Alan Hardenberg, CEO and co-founder of ALDA, which hosts more than 1,500 shows in 57 countries around the world, told Business Review about the 2023 edition of the SAGA Music Festival in Bucharest.
The 3rd SAGA Festival will be held in June this year, but let’s first look back at the story of the festival. How did you come up with the concept, what was your inspiration and why did you choose Bucharest as the venue?
It has always been our dream to have a festival in Romania. We used to visit this place many times over the last 20 years, especially for the Armin van Buuren show. And we always thought we should have a festival here, so we started looking for a nice venue. Four years ago we traveled to Bucharest, saw various beautiful venues and thought the timing was right, so we decided to build a new festival concept. We love Bucharest because it has a very active underground scene and everyone loves to party. Beautiful country, isn’t it? This is how it all began.
How would you describe your experience with the first two editions? What did you learn from them, were you satisfied with the results, and what are the driving factors that pave the way for future editions? mosquito?
When we launched two years ago, we immediately felt the energy and vibe. Everyone was very positive and the audience was enthusiastic. We want to make the festival even better, so we constantly conduct surveys to understand the wishes of the public, their favorite artists and musical genres, and we are always listening to their opinions. . In addition to his four stages of Source (main stage), Heat (techno), Spark (house) and Switch (urban), additional surprise stages supporting many young DJs and artists (Shuttlebus, Raveplane, NFT) area). We always strive to create the perfect customer journey. I am very happy with the results so far. It’s a startup, but Romania already has a lot of festivals going on, so we know we’re underdogs. We are building step by step.
We are gearing up for our third edition and the level of ticket sales and general interest in SAGA has increased significantly. I mean, I was expecting some growth, but it exceeded my expectations and I’m very grateful and excited. We are the talk of the town. There is a lot of hype going on around SAGA. We built on our experience from the last two festivals to create a better festival. The important thing is that we plan to expand the area of Romaello. There are so many people wanting to attend SAGA that we are fully booked at this point and we will continue to expand.
It’s nice to be back in Romaello, especially since hangar stages like Heat and Switch have a special atmosphere. This year’s house stage is special, being the first Romanian stage to be located under an airplane. Our secret stage, his Rave Plane, is back and we’re excited for people to experience a very special party there with their favorite artists.
I am very happy to see how SAGA continues to grow and look forward to the next five years. We believe SAGA has a lot of potential to become even bigger.
Can you tell us about the third production of the festival?
We always want to improve and be better than last year. The main stage will be different. We can see what’s going on all over the world and we know the trends and what people like, so we came up with a completely different concept for the main stage. I can’t tell you more. must come and see. But it gets insane!
SAGA Festival will return to ROMAERO again this year. Please tell us about that.
We ran a poll and asked the community what their favorite places were. Ninety percent voted to return to Romaello, but only 10 percent wanted to return to the National Arena, where the tournament was held last year. As I said before, the customer’s journey is very important to us and we care about what people want and what they are thinking, so we can make sure they are happy with the end result. It is essential to know whether We are passionate about music and festivals and we do it for our fans.
Comparing the two venues, I agree with the majority. This is a unique venue for a festival, and no other venue in the world does it at an airport.
A number of international stars will take to the SAGA stage this year. How hard was it to put together such an impressive line-up?
While the last two editions focused exclusively on EDM DJs and techno artists, this year we decided to host an edition featuring multiple genres and a more diverse range of artists. We decided to combine these genres with international and Romanian urban live and pop live acts, turning it into a truly multi-genre festival.
We are thrilled to welcome so many artists to Romania for the first time, including Lil Nas X, Wiz Khalifa and Skrillex at the height of their careers. He literally exploded months ago. We were one of the organizers who were able to book him over 8 months in advance and were delighted to have him at SAGA this year.
For SAGA, it is a kind of tradition that at least six artists perform in Romania for the first time. There is also Mochakk, a DJ who is so highly regarded in Romania that people wanted to meet. There’s also Frankie Wah and Melanie C from the Spice Girls. Truly a legend.
What other projects do you have in place in Romania?
We are planning to open a music venue in September. Its name is Laminor. We are going to have a lot of parties there. It is a large space that can accommodate approximately 15,000 to 20,000 people. I am very proud of this special project and will be providing more information in the coming weeks.
You already know a lot about the Romanian music festival scene. How would you describe this, and what are the main strengths of our country when it comes to hosting such large-scale music festivals?
I see a lot going on in Romania, including the fact that there’s a big underground scene that’s really thriving. We do a lot of shows in different countries around the world, but Romania has something special in terms of energy. When you look at the party and festival scene, it’s on another level. Romanian people get very excited about the festival one year ahead of the next edition, talk about it, think about what outfits to wear and try to bring lots of friends to the party with them. That’s what I love about Romania.
You are the CEO and co-founder of ALDA LIVE, which operates SAGA. How did your company come about and how did you decide to get into the music industry?
We started 25 years ago with Armin Van Buren and Tiësto on tour, but since we were doing all these shows all over the world, we decided to start our own festival. It went very well and we added new offices in Germany and Hong Kong. In 2018 he partnered with Insomniac and now also has an office in Los Angeles. We do what we love best: organizing events and creating unforgettable memories. This gives me energy. I love to focus on the creative marketing part.
ALDA’s CEO and co-founder, Alan Hardenberg, has been a key player in the international events industry for decades. Allan has a long history, from organizing his first event in an old industrial warehouse in the 90’s to holding his ALDA show in front of over 50,000 spectators at an event centered around Armin van Buuren. I’ve come a long way. ALDA is now an international powerhouse in event production, promotion and concept development, with offices in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Cologne, Bucharest, Pula and Amsterdam. We are holding an event.
“Artists have always been at the center of what we do, whether it’s Armin’s solo show or a festival with lots of stages and artists,” says Allan. ALDA’s focus has always been “behind the scenes”, but in recent years Alan has realized that it’s also important for ravers to know the promoters of the festival. “Therefore, we strive to make ALDA more and more recognizable to the festival audience.”