type of event.
Recently we sat down with Carsten (also known as DJ Meat) and Clarissa, founders and organisers of one of Offenbach’s most successful festivals: See Us There. The event will turn 10 years in 2020 and during the last editions hosted artists like Martin Buttrich, Cassy, Christian Burkhardt, Magda, Karotte and many more.
Musicngear: Hi Carsten! Formal record shop owner, DJ and of course event organiser. Honestly, how do you manage to do everything to such an amazing standard all the time?
Meat: I guess first of all you need to love what you do and secondly you need to stay focused in order to be successful with all your projects and ideas.
This was one of the main reasons why I decided to stop running Freebase record shop after 22 years. I still had many ideas in mind but I was unable to implement them anymore.
When I realized that the store was actually blocking me, I decided to close it in agreement with my partner Chris Wood. This was already a while ago!
Anyway, now I have the time and freedom to be more focused on my DJ career, event managing and of course some other projects. I still love the nightlife and I’m pretty sure that this relationship will last forever. Ιt is a great buzz when you are 100% in control of your emotions, this makes you feel powerful and strong. I love coming back home on Sunday or Monday and having some time for myself after a great weekend.
Musicngear: Hello Clarissa! Promoter, music lover and super mum. What is your magic trick?
Clarissa: I think it is my passion and my mission to organise things and to be organised ;)
Musicngear: What is the biggest challenge when organising an event?
Meat: My business partner Clarissa and I would agree on the same issue: find the right date at the right time.
See Us There festival is located close to a 4th division football club (Kickers Offenbach) and our event can’t take place the same day of the home games.
This makes it very hard to fix the right date early enough and therefore to book the best artists to fill the line up. In fact, nowadays DJs are booked months, almost years prior to an event.
However, I must admit that in the end we were always able to fix amazing line ups, but it is always hard work.
The second biggest challenge is the actual event itself. There’s always so much to do and so many things to constantly keep in mind…but once the festival is finally over and there were not big problems, you get a massive reward from so many different point of views.
Clarissa: I couldn’t agree more with Carsten: to find the perfect date is always our number 1 challenge, after that it is important to stay focused and always keep the main goal in mind.
Musicngear: In your opinion, what makes an event successful?
Meat: Most of the guests can see and feel if an event is authentic and if it was made by promoters with love and passion. Considering that See Us There is a small-medium size event, you can be a bit less rigid in the decision process and while organising the production. In our case, less is definitely more, that is what keeps our guests coming back every year.
For example, one of the most important points for us is to have friendly & passionate staff, starting already at the entrance with kind and friendly security checks.
Also a big part of See Us There! is the wonderful location. You don’t need much there. It’s almost perfect like it is.
Clarissa: For me it is very simple: the event was successful if our guests had an amazing time and they have a big smile on their face at the end of the night. The general vibe is the most important factor!
Musicngear: What is your favourite part of event managing?
Meat: Of course the day of the event. The nights before See Us There I never sleep well, even tho everything worked fine till then.
On the day of the party, once you see that everything is going well, people are coming, dancing and enjoying it always feels like you’ve done everything right.
When the day comes to the end and everybody’s smiling and happy, that is what makes us happy as well. Especially if during the day there were no technical problems and no aggressive moments (very important!!!).
Happy guests, happy artists, happy staff…you don’t need anything else.
Clarissa: Same here: the day of the event! I especially love the peak time, when the dancefloor is packed and the atmosphere is hot. Nothing beats that feeling
Musicngear: So your baby "See Us There" will turn 10 next year. What can we expect?
Meat: We hope we’ll get our date much earlier compared to the last years. It would help us to surprise everybody with a special 10 years anniversary so that we can prepare the best event ever!
Clarissa: Totally crazy! Our See us there! will turn 10 :)
Who would have thought such a success, especially considering that back in 2010 all we had was 300 guests and a white pavilion.
Anyway, next year there will definitely be more decoration and many more surprises, especially when it comes to the line up. That’s all I can say for now :)
Check out See Us There Festival at https://www.facebook.com/seeusthere/
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