Weekend Festival is an electronic music festival that’s become increasingly popular in Finland and the Baltic countries over the past few years. The first Swedish edition comes to Stockholm this weekend, with artists like Tiesto, Rebecca & Fiona and Fatboy Slim all in attendance, and we met festival director Orlando John to talk about it.
Most festivals will have a small selection of EDM and electronic acts, but Weekend Festival specialises in that genre. Do you think that marks it out from standard festivals, and makes it something different and special?
Actually, Weekend Festival is not an EDM festival. We are a popular music festival. For year one, we had a fifty fifty split of live music versus DJ performances at the festival, but then the trend of top 20 music moved towards DJ music and we followed that trend. This year, at all editions, we actually have a live music stage and our plan is to push for live music performers as much as DJs.
The festival started off in Finland before expanding to the Baltics, and now this is the first year you’ll have an event in Sweden too. What made you want to expand to Stockholm? What is it about the environment here that made you think it would be ideal for a branch of Weekend Festival?
I actually have my base in Sweden and have a long history of promoting concerts in this market. Sweden felt like a natural choice after our success in the Baltics.
Obviously, you’re a new festival here which means you’ll be new to the Swedish festival going public. How would you pitch yourself to them? What should they expect from Weekend Festival?
Weekend Festival is a bit different from our current competitors in the market. We do not focus only on the production, which has been great every year, but on the experience level. We also have an age limit of 15 and upwards and have close to 40 artists performing, which is different from other Stockholm-based festivals.
You’ve spoken a lot about safety at festivals, which is obviously something there’s been huge debate around recently. Weekend Festival has introduced a lot of measures to ensure the safety of festival-goers, can you give us some examples of them?
We have not introduced a lot of measures to ensure. We have introduced a lot of measures to prevent violence, threats and abuse. The first step is that we inform people clearly over social media and also our newsletter that goes to all ticket buyers that we have a zero tolerance policy at Weekend Festival. We have also gotten help from Nattskiftet who will work the ground, and we will of course have a close dialogue with the police and our security company to make sure we are on the same page on the importance of the issue. As festival director I have personally walked the ground and discussed extra staff and lights in areas we feel there is a higher risk.
The line-up is a good mix of international acts like Tiësto and Martin Garrix and Swedish artists like Rebecca & Fiona and AronChupa. Was that an aim when booking, to bring that mix to the festival?
We at Weekend Festival feel it’s important to support local artists well in each market we go into. We do not have many Swedish artists onboard as we wanted, especially as headliners, but we are positive they will jump onboard after this year’s success.
Apart from the festival itself, there will also be a number of events around it and linked to it, like pre parties. Can you give us a little information about these?
Yes, we have a couple of after parties planned. […] The after parties are done with some of our partners in the city so that we give people the opportunity to continue the evening after the festival. We will have some of the artists who performed at the festival perform at the after parties as well.
And finally, any tips for attendees to make the best of Weekend Festival?
First, be safe then have fun and make sure to come in time to avoid waiting in line longer than needed.