In July 2015, a mobile caravan for blood donors was located in Herastrau Park in Bucharest. Those who donated blood received tickets to the Untold Festival, organized in Cluj-Napoca, at that time at its first edition. Over 400 kilometers away, hundreds of people were queued in front of the Cluj Regional Blood Transfusion Center.
Associated with the stories about Transylvania and Vlad Țepeș, the blood collection initiative was noted even outside the country, being a successful first marketing exercise of the Untold Festival, meanwhile becoming the biggest musical event in Romania.
Two years away from the first edition of the event hosted by Cluj-Napoca, three young people thought to put Iasi on the map of music festivals in Romania. And, why not, even from Europe. “If we didn’t do it for sure, someone else would,” says Ovidiu Biber (38 years old), co-founder of the Afterhills Music Festival, along with his brother, Vasile (40 years old) and his friend Victor Mandric (36 years old) ).
Afterhills is now preparing for a third edition, which would strengthen its presence in a booming industry in Romania. Analysts’ estimates show that the Romanian festival market could reach, this year, an audience of about one million viewers and total revenues of about 127 million euros.
But Mandric raises regarding the number of spectators, saying: “We have done a national study and found that this type of event has an audience of 1.3-1.5 million people in Romania.” This audience, he details, can be divided into two age segments – one under 25 and one between 25 and 34.
As a result, this year’s edition of Afterhills, held for ten days, between August 23 and September 2, will have “two peaks”: one on the weekend of August 23-25, and the second between August 30 and September 1. In the first peak, the organizers say that they will bring troops approved by the public under the age of 25, so that between August 30 and September 1, they will focus on the 25-34 age segment.
Last year, Afterhills drew about 100,000 people, and organizers say 80% of the participants would come from the IT industry.
The 2018 report also shows that the festival in Iasi was also attended by spectators from 41 countries who stayed either in the city or in the campsite arranged by the organizers. Because the number of participants in the event is increasing, the three co-founders decided to rethink the organization of the festival and move it from the entrance to Iași 20 kilometers from the city, in the Dobrovat area, where a campsite is being set up.
As during the festival it is very difficult to find a place to stay, the organizers decided to arrange tents and tents to offer a high degree of comfort. “We plan to bring accommodation units with normal bed and furniture,” explains Ovidiu Biber, adding that there are even artists interested in staying overnight at the campsite. Organizers say, last year they decided to stay in tents in the festival area, including young people living in Iasi.
Afterhills has also sparked the interest of local entrepreneurs with businesses in the area of public food and trade, who have already announced their presence, and organizers estimate that the revenues that the partners present at the festival will receive could amount to over four million euros.
According to Ovidiu Biber, last year’s budget for the festival was about 2.5 million euros, and this year it will increase by about 30%. Because organizing such a festival is extremely expensive, the three founders of the event co-opted for financial support one of the main real estate investors from Iași, Bogdan Gheorghiu, the developer of the Newton residential complex, with 500 premium category apartments.
Another supporter of the real estate business, Iulius Group, is among the supporters of the Iași festival. Moreover, before starting the Afterhills project, Ovidiu Biber worked in the marketing team of the company founded by businessman Iulian Dascălu.