Sunday, June 21, 2009
Many countries have arts festival and that there are many arts lovers worldwide. Thus, this is a large market. There are many who go for arts tourism, meaning travelling round the world to watch and experience different performances and arts events. Adding on, the performers involved in the festival, are a large number. These performers, while working in Singapore, would be able to expose themselves to local culture as well.
Having held the performances at different locations, people would be able to explore the areas located near to the performance areas. Splendidly, Esplanade Theatre, the main location for Singapore Arts Festival, is located at urban areas, where many shopping malls, pubs and clubs are located. Thus, people would be attracted to visit all these places after watching an enjoyable concert at the Esplanade.
This is why Singapore visitors’ area can just continue increasing all these years. The Arts Festival has played a big part in the escalating rate of tourists and visitors. With a bigger tourism industry, there will be additional benefits like more jobs created, new and interesting jobs made available, higher demand for tourism workers, and greater variety for jobseekers. The bigger the arts industry here at our very own country, the more attractive our country would seem as a tourism product as well. Hence, generating more tourism traffic and sharing more economic benefits.
Singapore, being a small country, cannot be well known for things like having the biggest theme park in the world nor be one of the countries having wonders of the world. However, to reach world class and standard, there are many routes and ways. One way is through arts. With arts, Singapore can reach out to the world, tell other nationalities our name, and that we do love and appreciate arts too.
The Arts Festival has played a major, symbiotic and catalytic role in the development of the artistic and cultural life. It is to promote and cultivate the interests of the arts to everyone. This way, it can generate a growing public demand for the arts, spawning new cultural platforms for talents, and to recreate a lively cultural scene right here in Singapore, bring arts closer to the doorsteps of locals.
The stakeholders were the people directly involved in the event, such as, National Arts Council, Singapore Tourism Board, Esplanade Theatre, Victoria Theatre, performing groups and artists, and the organisers. Others included service staff, management team, cleaners, the official partners (Channel 5 TV Station, Okto TV Station, Coca-Cola Light), the premier partners (Shaw Foundation, Singapore Turf Club, PSB Academy), the major sponsors (Lee Foundation, Vivo City, WingTai Asia, Raffles City shopping centre, PUB, Suntec Singapore, SMRT, Hong Leong Foundation), sponsors (Marina Mandarin Singapore, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Starhub Cable Vision, Yahoo!), the supporters, and venue partners.
Both arts festivals had several promotions when it came to the pricing of the concert tickets. Arts are something that is appreciated by most people. However, some of us may or may not have the financial ability to attend the concerts we like, support the music we hear, watch the dance we love. So, with the help of price reduction, more people were given opportunities and it was made more affordable for those who love arts and theatre. Both arts festivals have promotional ideas like membership. Hong Kong Arts Festival have “festival friends”, whereas Singapore Arts Festival have “Singapore Arts Festival MasterCard” holders.
There is an association called the Association of Asia Performing Arts Festivals (AAPAF) and is comprised of most of the leading Arts Festivals in the region. The Association is chaired by the Singapore Arts Festival, the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Shanghai Arts Festival are the vice-chairs. The organisation is dedicated to creating and sharing best practices, touring possibilities and joint promotions. By having this association, this itself, is already one of the best practices, by sharing best practices. In addition, AAPAF works towards creating new performing arts work from the region, which can be shared by more than one Festival. It is hoped that the plans and activities of the Association will be of benefit to audiences and artists across the region.
It takes people to somewhere else you know... they could be having a
dreadful time at home or bored and it just takes them to new places, or opens
their minds because they can hear a different type of music or try different
food or learn somthing about their own culture or somebody else's.
There many reasons why arts should be introduced to more people. It is like a religion. It is essential in everyone's life. -Eulene, the blogger/student
So as to not suffer from product orientation, the choosing of the performances put up during the festival becomes very crucial. It is important to note what the potential customers need, want and will pay for. In this case, arts lovers come from all age/interest groups. Catering to all age/interest groups, the arts festival of both countries chose to showcase works and talents from local, Asia, and international. Even though they might have chosen different artistes and performing groups for their festivals, the idea of providing a wide range of different arts to attract more potential customers is the same.
