A day in Orange
On October 14th 2017 the kickoff event of the new event series called SYNTHETIC ORANGE will take place at the Substage Café in Karlsruhe. Today Bernd Welter, the founder of the event will give us some insights: Why and how did the project start and evolve? Why does he perform webcasts with the bands? What did he learn during the evolution and what is his regular job?
Bernd, tell us how the project started – how did you raise the idea?
In the recent years I visited festivals and concerts in various cities such as the Wave Gothik Treffen in Leipzig and the AMPHI in Cologne. Furthermore I joined some smaller events such as the Electronic Summer in Gothenburg, the ISYNTH in the french city called Lille and lust but not least the Kasemattenfestival in Wernigerode. Especially those small festivals have been very inspiring as the size of the audience wasn’t that crowded.
This triggered my wish to have something similar in my own region or even in my hometown Karlsruhe. While some local clubs play my favourite music others offer concerts but none combine both. So I simply want to close that gap: my kind of music performed live on stage in my hometown. I already asked some of the bands in 2015 whether they would like to perform in Karlsruhe and they all responded in a positive manner. This year some friends and I managed to establish the event. It is great fun to experience all those challenges that belong to the party such as the design of flyers, the printing of shirts and of course to approach popular bands via email or even phone.
You perform webcasts with the bands, too. How did you start with this idea?
I am used to websessions in my regular job, e.g. if I evaluate applicants for a job before I invite them to physical meetings to Karlsruhe. Of course it is too much effort to fly to London for a 1:1 meeting of 30minutes but in fact this isn’t necessary in times of internet. One of the specialities of the SYNTHETIC ORANGE festival is the community approach. So I thought of providing the webcasts as some public streaming sessions. They will also be recorded and put on social media channels afterwards. During the preparation I was on a 4 months business project allocated in Paris so I had to arrange lot of things from over there.
But it didn’t make any difference – the other players weren’t located in Karlsruhe anyway. The bands of the kickoff event are coming from the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands and so those websessions make us all move closer. Sometimes I don’t speak with the band members themselves but with their management and I have to introduce them into the philosophy of the SYNTHETIC ORANGE events. But finally it is the music of the bands that has to match the project. But I also hope to link the audience to the human individuals behind the melodies.
Is SYNTHETIC ORANGE the first event organized by you?
It is definitely the first one of that size and character. I never had to sell tickets or to design flyers. In my regular job and company these tasks are fulfilled by specialized marketing teams. Now I trigger all these actions by myself, I can decide and influence the progress. I have a lot of spontaneous ideas how I can push the event. The Substage Café offers space for about 300 people and I am quite curious whether we can manage to fill this space with live. I also founded a small company just to have a serious base for the kickoff and future events.
The goal is to provide concerts every six months if the audience is happy with that. But for now it is all about learning and I am just extremely happy about the contribution of the bands and my friends who help with advice, ideas and feedback. It wouldn’t be possible to offer the event without this large network of befriended experts in legal, financial and creative fields. And if the Substage hadn’t pushed me to create the small business I would have missed many extremely interesting experiences during the recent months.
What did you learn during the organisation so far? Are there tasks you’d perform in a different manner seeing back to the project history?
Definitely. There are several topics I’ll change for the second approach in April. I learned a lot and can’t wait to perform those improvements. For example I will look for a well known headliner which enables the project to gain attention of audience in a larger area. I want to approach a wider range of listeners, not only friends, experts and Karlsruhers. I think we can win people from further away such as from Frankfurt or the Alsace.
I made some mistakes when I approached some bands and so I probably lost connection to some of the bigger players including some of my favourite ones. But even the management of other band helps because they know how hard it is to establish the party. Another example is the evolution of the flyer design which is a funny story itself: too small fonts (remember: target group 40+, no joke), poor texts – sometimes I burned some bunch of Euros with almost no effect – but learning. But that’s part of the game of project management: create a plan, start to act, identify wrong turns and react to get back on track. If you want to be successful with something new it is necessary to practise, to understand and to learn. Currently I am in the storming phase, but I will improve the processes and so the project can grow. I’m looking forward to handle the facebook advertising more efficient, approach the proper target group and so on. Lot of people think I’ll just loose money but for me it is about winning expertise.
What is your regular job? Is there a connection between this job and SYNTHETIC ORANGE?
In my regular job I am working as a technical consultant and manager at a software company located in the Karlsruher Oststadt. My targets are knowhow transfer and project management with an international scope. So this is quite similar to the organization of concerts with bands from different countries. Identifying and delegating tasks is what I’m used to and I can benefit from those required skills in both spheres. I also learn a lot which I can use in both worlds and the private project pushes me to be successful in the regular job. For example I started to see marketing tasks with a new perspective. I use online surveys, flyers and also guerillia marketing. Some weeks ago I carried my orange armchair to the Turmberg terracce. I dropped the chair in public, played some of the band songs via phone and mobile speakers and asked pedestrians how they experienced the music. This cheeky way of marketing pushes the project and it helps to be successful. And it provides also a lot of fun: suddenly a guy approached me mentioning the music and when he said „I know that band, Vile Electrodes perform in Karlsruhe soon, I already have tickets and can’t wait to see them live – it is so rare“ this was thrilling feedback for me!
Images: © BERND WELTER