woensdag 28 oktober 2009

Full on Ferry – The Recession Edition

After the smashing Full on Ferry 2008 show, which was by a mile my favorite party of the year, high hopes were set for this years edition. Boy did that turn out unexpectedly different.

It’s a known fact that Ferry, despite being by far the best producer of the original Dutch super trio, is also the one who pulls the smallest crowd in his home country. His gigs do not sell out in advance, in fact they do not sell out at all. I’ve always wondered why that is. He does everything right, plays his own productions till the cows come home while jumping around and making gay heart signs, the works. And still he doesn’t even sell out the small room at Ahoy, which for the occasion was made even a bit smaller than last year by blocking off the left and right corners in the front.

Maybe it actually is a recession thing. If your flagship gig is not the hottest ticket in town then it’s also the first to get chopped when people have to save money. I mean 45 euro is up there with the big boys. But the weird thing is that last years night was so spectacular you would have expected people to show up by the busload to be part of the next one. Except they didn’t. And in retrospect, they were right.

- What happened to the awesome flying DJ booth?
- What happened to the awesome multicolor lasers all around?
- What happened to the cool lineup?
- What happened to the awesome sound?

None of the ingredients that made last years show so epic were there. Instead we got a random episode of his TIABM World Tour with some guests and a stupid MC. Simple stage, kitchen table DJ booth, big LED screen, few green lasers, the end. I mean come on guys, my local bar already has an LED screen nowadays. And they have better graphics to display on it too.

In short, 2009 FoF was a disappointment. I’ll admit it is not easy to top something as spectacular as last years, but it would have been quite easy to at least equal it. And when it’s not easy, because ticket sales and budget are an issue, then let me make some suggestions.

First of all Ferry should do his own warmup. This not only saves the wages of the warmup DJ but it also gives the crowd more Ferry for their money. Plus it gives Ferry the opportunity to have already established a connection to the crowd when the big show starts. And best of all it will create a massive amount of people banging on the door to get in at 22:00. Now everybody knows the warmup is going to be boring so people don’t bother to show up before 00:30, with the side effect of a lower bar turnover. But most importantly, Ferry fans are not interested in listening to house for hours on end. This years guy was definitely better than last years epic fail with Sidney Samson, but still I did mostly see people who were bored out of their scull around midnight.

Secondly: Bring back the spectacle! We need that flying DJ booth. As a matter of fact we need two. Two half circular booths, that fly back and forth from two stages left and right of the floor and connect halfway to deliver or remove a guest. Give them LED panels all around and mount a bunch of lasers on them. Fire a smoke cannon when it takes off again after landing. The way the show moved around the arena last year was so totally brilliant. It made everybody feel involved, because wherever you were standing at a certain point you’d be in the front. And then in the back again. Really one of the best concepts I have ever seen, making the difference between a really special night and just another night.

Thirdly: Reconsider the back-2-back concept. Ferry and his music are strong enough to carry the entire evening by themselves. If Armin can do that then Ferry definitely can. Having a load of guest DJs is not only unnecessary, it also costs way too much money. Money that would have been spent much more effectively on an impressive show. Especially when you don’t have Tiesto numbers of ticket sales top priority should go to allocating your budget wisely. Another thing about the guest DJs is the actual selection. I think Ferry should take the musical taste of his average visitor more into consideration and leave his personal preferences more in the background. Aka no people like Marco V or Duderstadt. Guys like Solarstone or Super8 & Tab are excellent choices to complement Ferry, so why not make them the lead guests all night long and make them appear 3 or 4 times? Now a small fortune is spent on multiple guest DJs, half of whom don’t even fit in the musical theme of the night and all they do is spin 4 tunes anyway.

Lastly: Don’t wait a whole year with releasing a DVD of the event, do it immediately after the show. Especially when it is a spectacular show like last years. DVDs travel around the world at light speed, and not only bring in revenues, but are major free publicity for the next event as well. By releasing it almost a year too late a major opportunity to promote the 2009 Full on Ferry event was missed. As a matter of fact promotion for the event was too invisible overall. I realize advertising costs money, but it also brings in paying visitors, which in it’s turn keeps the event on people’s minds. Just look at Sensation: utter crap, yet it sells out in 5 seconds. This is not something that is easily replicated. But in the end of the day Ferry needs to decide what he wants to do. Go big or remain underground. Unfortunately this years event was neither.