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Festivalisation of events: KeyFrame makes the case in Hamburg

Festivalisation of events is a concept widely discussed in the past two years among corporate event professionals. According to a 2017 Skift megatrends report, ‘The festivalization of meetings trend started with the multidisciplinary programming at SXSW and TED, bringing together thought leaders from different sectors to share their views on driving change in a new era of global connectivity.’ South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, has been running since 1987, so certainly the concept is not new, but as we in the events industry love using new terminology every few years, the term ‘festivalisation’ is the new ‘it’ term for innovating in the corporate event space. 

After being introduced myself only last year to the concept of ‘festivalisation of events’ at the ITB Berlin MICE Forum, with speakers from three events — Bits & Pretzels, Best of Events and CEBIT (which unfortunately was cancelled after the 2018 edition), I’ve had the chance to attend another event recently which makes a business case for ‘festivalisation.’ The event — KeyFrame — took place in Hamburg from 28 February–3 March 2019 and is a perfect example of how an innovative event format for the right audience and in the right city can be seamlessly executed to provide a fruitful ground for creatively, engagement, learning and networking. 

The festivalisation of events

Skift Mega Trends Report 2017 listed festivalisation of events as one of the mega trends that will impact the events industry. But it seems that in Europe we are one step behind the US in identifying and implementing trends. Only in 2018 it comes our way and sees the wider adoption in the events industry.

This year at ITB Berlin MICE Forum festivalisation was one of the key topics and welcomed representatives from three German events: Bits & Pretzels, Best of Events International (BoE) and CEBIT to share their experience. These events are very different from each other, but all understand that their audience is looking for a new way of doing business. Therefore, they needed to introduce innovation before they become irrelevant to their target audience. The session was called Create The New: Creating A Festive Atmosphere At Events and speakers were Henrik Bollmann, Project Manager at Best of Events International, Christian Lohmeier, Producer at Bits & Pretzels and Hartwig von Saß, Head of Cebit Press at Deutsche Messe. Mario Schmidt, Owner at SCHMIDTfabrik-medianetwork moderated the session.