Thorsten Andreassen

Festival Director & Artistic Director, Stockholm Street Festival
interviewed 14 May 2016 in Stockholm —

When Stockholm Street Festival started, in 2010, it had two big marketing challenges. One was simply to promote a new event, get it an audience, give it an identity; but the other was to clue the people of Stockholm in to street performance — a form that traditionally hasn't been so prevalent in Sweden as in warmer climes. With a small budget the founder, Thorsten Andreassen, struck a deal with a creative agency to get free advice on branding and publicity, and launched a campaign that saw his team blasting stencils on the streets using a high-powered water canon; concealing large numbers of hats in public spaces around the city (the audience were invited to find them for prizes; it was also a way of introducing the symbol of the hat and idea that you pay into it when you like a busker's performance); and recruiting a group of circus students, clad head to toe in purple morphsuits, and unleashing them on the streets.

The festival still takes a creative approach, but in 2016 it also had a marketing budget of around 60,000 - 70,000 SEK (approx 6000 - 7000 Euros), which was divided between Facebook (20,000 SEK), ad space on the culture boards of lampposts in Stockholm (20,000 SEK), and ad space in a free magazine distributed by charter bus companies across Sweden (15,000 SEK), with any remaining money going on flyers, posters and other odds and ends. For the last three years the festival has also employed a press officer — an expensive provision that Thorsten nonetheless sees as necessary to get the festival coverage.

It's audience is balanced — around 50/50 from Stockholm vs from outside the city, around 50/50 Swedish and international, and more or less 50/50 on gender. 25-45 year olds are the biggest audience block, then those at 12-25, then the 45+.

Key Ideas
It's who you know, but it's also everyone who you know knows

A personal relationship is the door opener into partner working or sponsorship. Without that personal relationship you've got a 99% chance of being turned down. Thorsten gives the example of needing 400m of wire for a wirewalk one year; when they investigated the cost it was way out of budget but he had a friend who worked at Certex, a multinational that produces industrial-grade wire rope. His friend called the CEO and the company agreed to sponsor the event. Thorsten emphasises here the importance of networking 'thoroughly' over the years — making sure you collect and keep business cards, or otherwise documenting your contacts, so that you can sift through them when needed. That rolodex becomes the range of what's possible when you need support.

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Hiring a press manager
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What materials should artists send programmers?
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Selling your work