Festivals are a hot trend, not just in the entertainment industry but also in the business world. The average, energy-draining conferences of the past are gone. Say goodbye to endless presentations and stuffy venues. We’ll explain why you should embrace the concept of a dutch “congrestival.” Make the most of it!
A con-gress-ti-val. Indeed, it’s a fusion of congress and festival, essentially a congress in a festival atmosphere. The first dutch “congrestival” was organized back in 2014, but only now is it becoming widely recognized as an enduring event trend. At effectgroep*, we’ve noticed enthusiastic responses from the industry regarding this type of event. For example, we developed the concept and produced the Cupido Festival for CRM Partners.
From the business perspective, there is a growing demand for event concepts that are not only informative but also enjoyable to attend. Events that offer a program where attendees can make choices and navigate their way around on the spot. This trend has naturally been influenced by the public sector, taking inspiration from events like De Parade and a variety of festivals.
So, what exactly is a “congrestival”? How do you recognize it, and what makes it such a cool concept? We mentioned it briefly: a congrestival is essentially a congress dressed in a festival outfit. It’s a congress in a creative setting. The content remains important, but the event has a different vibe. It’s more diverse and informal, setting it apart from the traditional congress.
The key elements that distinguish it from a regular congress are how information is presented and the setting. At a typical congress, attendees often face a barrage of information, typically delivered through endless plenary sessions. It’s unrealistic for them to absorb all this information. A congrestival changes this dynamic. It offers workshops, presentations, and booths, but not in a stuffy conference room. Instead, it’s hosted in a unique, innovative location – think of a raw industrial space, a historic fort, or even the company’s own parking garage.
A congrestival is also a great opportunity for creative décor and catering. Through decorations and catering, you can immediately set the desired atmosphere or theme. For instance, have baristas make top-quality coffee and include food trucks – just like a festival. Healthy options are often chosen, reflecting the contemporary preference for healthier snacks over traditional options like bitterballen (deep-fried Dutch snacks).
At a congrestival, attendees have the freedom to choose their program. They can explore and select the program elements themselves. This caters to the desire for a festival experience, which we know is highly driven by the concept of “experience,” a major success factor for any event. When people participate in an experience, they extract more meaning from it.
If you want to include plenary sessions, ensure that you don’t take away the freedom of the attendees. Clearly communicate where and when these sessions will take place, and explain the value attendees will gain or why they shouldn’t miss them.
The atmosphere at a corporate festival is more relaxed and informal, promoting connections. Networking remains one of the main reasons people attend events. The casual atmosphere at a congrestival encourages these connections. Attendees feel more at ease and can absorb information more effectively. They are also more inclined to engage in conversation, and not just during the closing drinks. Provide a designated meeting place (like a lounge, coffee corner, or bar) where guests can interact informally, exchange experiences, and inspire each other.
Is the corporate festival the event of the future? It’s the event of now and the future. Companies have widely embraced the congrestival concept. Now it’s time for other sectors like science and government to follow suit.
In summary, a business festival brings together knowledge acquisition, inspiration, and networking. There’s more room for creativity, and the focus shifts toward creating a memorable experience. You can convey your message in an enjoyable manner, and attendees automatically become the central figures in their own event experience. They choose how to structure their day and what experiences they want to have. In short, a congrestival adds more value for attendees than a traditional congress, making it a more effective way to achieve your objectives!
If you need assistance in organizing a Dutch content-driven congrestival, feel free to reach out to us. We’re here to help you plan, design, and execute your event to meet your objectives and exceed your audience’s expectations. Reach out to Kirsten via firstname.lastname@example.org