24 Apr 2020

DIGITAL DGTL: Reflections on the first edition of our virtual festival

 

We came, we danced, we made memories (virtually!). Like every year, Easter weekend 2020 was to be spent at our beloved NDSM Docklands under bright sunshine, a drink in our hand and listening to all our favorite DJs. As we now know, the circumstances of today’s world meant things had to go differently. However, this didn’t stop us from reaching all our worldwide visitors stuck at home and lifting their spirits when they needed it most. We re-imagined every element of DGTL Amsterdam (from our food-court, sustainability efforts, art projects and stages) and converted this into the world’s biggest living room weekender. In the spirit of doing things unconventionally, we decided to recap our highly successful virtual festival through the eyes of a few individuals who were instrumental in bringing the idea to life - our marketing team. Jump into the article below, as we recap all our favorite moments, top sets, unexpected results and biggest takeaways from our first edition of DIGITAL DGTL. 

 

 Your  favourite sets:

“Choosing a favourite is very hard, because I loved every minute of the stream. Day 1’s set by Patrice Bäumel blew me away musically. I think I wasn’t the only one who had the same reaction, because the positive reactions in the chat box kept coming through the stream. I’ve never seen him play before, but hope I’ll see him perform live really soon. KI/KI is a personal favorite of mine, I have seen her play in real life a couple of times and she always blows me away with the most unique trance and acid tracks. Plus her positive energy is contagious. On Day 2, we started the day with Pascal Benjamin. His set matched the particular moment of the day perfectly, and it seemed like all our online viewers thought the same - I forgot about my hangover instantly! Then Perdu took over the Gain stage. His stream was filmed at the NDSM-werf area, under the famous DGTL gate. This is the spot where the mainstage was supposed to be, and watching the stream made me nostalgic. Another set I was highly anticipating was Nicolas Lutz. I waited for his stream the whole day, and musically this might have been my favorite set of all. Afra really surprised me musically, and the spot she was streaming from was amazing. Both visuals and sound complimented each other perfectly - dark and light at the same time. The last artist I found myself dancing to the most was Mella Dee. I was taped behind my screen and watched every second with a smile on my face.” 

- Nicu Bakhtiari (Content Manager)

 

 

The ultimate highpoint: 

“The ultimate high-point for me was the livestream of Adriatique on the rooftop in Zurich. The vibe, the sunset and their live-set was just amazing. For me, nothing can really come close to the experience of being at a festival, but I think their livestream came pretty close. For a moment, I was able to forget the challenging times we are living in right now. What I also found interesting was the mix of tension and excitement I felt the week before the event. In my time working for DGTL, I never experienced this kind of adrenaline-rush before. Normally I know the drill, I know what’s coming and what to expect. This was something totally new. I didn't know how people would react and if we would reach any people at all. Thankfully DIGITAL DGTL exceeded my expectations. The cancelation of DGTL Amsterdam 2020 hurt big time, but thanks to the success of  Digital DGTL it will be an edition I will never forget and proudly look back on.”

 - Renske Perdon (Lead Designer)

 

 

 

 

Things that surprised you:

“Something that really stood out to me during the DIGITAL DGTL weekend, was the immense enthusiasm that was shared by the entire DGTL community virtually. It really showcased music’s power in bringing people together. During the count-down to our first stream, I distinctly remember watching 100s of people waiting in the virtual queue, sharing their excitement with other fans. There’s a certain energy that comes with being a part of something that’s never been done before - and this was it. Something else that really struck a chord with me, was the unique nature of the sets. Filmed in an array of different locations (ranging from a beach, a rooftop terrace and even NDSM) the captivating visuals contributed by the artists allowed me to forget about the present circumstances and completely immerse myself in the music. As a fairly new addition to DGTL’s marketing team, this would have been my very first Easter weekend at NDSM and I was deeply looking forward to it. If DIGITAL DGTL was anything to go by - I can hardly imagine the memories and experiences that have been (and will continue to be) made during next year’s edition.”

 - Anika Doshi (Copywriter)

 

 

“In my time working for DGTL, I never experienced this kind of adrenaline-rush before. Normally I know the drill, I know what’s coming and what to expect. This was something totally new. Thankfully DIGITAL DGTL exceeded my expectations.”

 

 

Moments that moved you:

“I think most people understand why we had to cancel the festival. But I also knew that there were a lot of disappointed people out there who were really looking forward to DGTL Amsterdam, and the first festival of the season. We felt so strongly about this, that we really wanted to give our community a little piece of DGTL in some way. A small idea snowballed into DIGITAL DGTL and the enthusiasm from our artists, crew and everyone around us honestly blew me away. I had no idea what to expect during the weekend and I definitely did not expect the enormous wave of love, support and dedication from people all over the world. It really moved me to see how everyone had taken time to prepare for their living room parties and that they wanted to share it with us. Throughout the weekend, I was following all the conversations and comments on our platforms from my home office and I have to admit that it made me really emotional. I truly felt that we are all in this together and I can’t wait until we are all back on the dance floor together again.”

- Sophie Hansson (Global Social Media Manager)

 

 

On unexpected results:

“It’s crazy to see the amount of media attention we received during the days before the actual event. I believe we’ve been covered from all continents, including interviews and articles from prominent, international (non-music) media as Billboard Magazine, Forbes, The Guardian, the 8-o-clock News and so on. It stated that we were doing something that society was craving: a proper music event to bring a smile on our faces, making us forget about all the bad things that are going on for just a few hours. During the weekend, this all came together as one crazy virtual weekender, data shows that we’ve been viewed millions of times and in over more than 160 countries – bizarre! We received user-generated content from quite a few households that really made an effort out of it: setting up their own bar, creating personalized timetables on whiteboards, TV’s being put on homemade ‘stages’ - you couldn't make this up. We supplied the backbone, but the people at home truly made it a ‘festival’.” 

- Leroy Kaandorp (Global Marketing Manager Online)

 

 

“A small idea snowballed into DIGITAL DGTL and the enthusiasm from our artists, crew and everyone around us honestly blew me away. I had no idea what to expect during the weekend and I definitely did not expect the enormous wave of love, support and dedication from people all over the world.”

 

 

Your biggest takeaways: 

“I love it when a plan comes together. What started as a running gag, turned out to become a great replacement of our physical DGTL edition. A full-on creative challenge for the DGTL Team during these times of lockdown and self-quarantining. A very nice experiment for sure, and a cool new way to connect with our global audience. It’s unbelievable to see the dedication that my team has put into bringing this idea to life, even working remotely from our living rooms and shared balconies. This is what keeps us together as a team for sure. Still goosebumps when looking back on this crazy weekender, very proud of what we have created. And we are not done yet”.

- Bram Merkx (Global Marketing Director)

 

We can’t wait to see you at next year’s DGTL Amsterdam, to create more memories and experiences that will stay with us long after. Pre-register here.

 

Till then, stay safe. We will see you soon!

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