This year’s festival summer is not canceled! Under that motto, the Electric Love Festival Boutique Edition will take place from August 26-28 at the Salzburgring in Austria. Three days, 100 acts, 10.000 visitors per day, no camping – that’s the concept of the sized-down version of the biggest EDM festival in Austria. Why not? I spoke to the CEO of Revolution Event, the organization behind ELF, about the idea behind the Boutique Edition, the challenges they faced during the pandemic, and more so keep reading!
Since its first edition in 2013, Electric Love has been hosting the biggest artist in the EDM scene. Located at the Salzburgring race track and surrounded by the beautiful Austrian mountains and lakes, this festival is truly one-of-a-kind. Every year, more than 180.000 visitors from 67 nations travel to Salzburg to experience four days of madness on six stages with more than 190 artists. The stages at the 2019 edition were: Mainstage, Club Circus, Heineken Starclub, Honeycomb Techno, Shutdown Uptempo Cage, and of course, the Q-dance stage. Definitely plenty of choice for lovers of the Harder Styles! As we all know, there has been some sort of pandemic going around for the past 1,5 years, so unfortunately, the 2020 as well as the 2021 edition of ELF had to be canceled. Luckily, team Electric Love came up with a solution to prevent another year without their festival: The Electric Love Boutique Edition. Fewer people, fewer stages, fewer artists, and no camping – basically a smaller version of the Austrian festival giant.
“It’s as if a chef is cooking for an entire year, but nobody comes to eat the food.”
I had a video call with Manuel Reifenauer, the CEO and founder of Revolution Event. Besides Electric Love, Revolution Event also organizes the Austrian Harder Styles festival Shutdown, which took place on August 7. He told me that 2020 was even more challenging than 2021 because nobody knew what was going on and how long this pandemic would last. He said that it takes 400 days to prepare for the festival but the event days themselves make all the stress worth it. “Usually, the entire Revolution team unites at the festival, bringing friends and family to the event, being proud of what we achieved, and clapping each other on the shoulder. This special moment was missing. It’s as if a chef is cooking for an entire year, but nobody comes to eat the food. It’s really tough not to see the result of what you’ve worked for.”
He said that luckily, no employee had to go thanks to government aids but that it has been financially challenging for them. Already at the beginning of 2021, they had the idea to make a smaller version of the event, something the government would be more likely to approve. “With the current regulations in Austria of COVID tests only being valid for 72 hours, it would have been impossible to have a 4-day event. It was our idea to create the Boutique edition, though, and not an order by the authorities.” The event’s capacity has been reduced by 80% and since there is no camping, people can get tested at the official testing locations outside of the venue.
To my question of how it is to be one of the few festivals in Europe this summer, he said that even though there is a tough competition, it is actually better to have more festivals taking place. “People are very insecure with one festival after the other getting canceled.” On the flip side, it’s great for content, he stated. “At Shutdown, a lot of artists brought a video crew to capture the moments of finally touring again.” My Instagram has been full of Shutdown recaps, yours too?
Austria is a huge market for the Harder Styles and is still growing. Manuel said that Revolution Event probably played a part in the Austrian Hardstyle boom. “When promoters see that people enjoy a genre at a festival, they book artists for their clubs.” Before the pandemic, there has been a Harder Styles show almost every weekend in Austria. “We’re not at the peak yet. There’s still room for a bit more.”, he said. “We sold out Shutdown with 15.000 tickets, but I also don’t think that we could do Shutdown with 30.000 people”.
When it comes to the Harder Styles at Electric Love, Q-dance has been hosting the stage since 2015. This year, the Dutch event organization can’t do the hosting due to scheduling conflicts, so Revolution took the lead themselves. “This allows us to have the closings a bit harder than usual.” Manuel said that when they booked the line-up, they make sure to have a good mix of the biggest names in the scene but also want to give (local) talents the chance to showcase their skills.
“ELF 2022 has to be the longest prepared festival ever.”
Now we all want to know what’s going to happen with ELF 2022. Will it be even bigger? “We wanted to include the Fuschlsee (lake close to ELF). We will organize the Red Bull Organics Beach there where people can re-charge their batteries. In addition, there will be the Shutdown Tunnel where we’ll play anything from 180-220 BPM.” Manuel told me that the main stage render had been finalized since March 2020, so they are ready to go!
When talking about where Revolution Event sees Electric Love Festival in the next few years, he said that in 2023 they will celebrate 10 years of ELF – what a milestone! Additionally, they want to include more genres, no boundaries, no prejudices. “People are listening to way more diverse music these days. Back in the days, you could only be a fan of one band, but today, people listen to all kinds of genres.” I couldn’t agree more with that!
I really can’t wait for the Electric Love Boutique Edition! Only 8 more days to go 🙌🏻 The Harder Styles line-up includes names like Aftershock, Brennan Heart, Da Tweekaz, Headhunterz, Ran-D, Sefa, Sub Zero Project Warface, or Wildstylez. Pretty sick, right?
TICKETS & INFORMATION
Find all the information about the festival here.
Saturday is already sold out, but tickets for Thursday and Friday are still available here.
As 90% of ELF20 ticketholders swapped their tickets for the 2022 edition already, only a very limited amount of tickets will be sold. Mark your calendars on August 26 because you sure as hell don’t want to miss out on that!
Special thanks to Manuel for taking the time to talk to me!