Fairground Festival: Pioneers in the Metaverse
- Case Studies
The Fairground Festival brought the crème de la crème of the electronic music scene to the Hannover Exhibition Grounds on December 03, 2022. 14,500 guests partied to the beats of headliner Paul Kalkbrenner, special guest Charlotte de Witte and over 30 international DJs at the sold-out event. On rooomEvents a virtual pre-party with local acts was hosted and on site the ravers could step through our rooomPortal into the Metaverse. The event organizers share insights from behind the scenes.
Back in early 2020, the organizers ventured into the virtual festival world with rooom, at the time still known as Beatpatrol in the Austrian party community. The aim was to bring a strong festival brand with Austria’s largest indoor festival to Germany and the Hanover location. Working together with rooom, a visualization of areas for sponsors was planned using 3D technology: The 3D professionals digitized the event location, one of Hannover’s exhibition halls, and then brought it to life virtually. Promotional space could be branded for a visual presentation of sponsorship opportunities, and logos of potential sponsors could be added.
The digital project then reached the next level in early 2022. After the event originally planned for 2020 had already been postponed once due to the pandemic, new restrictions were imposed and it was clear that the live party on site could not take place as planned. So it was all the better that the event location had already been transformed into a walkable 3D space. The organizers decided without further ado to host the festival digitally with an event platform. This way, the party people at the "Beatpatrol Evolution" in March 2022 could celebrate as avatars to a livestream in the virtual exhibition hall despite the contact restrictions.
With a new name and a new approach, the Fairground Festival aims to become the biggest meeting place for fans, friends and family of electronic music in Hannover. In order to be prepared for all circumstances and at the same time benefit from a wider reach, the second edition in December 2022 was planned with a hybrid concept from the very beginning. This meant that the existing event space could be used again – this time for a virtual warm-up party before fans headed to the exhibition grounds. The strategy was also more focused on the regional and national community with the Fairground Festival as a locally rooted identity.
Fairground is not only an English term for exhibition grounds, the special location of the festival, but also the term for a celebration ground, a kind of fun fair or carnival. The organizers want to create a fair playground for everyone and focus on values like diversity, openness, and transparency. The Fairground Festival focuses on fair offers and puts special emphasis on being close to the community and creating experiences that go way beyond what is standard.
“Our goal was to build a barrier- and boundary-free community," says organizer Helge Peterknecht. The rooom platform was perfect for this, as all content was accessible without downloading and without a VR headset. Starting at 12 p.m. on the day of the event, the digital rave playground presented not only exclusive sets by regional DJs, but also a number of interactive features:
- 3D tour of the event’s exhibition halls
- Interaction with dancing live avatars of the guests
- Matchmaking and speed dating via video chat
- Digital chillout lounge
- Gamification: play GuessWhere and collect “Fair-Coins”
- Post selfies on the “Wall of Fame”
In this way, not only gaming-savvy party guests were able to enjoy a digital experience, but also the broad audience.
With the multi-event platform rooomEvents, not only business events but also concerts, festivals and cultural events can be hosted in the Metaverse. The platform has a user-friendly Content Management System (CMS), which makes it easy to edit the content and the program.
And this is what the rave in the Metaverse looked like:
The party area was then opened at 5 p.m. in the sold-out exhibition center in Hanover, where people danced, partied and raved on three large-scale stages until the early morning hours. There was also a touchpoint to the Metaverse on site with the rooomPortal. Stepping through the portal into a virtual space via augmented reality impressed many of the party guests.
With an unparalleled event marketing strategy, the Fairground Festival was able to build an enormous reach within a very short time. On the main channels Facebook and Instagram, more than 1.6 million impressions have been generated since the new brand was launched. Here, they placed great emphasis on emotional communication with a personal touch in order to make the brand more tangible on a human level. The event even attracted the attention of the international press. "We were able to reach guests from Italy, Poland, Israel and even South America," says organizer and Head of Marketing Ina Stöver.
Press commentary on the Fairground Festival
This is truly a special all-around festival experience - Franz Liesenhoff, Head Of Editorial DJ Mag
From Zero to Sold-Out - MGNFY Event Marketing
A unique live experience for every music lover, no matter how extravagant - Radio Sunshine Live
With the virtual part, it was also possible to reach a pioneering position in the industry. Various organizers in the electro scene have already tried their hand at digital parties, including Cologne's cult club Bootshaus and the Metaverse project "Sensorium Galaxy," which has its roots in Ibiza. With the combination of live event and online pre-party, the Fairground Festival tried out a completely new format here. A big advantage of the virtual Fairgrounds: The platform, which is accessible to all, can even expand the reach on an international level.
Despite the success, when talking to the event organizers, there is a feeling that the festival and music industry still struggle with digital solutions. But what are the reasons? One challenge with large virtual events is performance. When several hundred or even thousands of visitors call up the online space at the same time and want to interact with each other via avatar, this takes up a certain amount of computing capacity. This can lead to prolonged loading times or even crashes of the experience for users. To prevent such inconveniences, the organizers opted for a simple but effective avatar system. This made it possible to make optimal use of resources and keep the computing power required by the end users as low as possible.
The topic of mobile usability is also particularly relevant for the target group, which prefers to consume content on a smartphone. Event platforms must therefore be optimized accordingly and make content available on a wide range of devices. And last but not least, the Metaverse and the associated added values have not yet been understood by all consumers - a lot of educational work still needs to be done here. With the Metaverse information stand and rooomPortal, the Fairground Festival has taken the right path to make virtual worlds more comprehensible to the party crowd.
To sum up: The Fairground Festival has done valuable pioneering work in the field of virtual and hybrid festivals. The organizers have led the way boldly and shown what can be achieved with a hybrid party concept. The successful combination of physical and digital elements points the way forward for the event industry. As technology continues to advance, the challenges can also be met even more efficiently in the future. We are working day by day to make the Metaverse accessible to ALL – for the shared dream of a barrier- and boundary-free community.