When love, solidarity and awareness went hybrid

by | Oct 11, 2021

Article #2 in TicketCo’s ongoing series on hybrid events

When the Swedish reggae festival Öland Roots didn’t accept to cancel yet another year due to the pandemic, Hybrid was the solution. And with a full scale camera production Öland Roots flew to new heights.

“The thought of two inactive years in a row was unbearable, so last winter we decided to go through with the 2021 Öland Roots more or less no matter what. At that time the maximum capacity for live events in Sweden was only eight people, so a hybrid festival with a high quality camera production was our only option,” said one of the festival’s coordinators, Linus Grebäck von Melen of Öland Roots.

It was a decision that proved to be successful for the Swedish reggae festival.

Founded in 2004

Öland Roots started back in 2004, and the festival has grown organically over the years to a physical capacity today of 7,000. Situated at the island Öland with a population of 25,000 the festival makes a big footprint in its local area every summer. Then the pandemic disrupted the huge physical gathering of reggae enthusiasts from all over Sweden, and made the footprint even bigger.

“We took an early decision to go through with the 2021 festival, and we knew we had to be agile to succeed and quickly adapt to the rapidly changing regulations. These days, I think that the ability to adapt to the unexpected is the key to success. Most of our work in the planning was to make solutions to build an avent that was highest class either with 8 or 800 in the audience,” said Mr von Melen. “And to go hybrid was the only way to make this come true.”

A true hybrid festival

At the actual time of Öland Roots 2021 the capacity for live events in Sweden was raised to 600 seated participants. To scale up to this size was never an option for the festival due to the huge logistics involved and also due to restricted mobility across their core audience. Instead they applied for a capacity of 350 which was granted by the authorities.

“A normal year the festival runs over a period of four days and 2021 we went for eight eavnings, which led to the total amount of visitors we could invite were alost equal to a regular year. Just split up over time instead of all visitors there in place together.”

On top of the physical tickets they then did an open-for-all pay-per-view digital festival with a professional multi camera production. The ticket sales for both the physical and the virtual version of the festival was arranged through TicketCo – making Öland Roots 2021 a true hybrid festival.

High quality camera production

“We have been using Scenteknik Kalmar as our technical supplier since the very start of the festival, and over the years they have been growing alongside us to become a first class provider for the event industry. Professional camera production is a normal part of festival and big arena concert these days, and therefore a natural part of their portfolio. So it was easy for us to include this in our order for the 2021 festival,” said the festival coordinator.

The camera productions included both a front stage crane and moveable digital cameras on the stage that was moved from the truck, and the live stream was broadcasted through TicketCo Media Services and available globally.

Video-on-demand

“The main challenge with our live stream was not the production itself, but to capture the feeling of a live audience when the actual audience was limited to 500, all seated. I’m very pleased with the end result, which was so good that we now are planning to make it available as video-on-demand.

“I’m also pleased with the virtual ticket sales. We were expecting a hesitant virtual audience since there is no risk of missing out when there is an unlimited number of tickets available. Still people purchased more or less straight away after the tickets were released. And the best part is that we now have the possibility to let our crowd experience the festival from home, all over the year. Which also give us some extra income to make next year’s festival even better.”

Summing it all up

When summarising their 2021 experiences as a hybrid festival, Linus Grebäck von Melen of Öland Roots draws these conclusions:

  • We reached a wider audience than we normally do
  • We created new revenue streams and secured a most welcome revenue from the virtual ticket sales
  • We built new knowhow both within our organisation and amongst our suppliers
  • We kept our brand alive and even strengthened it during difficult times
  • We strengthened our position as an innovative festival. In 2019 we were the first major reggae festival with an all female line-up; a story which made it all across the globe and even was picked up by the daily press in Jamaica. Our hybrid 2021 festival proved us once again to be trailblazing.
  • We contributed in keeping music alive and making people happy

Needless to say, Öland Roots are planning for yet another hybrid festival in 2022.

Linus Grebäck von Melen is educated in digital media distribution and have been working with project management and video productions for over 15 years. Mostly live music productions, but also youtube, education and content video managing. If you are aiming to raise your digital presence and/or need a specialist to consult in this area that also has been spending hours in TicketsCo’s environment. We recommend you to contact him at Linus@PeasByPeas.com

Written by Tom Rasmussen

Chief Communication Officer at TicketCo. Experienced public relations adviser and strategic narrativ creator with a broad background as promotor, manager and producer from the arts and entertainment industry. Also background from publishing and public administration. Hibernating novelist and retired drummer.

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