EUROPA CANTAT XXI Staff – from Slovenia to Estonia

Members of the organisation staff of the EUROPA CANTAT XXI Festival 2021 in Ljubljana, Slovenia vistiting the EUROPA CANTAT XX Festival 2018 in Tallinn, Estonia, in July-August 2018.

“To attend a choral festival with almost 6000 participants is a unique opportunity itself and to be a part of the staff even more so. You get behind the scenes and see what makes it or breaks it. Experiences gathered there make an incredible input to the preparations of the next festival in 2021 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, that we are going to organize. Our main goal was to work, observe as many different things as possible and to learn from success and mistakes.

We were a part of the festival and music office staff, trying to manage different tasks: at participants’ registration, at the information point, attending meetings of the different working groups, conductors, and evaluations and taking care of the promotion of the next festival – including reception for numerous international guests.

The festival itself was held in an outstanding choral country and the musical richness they were able to share was amazing. The ateliers and other music programs were rich in the content and diversity. The selection of atelier leaders/musicians was very good.

From the outside most of the things went very well and participants were happy, but there are some things we would like to improve for the next edition:

Staff, volunteers and management:

  • More people to work on a project /less working time per person. This way you avoid overworked and exhausted people that start to lack enthusiasm and make mistakes.

    Slovenian staff exchange and YEMP participants

  • Make more use of a time at the YEMPers program for getting to know the festival’s structures, departments’ tasks, city and venues in general. Find the positions for YEMPers sooner (applications and letters of recommendation can already tell you generally where they are good at and interested in) and make them a part of the team sooner.
  • Add middle management between offices’ heads and YEMPers (for example technical director, logistics director, IT person. marketing) and make them responsible for non-critical decisions. Only crisis could be a task for the office managers.

Logistics:

  • Free public transport – great solution!
  • registration (more people with complete access to database , make sure all the contractors are present at the registration to solve problems (T-shit providers …); common meals,
  • venues and equipment check to be done latest one day before the activity starts;
  • venue managers from hosting country

Communication:

  • visibility of the festival in the city (banners, visible flags/signs, posters …)
  • make an app with all the info for smartphone users
  • communication strategy is extremely important
  • festival book: not too many information and simple structure, include information for disabled access
  • prepare a protocol for volunteers (venues checkup, meet&greet participants, conductors, visitors, responsibilities list)
  • technical riders for all activities

Merchandise:

  • Be prepared that people like to buy festival gadgets also as presents
  • Sell items from budget to more valuable, have a variety

 

The Staff Exchange was extremely valuable opportunity for us to have a better idea about the proportions of this event and taking appropriate steps towards the next festival. There’s never ever been an event of this size with no problems. We expect to get our own but hope we learned many valuable lessons that will be helpful to be prepared and able to solve ours the best way possible.”

 

Mihela Jagodic

Republic of Slovenia Public Fund for Cultural Activities