If you would prefer to read instead of watching our short video, here is the transcript of the conversation between Mike and Mal Gilvar:
Mike: Thanks everybody for joining another session of The Bottom Line with TTG. I’m here today with Mal and we’re going to talk about the Festivalization of Events. Mal, you just came back from Bitcoin.
Mike: And I watched a preliminary video that our guys had done and it looks like it’s nontraditional in that there’s an indoor component, outdoor component, parties. It didn’t look like a typical event. Explain what was going on and how they made it cooler.
Mal: It certainly wasn’t a typical trade show like we like to think of trade shows, although they had that component as well. But I think part of it is the audience. You know, a younger audience today wants more than just walking up and down the aisles. They want a more tactile experience. They want to be entertained as well as being able to learn and nurture.
Mike: You think if there’s a takeaway there though for any event organizer that I mean, you know being an old ******* like me, I still want to go and have a good time, right?
Mal: Sure! Sure, and I think everybody had a good time. And when you see some of the things that we produced at this event were just really remarkable.
Mike: And what kinds of things were out there?
Mal: Crazy stuff like Sumo wrestlers that were outside, there was a huge outdoor component; a basketball court, a halfpipe. Tony Hawk, the famous skateboarder was doing that. And these are all things happening around the main event happening on the inside, which was the trade show and the stage where they had all the keynote speakers.
Mike: But we’re talking about Miami, in June I’m assuming it was hotter than hell outside.
Mal: It was indeed.
Mike: I mean were people out there enjoying these things?
Mal: Definitely. I mean, you would see people shuttle back and forth from inside to outside venues, but it truly was a festival experience and that is what the client was going for was to create an experience that was much like a festival. And I think that audience just appreciates that a lot more than just kind of the tried and true stayed environment of a typical trade show.
Mike: And was it a free flow between the exhibit hall and the outdoor experiential, or what was it: here’s experiential time and here’s trade show time?
Mal: It was free flow, it was absolutely just like a festival where you can roam in and out at your leisure. Really, what it was is the indoor spaces were fairly traditional. We even did something that was really unique. We curated artists from all over the world to create Bitcoin related art, and we created a huge artist gallery where it was displayed and it was absolutely beautiful.
Mike: Wow, and then that draw a crowd? People were interested in that?
Mal: That was one of the most popular things that the whole event.
Mike: Interesting and what about the party and what was the purpose of the party?
Mal: The party is called the Whale Party. The folks who were big wigs in the Bitcoin world refer to themselves as whales and we did an ocean theme when we had all sorts of scenic elements that we created; a ship. A huge whale’s tail at a number of different things. I mean, incredible party over two floors, indoor, an outdoor element with dancers and a famous DJ. It was really pretty amazing.
Mike: And it sounds amazing from the standpoint that you know most organizers who have been creating trade shows for 25 and 30 years haven’t gotten there yet. How was it that this group was able to recognize to have longevity? They gotta create something memorable that people want to come back to. What was it about this kind of things?
Mal: They really felt like their audience would resonate with and based on the fact that they were selling tickets for as much as $20,000 for the Whale Party alone. Goes to tell you that this was something that people were really excited about and really wanted to go to. And I think if you’re going to just a trade show event, you’re not going to be able to get those kind of ticket prices.
Mike: So what’s the bottom line? What’s the takeaway for other event organizers?
Mal: The bottom line is today’s business people are getting younger. Obviously, it happens over time and those people are looking for a much more experiential, tactile experience. Festivalization of an event is a great way to attract those people.
Mike: Awesome, thanks, Mal. Thanks, everybody for joining this session of The Bottom Line with TTG and we’ll see you soon on the next session.