FEP part 1: the lesson left for brands that want to excel

A trial and error exercise became their formula to be sustainable over time, and their commitment to creating innovative and engaging light experiences became the secret to attract more than 90 thousand attendees from different parts of the world. We tell you what were the successes and mistakes that consolidated the Estereo Picnic Festival as the most important music event in Colombia.

Published on 6 December 2019

FEP part 1: the lesson left for brands that want to excel

“We threw ourselves into the water three times in a row without at least having a very clear plan because we were very young and inexperienced, but we had such hunger that had we been a little more expert and mature, surely we would never have made it. The most logical thing at that time was to stop, but somehow the love for music and concerts made us persevere, and that is what we have here today.”

Sergio Pabón, co-founder of Estereo Picnic Festival

The setting has always been a priority, even in difficult times

In addition to the financial confusion, Sergio says that the stage setting was also done with very limited resources in the first editions. In those days the lighting began to take center stage in music festivals around the world, and the organizers of the Estereo Picnic were very well aware of that. So they got down to work and, given that they had little money for develop the concept, they set to make simple lighting assemblies on their own. Sergio recalls that as a result of a trial and error exercise, after causing several short circuits and ruining luminaries, they could give the party a bit of soul.

Despite the improvisation and simplicity of the assembly, the Estereo Picnic Festival had a very positive response from the attendees, because for the first time they attended a music festival that came out of the mold and followed a very creative line. Today, lighting the event is a much more challenging task considering that the FEP itself raised the expectations of its niche.

“We went from having a home lighting team, to having a complete crew that shows up to the festival with cranes and can solve everything. The arrival of Enel as a supplier of the festival made a giant difference and we had a team of very professional people, who also had a cellar full of all kinds of lighting, and that for us was like being at Disney. We were finally able to set the festival like we wanted.”

Sergio Pabón, co-founder of the Estereo Picnic

The FEP always seeks to outdo its previous version with the next

Rehearsing became their formula for success to materialize a music festival with a Colombian label and with a view to having an international reach, which started with 2,800 tickets sold in 2010 and currently attracts more than 90,000 attendees from all over the country and other parts of the world.

Adapting to change and not resisting evolution has also been vital to conquer their audience. Although at the beginning they opted only for the traditional channels to promote the event, it did not take long to notice that their messages had more impact when they did so through engaging, innovative experiences that involve the attendees.

For example, for this version the FEP flooded the city with billboards that showed clues of the guest artist lineup. In one of them they added twenty-one pilots from the Avianca union to announce Twenty One Pilots. People got active on social media, took pictures of the ads and interacted with each other trying to decipher the riddles.

“We want FEP attendees to come back and bombard their acquaintances with messages that say“ you can't miss that,” and the way we want to achieve it is with lighting, decoration and rare experiences. So when they get there they enter A DIFFERENT WORLD, which is the current slogan of the Festival. Because we want to disconnect them from the reality of their day to day and somehow enter this adult themepark that we want to put up.”

Sergio Pabón, co-founder of Estereo Picnic 

New location, new challenges

Against all odds, the Estereo Picnic grew and the site that served as stage for six consecutive years suddenly was too small. So this year it got moved to the Briceño 18 Golf Course, and with this milestone came a new beginning for the festival.

In contrast to previous years - which the organizers already knew the site as the back of their hand, and therefore could master the organization -, this time the planning and development of the 2019 version assembly started from almost zero, mainly because it was a new space, but also because the golf course is much larger and has more elements in the field. To get an idea, only 40 trees needed to be decorated in the previous site, while approximately 700 were illuminated at the Briceño 18 Golf Course.

“Being at new location meant the entire organization changed and nobody knew it as well as the previous one, where we had been working for several years. In addition, in the field work the challenge increased both for the organizers of the Estereo Picnic, as for our Enel team and the other suppliers and contractors. Although there was an established work plan, many things changed on the go because we noticed that once on the field some elements looked better in a different way, so we adapted to those changes last minute.”

David Ávila, Technical Account Manager of Enel Colombia for the Estereo Picnic Festival.

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