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Blown Away Fest Blown Away Fest: The festival that triggers all senses

When you hear your favorite song in your car, at home or at a party, you definitely feel a positive vibe. But what brings on this vibe? Music makes you feel happy, it is a way to express yourself and to connect with others. About 92% of the GenY’ers talks about the music they heard. This shows the importance of music to them. But let’s admit it, you probably would not feel the same way if you heard a performance of a symphony orchestra?! That’s not that unusual; in fact the audience of the symphony orchestras around the world is getting older. Therefore it is important to attract GenY’ers, so symphony orchestras can continue to exist. Which is why the youth brand ‘Blown Away’ came to life in 2012.

This is where analogue meets digital. Where traditional meets new. Where the unpolished meet the established. This is Blown Away Fest”. These words explain the idea behind the Advanced Culture Fest Blown Away. They try to make culture and classical music approachable again for GenY’ers (23-35 year) by mixing music, art and food in a way that visitors are completely blown away by the high entertainment value of the event. The brand came to life through the co-creation between First Day Of Spring and a network of Young Influentials.

We asked our network of Young Influentials about the barriers of going to a classical concert. Based on those insights, the ‘Blown Away’ concept was 100% co-created with these Young Influentials. From brand values, brand name and visual identity to the full cultural festival-format.” says Evert-Jan Heijmans, Strategy Director at First Day of Spring.

The underlying idea totally fits with one of the new trends of 2014, namely serendipity. These days, people in our society are feeling an increasing need for the unexpected, for fun discoveries and for surprises so as not to get bored. It will not come as much of a surprise to you that the 2013 edition took place at a unique location: a submarine hangar in Rotterdam. To get there, the visitors had to take a boat in the center of Rotterdam, to discover soon after that it was not exactly how they expected it to be… Watch the trailer of the 2013 edition.

For 12 hours, more than 250 cultural organizations, performers and artists provide creative expositions in 3 warehouses: Advanced Music, Advanced Art and Advanced Food. What follows is a bit more detailed about these 3 different parts.

1. Advanced Music warehouse

The special thing about the festival is the combination of techno with classical music. Combining different music styles that we do not expect to fit together is a huge challenge. GenY’ers will discover that prejudices are not always true. Thanks to this new experience, people will associate classical music with fun, surprises and good feelings. The dowdy image of classical music will eventually disappear, which will possibly give classical music a new boost! The climax of the last edition was the collaboration between the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Techno producers Secret Cinema and Stimming. Furthermore there will be a silent disco with 3D animation and a 4D sound system stage. GenY’ers will love it! They will feel more connected with the music by seeing and feeling the music in different ways. Egbert, Secret Cinema, Eelke Kleijn, SQL, Mental Youth, Michael Prins and Roberto Caroso are only a few of the artists from the 2013 edition.

Blown Away Music warehouse

2. Advanced Art warehouse

The second warehouse is a gathering of advanced art. Creative and cultural partners create experiences by combining visuals, interactive sculptures, theatre, dance, dark movies, interactive performances, video art, surrealist art installations and so on. It is enriching to see all these kinds of art together in one place. Last year they organized the “Blown Away container contest”, whose winner was invited to show his talent during the festival. The target group was involved with the concept development as well as with the performance. GenY’ers like to be a part of something bigger. Through this involvement, their co-creation need was fulfilled. A few creative partners of the 2013 edition: EYE Film Institute, Ted Langenbach & Pietra Lingura (Now & Wow) and ARTtube.

Blown Away Art warehouse

3. Advanced Food warehouse

Festival = Food! But for me, food is not just about eating. It is a moment of talking and laughing with my friends. So why not create stuff to talk about? Blown Away Fest takes eating to the next food pleasure level. Several creative chefs serve fair future food and create a full experience on a 30-meter long surrealist dining table which at the same time is also used as a stage for special acts. It must be fascinating: while you are eating, the tablecloth is moving and you don’t know what is happening.

Blown Away Food warehouse

The success of the festival does not only originate from its unique concept and the co-creation with GenY’ers. As they know their target group well, the organizers trigger their senses with the right communication tools such as social media (Facebook page), a viral marketing campaign that arouses curiosity and posting blog posts on the website to create interaction with the audience. But that’s not all! They also work together with brand advocates who spread the unique content of the festival to their followers and connections. Singer-songwriter Ai Ming Oe, blogger Valentio Dekker and international photographer Denise Boomkens are a few of these ambassadors. An overview of the communication tools is available online.

We involved our Young Influentials also in the communication phase of Blown Away. A team of young brand advocates was created who spread all unique content with their networks offering a ripple effect in the target group.” Evert-Jan Heijmans

I think you should experience it yourself, because one thing is for sure: the urge for serendipity is definitely fulfilled by Blown Away. You can expect the unexpected. According to Evert-Jan Heijmans, the next edition will be even more spectacular as they will work with more cultural organizations and artists. You probably half expect Blown Away Fest to take place at a new unique location to create a new experience atmosphere – and it will. The previous editions were already a big success. There were twice as many visitors in 2013, actually 5,000 GenY’ers, compared to the year before and it was a complete sell-out.

From the start we laid out a grow scenario and so we want to continue to grow, aiming for 10,000 enthusiastic GenY’ers for the 2014 edition!” Evert-Jan Heijmans

Like I said at the beginning, the brand ‘Blown Away’ came to life because the audience of symphony orchestras around the world is getting older. Well, research indicates that Blown Away Fest has managed to improve the appreciation of classical music and culture among GenY’ers. They reached their goal! 

Are you ready to be blown away at the 2014 edition? I certainly am!

Blown Away Fest 2014

Posted in Music