Organisers of the recently concluded Pure Grenada Music Festival have announced plans to heighten the marketing strategy in an effort to attract more regional and international visitors to the event.
The man behind the scenes, Dieter Burkhalter, together with his wife Yana, who is very well known in European media industry, a host of founders, and a dedicated team of volunteers, propelled the idea into a reality, with the Inaugural Pure Grenada Music Festival being successfully executed during the week of April 5–10 at five different locations across the country.
The inaugural event has been married with the “Pure Grenada” destination brand as a quality offering in an effort to add value to the tourism product.
“For sure we went to the limit doing the festival in 5 days at 5 different locations…it was really, really a big task but it worked out very well…”, Burkhalter said last week Thursday during a post-festival briefing at the YOLO Bar, Port Louis, Grand Anse, St. George.
“We estimated to have roughly around 8000 people for this festival (but) we sold 6000 tickets…6000 people for the first festival is a good number but we expected a little bit more,” he added.
According to Burkhalter, the festival had a budget of approximately “US$700, 000,” however, they managed to use “just about US$600, 000.”
Although he was not in a position to provide a complete financial analysis, the organizer pointed out that a “substantial deficit” will be recognised due to an inability to sell 2000 tickets.
“We are in the process of finding a way to overcome this deficit,” he said, noting that this will be a key thing for the next Music festival since “we can’t start with debts.”
The Swiss native who has been involved in the promotion of local musical talent cited the need to “deepen the relationship with the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) to sell the music festival outside of the island.
This is necessary, he said as it will “ensure that next year we have (the) 2000 more people (catered for) here on (the different) nights…”
Burkhalter, who regarded the festival as a musical “monster” holds the view that while “we already have good partnership with the Grenadian Tourism Authority (GTA) representatives in London, Toronto, New York (and) they did a good job in promoting the festival,” he believes that there “is a big, big potential of bringing more people in.”
He spoke of the need to reconsider the dates for the 2017 Pure Grenada Music Festival due to the challenges experienced this year.
“Most importantly, we have to learn from the execution of the first festival and find out where we can get better in (terms of) the structure”, he remarked.
Burkhalter, who, along with his wife operates the Le Phare Bleu Boutique Hotel & Marina at Petite Calivigny, St. George spoke of having difficulty “to find occupation for the 95 artistes that were brought in (because) all the hotels were already booked out…”.
In addition, he said the flights from England were almost booked out “so we had to pay a high price for airline tickets for our artistes.”
He stated that this is an issue that will be discussed in a meeting with the various stakeholders to find the appropriate date for the next festival.
“We also have to make sure that we don’t clash with other events on the island so it will take some time but we hope we can announce the new dates by the end of May or mid June,” he said.
“For the next festival we will look for astonishing locations… we don’t want to go into the stadium having a concert in front of concrete. We need to go out and show the beauty of Grenada,” he said.
Dieter spoke of the possibility to “spread the festival over two weekends (providing) opportunity to host smaller concerts and one main concert…but we would like to keep the idea of having a theme for each night like reggae night, Jazz night et cetera.”
He said “the next Pure Grenada Music Festival would be mainly for our local artistes,” and announced plans to host pre-festival events including “workshops and a song writing retreat,” among others.
The journey of the Pure Grenada Music Festival started approximately 18 months ago.
Coordinator of Pure Grenada Music Festival, Raelene Lazarus, said, “the main objective really was to create a platform for musicians, (and) local talent in Grenada Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
“We needed to give them a base, something structured to work from to elevate the level at which they operate. Show them that there is a little bit more to what they can do with their talent and we think we have done that very well.
“We believe that we have exposed Grenada to something new and different and that people have shown an appreciation for what has been shared with them – case in point through the community concerts”.
One of the founders, Implementation Minister Alexander Otway-Noel believes that the festival has definitely “exceeded everyone’s expectations.”
The events “started on time every single night,” she recalled noting that this is a “very rare occurrence in Grenada.”
Commending Burkhalter and his team for their tremendous execution of the festival, the female Government Minister said: “The fact that you were able to make that happen over six nights was tremendous (and) that is one of the notable factors, that it can be done…”.
“…It was truly wonderful, the village that was created, all of the different food stores, the involvement of many different people…everyone who have put their best foot forward is to be congratulated … so thank you. Yana and Dieter thank you so much for taking this monster and taming it,” she remarked.
The inaugural Pure Grenada Music Festival served as the first fundraiser event for “Music and Beyond,” a non-profit organisation geared at fostering the development of musical talent in Grenada, as well as encouraging more originality in the artform and performances, and empowering young minds to achieve their fullest potential.