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#TBF24 Q&A: Exploring new frontiers for festivals

With TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2024 just weeks away, we caught up with global festival pioneer Andrea Galasso, following her successful role in Tomorrowland’s return to Brazil.

Andrea has worked in the creative industries for more than 25 years, as leader or senior manager in medium or large-scale entertainment and corporate events. She has worked alongside multiple players in Latin America, Europe, US, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia. Her involvement includes engaging in strategic and operational planning for events, setting up teams, and overseeing different areas of these projects.

Since 2014, Portugal-based Andrea has been particularly involved with the international music festival sector, helping to take festival brands such as Electric Zoo and Milkshake to Brazil. Her most permanent engagement has been with the Brazilian editions of Tomorrowland.

Here, Andrea tells us about the challenges of taking this huge festival brand to a new continent and why the live events sector should be taking a closer look at retail’s deployment of social media as a selling tool…

What have you been focused on recently?

Andrea Galasso: “After a seven-year absence, we managed to launch a new edition of Tomorrowland in Brazil, last October. We had two wonderful editions in 2015 and 2016, but there was a gap in which the Tomorrowland experience couldn’t be taken to the country. By the end of 2021 we resumed movements to bring back the project to Brazil.

“When we finally put all the pieces together, we had just 11 months to open doors, so it was a roller-coaster of emotions! We had to speedily hire the team, organise processes, set up the ticket sales, align communication, deal with suppliers and partners, create marketing campaigns… it was ‘everything all at once’.

“We opened our doors last October with more than 60.000 visitors per day. The 2023 edition brought us many challenges, but also many achievements, which we are all very proud of.”

What are your expectations and wishes for 2024?

AG: “Since the return of the live events, there has been an explosion of activities everywhere in which promoters and audiences alike engaged in. Right now, we know there is a lot of moving parts in the entertainment market, and we are still figuring out which direction the consumer behavior will take. My hope is that the entertainment industry may continue being creative, dynamic, and appealing to the audiences, promoting memorable experiences.”

What’s the next challenge for you and your team?

AG: “We faced many challenges during the production of the Tomorrowland Brazil 2023 edition, as much as we were able to provide great experiences to our visitors. After October we took the time to reflect upon the whole process and apply the learnings in the 2024 planning. We promoted many encounters, meetings, and workshops to examine in detail what worked and what didn´t work. Now is the time in which this whole assessment is being used to organize the 2024 edition of the festival.

“Since I live in Lisbon and the team in Brazil is gaining stability, I will assume a more mentoring role and explore new possibilities for other projects, some of them connected to social initiatives. Without being involved in the daily local operation, it will be an opportunity to scan and study the entertainment market – a period to explore new possibilities and to get in contact with emerging trends.”

What are you evaluating for future adoption?

AG: “I think there is an untapped field related to the integration of digital tools to presential events. The creative industry, and particularly the entertainment business, still has a lot to explore in terms of enhancing the experience of the visitor. Events can embrace digital innovations, by leveraging immersive technologies like augmented reality, for instance. Or implementing event-specific mobile apps, interactive installations, and personalisation options which fosters a sense of community.

“The connections start with the digital communications, evolves into the ticket buying experience, keeps momentum through constant dialogue and can be transformed into a full experience when the event happens.”

What’s exciting in entertainment eCommerce right now?

AG: “The facial recognition integration with ticketing and access control is something that has been capturing my attention. This is a feature that may help the whole operation in different directions: speed of access and security check, for instance. Also, interactive, and personalised tools (3D seat preview, virtual venue tour) are some of the features I always find interesting to add to the buying experience.

“And finally, the entertainment industry has a lot to learn from retail, in terms of use of social media as selling tools. Driving traffic to ticketing sites, pushing and promoting tickets, inviting spectators to post the event to which they have purchased a ticket should be some practices the industry could adopt.”

Explore the future of ticketing with Andrea Galasso and hundreds of industry leaders at #TBF24 at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, from April 16-17. BOOK TODAY