Follow the Step co-founder Maciej Korczak has spoken to IQ about the challenging but rewarding launch of new festival On Air.
The inaugural edition took place last weekend in Warsaw and was the Polish promoter’s first outdoor festival in the capital city.
The two-day event debuted at the 70,000-capacity Bemowo Airport, which has hosted concerts from the likes of Madonna and Metallica, as well as three editions of Sonisphere festival between 2010 and 2012.
On Air, meanwhile, saw artists including Tame Impala, Jorja Smith, Celeste and The Kooks perform across two stages at the airport.
“Our main goal is to book A-list artists,” says Korczak. “We are really proud of the line-up – hosting such artists at the first edition of the festival is a dream.
“On Air was already hailed by people and the media as one of the best festivals in Warsaw and Poland.”
“We are really proud of the line-up – hosting such artists at the first edition of the festival is a dream”
Even with a star-studded lineup, a myriad of external issues meant that Follow the Step didn’t sell as many tickets as it hoped for the inaugural edition.
High inflation and a saturated market were key obstacles for the festival, alongside a less-than-ideal weather forecast for the weekend.
“Launching a new festival is never easy, especially in the post-pandemic times,” says Korczak. “The biggest challenge that we faced was that On Air took place at the very end of the festival season and a lot of fans already used their festival budget.
“Normally it wouldn’t be a problem as it’s actually a good time for organising a festival in the capital – people are coming back from holidays and students to the universities – but this year because of the high inflation and because of many festivals and events being moved to this summer due to the pandemic, it meant that tickets were harder to sell this year.
“We also had to allocate a significant portion of the budget to raise awareness among people about the existence of the festival and break through the noise about other summer events that already had their fanbase.”
With that said, Follow the Step has already announced the second edition of the festival, set to take place on 8 and 9 September 2023 at the same location.
In addition to On Air, the Warsaw-based festival and concert agency promoter organises marquee event Fest Festival, based in Chorzów, which this year marked a record attendance.
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