CME Sit-Down : Gorana Romcevic
Epizode in Phu Quoc, Vietnam was where we kickstarted 2019. We were simply blown away by the sheer magnitude and the simplicity of the festival. With an attendance count of over 10000 this year and over a 100 artists from around the world along with some of the best local talent, Epizode is certainly becoming one of the best destinations for dance music fans every year. Over the second half of 2018 we worked closely with Epizode Festival and their core team in amplifying their reach in India. One of the people we worked closely with was Gorana Romcevic who we would say is a one of the nicest people to work with.
We invited Gorana to have a sit-down with us before the festival ended after 12 days of non-stop music and madness. We spoke to her about the things that she does for Epizode, their plans for the 2019 edition, working closely with the Vietnamese Government and locals in Phu Quoc and much more. Read the full interview below.
Hey Gorana, great to have you at CME. How are you doing today ?
Hey Guys, I am doing great. We are nearly finished, this is the 12th day and we had the final sunset a while back and are now getting ready for the final after party. I am feeling pretty good.
What exactly do you do at Epizode?
I do a few things here at Epizode. I am the head of Global Communications which means I look after PR, Social Media, Promo Parties, etc. I am supervising these activities around the whole world and operationally handling them myself in Asia. Last year I organised this huge Asia and Australia Promo Tour across 22 cities. I also look after the bookings of all regional acts and we had 27 of them this year with all of them playing the Eggs Stage and some on the main stage as well.
This is the third edition of this beautiful festival, how has the festival evolved in the last 3 years?
Well the first year was more like a test project; we were all trying to figure out how things work in Vietnam. We are a foreign crew who came to Phu Quoc to host a festival so we did not know how it was going to work so we did not even promote it much. The second year turned out to be amazing with a lot of top notch bookings like Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Dubfire and Carl Cox for NYE. The hype was already massive and it turned out to be stellar. And then this year we have grown way more. We had about 140 names on the line-up which even for 11 days is a lot. We had a very diverse line-up this year with artists representing genres like Minimal, Techno, House, Drum & Bass, Trance, Progressive and more. We had a lot of day activities like Holi, Frisbee, Yoga, Movie Sessions, etc which we did not have in the previous editions. We also added the Shell Stage this year which was meant to be an after party stage which ran from 8AM to 8PM but landed up running almost 24 hours every day. The vibe at that stage was unreal. Most importantly we had twice as many attendees than last year and that speaks volume about the growth of the festival. And this momentum is definitely going to carry into the next edition.
Twelve days of madness comes to an end today, how has the experience been for you this year?
I was working a lot but I definitely took some time to enjoy myself every now and then. The vibe was crazy this year and the music and hospitality offered by Epizode is something that people always talk about. There were also a lot of missed flights and there were so many artists and attendees who came only for 2-3 days but landed up staying longer than they planned to. The atmosphere kind of captures you in and you don’t feel like leaving. We have got some great reviews so far and I am really happy about that.
We saw you working hard 24x7 since day one, how do you manage to handle several things on your own in a 24 hours music festival?
Well I have a few secrets that help me maintain the routine. Firstly all of us try to have everything planned out in a proper manner. We try to maintain a schedule of the activities we do but of course not everything goes according to plan. I have a great team who I work with and all of us try to stick to our schedules as much as we can but we have to be flexible at times especially since the festival is running 24x7. We are a really small core team and a lot of external collaborators and we are all on the same page so that helps. And when you do what you love, no matter how exhausting you still enjoy yourself.
The government of Vietnam and the locals here in Phu Quoc have been really supportive of you guys. Could you tell us more about how it has been working with them?
The government and the locals have been a huge support system for us. Not only is Epizode creating job opportunities for the locals but it has also played a big role in improving the economy. We have about 15000 people flying into Phu Quoc from all around the world and spending money which is good for the economy. Most of the hotels around here do not receive this volume of guest throughout the year but during these 11 days they are almost sold out. So that is a new and welcome change for them as well.
How was the turnout at the festival this year?
We sold close to 10000 tickets this year. We had set a goal for ourselves this year and we managed to achieve it. Considering we pulled off this year’s edition in a pretty demanding and challenging environment I would say it was a massive success. For next year we will set new goals and definitely aim to outdo this year.
Top 3 sets for Gorana this year?
Oh that’s a difficult one! Okay, Seth Troxler B2B Craig Richards at like 6 AM was definitely one of my favourites, more so because it was a surprise set. DJ Masda played a brilliant set this year. And another one of my favourites is Raresh and Rhadoo doing a surprise set on NYE. These are my favourites.
If you had to add a new element to the festival for next year, what would that be?
We always aim at adding new elements to the festival while improving on the current elements as well. Maybe we will add more day activities next year and also a lot more artistic elements like the décor and art sculptures next year. I cannot really reveal more details about it now but we might be adding a new stage next edition with something new. There is one more thing I would like to add : The response that we have got from Asia this year has been phenomenal. We did book a lot of local acts and that definitely contributed to this response. But in the coming years we really hope to make Epizode a sort of a Winter Music Hub. We want the fans from the West coming over to discover new music and avenues and at the same time we want the artists from the East to utilize our platform to showcase their talent. As long as we are growing at the same pace as the local scene we are on the right path. The support from the Asian community has been great and we look forward to working with them again. We really hope this two way street only becomes wider in the coming years.
Epizode have already released a limited batch of their Super Early Bird Tickets for their 2019 edition for 99€ only. Get them on www.epizode.com
BY Rahul Rane
INTERVIEW / 9 months Ago