Today, we are here to tell you a story of resilience, self-development, and unity.
About one year ago, on March 14th 2020, we started an international online music festival. The #stayhomemusicfestival. It was when Europe got first hit by our companion, the Covid-19. Our friends from the Libero Strijkorkest and us started brainstorming ideas with two goals in mind:
- Bringing music and entertainment into people’s homes when they could not go out (depending on the country).
- Giving a paid performing opportunity to musicians that lost their tours or gigs due to the pandemic.
How it all started
Our team was formed by four members: Berta García and Julia Pareja from Libero Strijkorkest, and, Ayla Losada and yours truly (Alberto) from Bom-B Music. We also counted with Joran Dikken, an Utrecht-based entrepreneur that helped out with brainstorming and networking.
We got started right away and we chose the name, designed the first logo, and purchased the domain on the same day. One week later we had our first edition! We had 11 artists performing from all over Europe, with a couple of Grammy nominees and three Utrecht-based acts. It was crazy, we had more than 300 simultaneous viewers during the three hours of live stream. And it ended up with an online party with all the artists, in which we cheered and shared many laughs.
It was magic, and we could not have felt better at that moment. We worked 15+ hours a day during that week organizing the festival. Webdesign, improvement of the logo, artist management, programming, marketing, soundchecks… All of that done by four musicians. So yes, the feeling of release and accomplishment was immense when the festival ended. Also, we made a substantial amount from donations. So we were very happy to pay the participants accordingly.
Different editions with artists from all over the world!
We continued doing two more weekly editions and then decided to do it bi-weekly for the sake of quality. Also, because we understood that the situation was going to be longer than expected. The last edition was on June 13th with Balkan music. We wrapped it up after 8 editions and enjoyed a well-deserved summer holiday. During all that time, artists from places like Brazil, Bielorussia, the USA, Argentina, Spain, France, UK, and Hungary participated in the festival.
However, it was not all laughs during the development of the festival. We faced many challenges and learned from all of them. Soundchecks with a poor internet connection, issues with the streaming platforms, struggling to reach our donation goals, logistics, and technical issues on the open-air edition. But it was all worth it. Looking back and taking into account that it was a DIY festival organized and performed 100% from home, I think we did pretty well.
In conclusion, we did bring some joy to people’s homes (especially to those that were in countries with a full lockdown), and we got to know and help many artists from all around the globe. Also, we got so distracted by organizing it that it became some sort of therapy for us and made us forget about everything being closed until June when terraces and shops were back open. It was surely an experience we will remember forever!