Hong Kong Arts Festival held its performances at typical concert theatres, arts academies, cultural centres, auditoriums, studios and concert hall. Naming a few, we have HK Cultural Centre, HK Academy of Performing Arts and HK City Hall theatre. Singapore, in comparison, held some of the events at unique locations, like the newly opened Marina Barrage, train stations, shopping malls, National Museum of Singapore and Singapore Art Museum, not mentioning the expected locations like Victoria Theatre, Esplanade Theatre, and LASALLE College of the Arts. By having events held at places like shopping malls and train stations, by-passers would be exposed to the world of arts without having to pay a single cent. Hence, the festival would be promoted in an even larger scale here in Singapore.
HK Cultural Centre
Singapore divided the festival into five different segments this year.
They were Dance, Music, Theatre, Fest Connect, and Visual Arts. The categories of Dance, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts are straightforward. Fest Connect was all about school programmes, festival chats, festival forums and festival workshops. The purpose of Fest Connect was to build stronger links with schools and communities to enhance greater understanding of festival programmes, artists and festival-making.
One of the festival workshops, "Cullberg Ballet Dance Workshop by Jane Hopper".
In Hong Kong, there were five segments programmed for the festival, namely Dance, Theatre, Opera, Music and Family. However in Hong Kong, the programmes were all about performances and showcases. In my opinion, Singapore Arts Festival would be able to reach out to more people, and to the community more through programmes that include interactions with the people off stage.
Both Arts Festivals brought in wide range of international talents, attracting a wide range of audience. But through Fest Connect activities and heartland locations for performances, Singapore attracted more than arts lovers, but students, communities and onlookers as well.
Singapore Arts Festival had official partners like Channel Five and Okto TV Stations to promote the events held, and had Coca-Cola Light as the official Sparkling Beverage. For premier partnerships, there were Singapore Tourism Board, Singapore Tote Board, Shaw Foundation and PSB Academy. Major sponsors included Raffles City shopping centre, Vivo City, PUB, and SMRT, to hold performances at, so as to attract people from the heartlands and shoppers from the city into celebrating the festival together.
Coca-Cola Light(official sparkling beverage for Singapore Arts Festival)
The Hong Kong Arts Festival was made possible with the funding support of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and the Leisure and Cultural Services. Supporting organizations included Hong Kong Tourism Board and Hong Kong: Asia’s World City to promote the event.
People could actually sign up to become members of Singapore Arts Festival. Upon presenting a ArtsFest Club Card or ArtsFest Ticket, we could enjoy discounts and offers at local Marina Mandarin Singapore and many other F&B outlets. Similarly in Hong Kong, people could sign up for “Hong Kong Arts Festival MasterCard” to enjoy a 6 or 10 month interest-free instalment to pay for Festival tickets, and exclusive privileges like perpetual annual fee waiver, a welcome gift, 5% discount plus interest-free instalment and 0.52% cash rebate.
Packaging & Distribution:
Both Arts Festivals had the venues for the events held and local tourism board, as good channels to make the event well-known. Tickets for Singapore Arts Festival were available at SISTIC, which provided internet booking, telephone booking, and sales at SISTIC authorised agents. Counter booking were available HKT Internet Ticketing Service, HKT Telephone Credit Card Booking, HKT Outlets Counter Booking and Overseas Fax Booking for Hong Kong Arts Festival.
For Singapore Arts Festival, there were package discounts(4 or more shows – 15% discount, 2 to 3 shows – 10% discount), 20% discount for full-time students, NSFs and senior citizens, group bookings and school bookings. For Hong Kong Arts Festival, discounts were made available at advance booking period. Full-time local students could purchase up to two tickets for each performance during advance booking period and adults might bring a maximum of four children/students to each performance provided that at least one standard price ticket was purchased. The pricing for both events were quite acceptable and standard.
Singapore well-known arts festival is an annual event not to be missed. As a dance lover, I attended dance concerts quite often. For the past two years, I have attended the renowned Burn the Floor dance concert and they did not fail to surprise me with the great performance put up each year. Opting for a more refreshing experience this year, I attended “pOpera” music concert on the 3rd of June at Esplanade concourse.
Another similar festival to Singapore Arts Festival would be Hong Kong Arts Festival.
It lasted for about a month, from 2nd of February to 8th of March as you can see from the logo. In terms of marketing strategy, I do see some similarities between Singapore’s Arts Festival and Hong Kong’s Arts Festival. We shall look into that in the next entry.
A little extra information for those who may be interested, do you know Temasek Polytechnic has an Arts Festival Week each year? I was one of the performers who participated in the event last year.
I am glad that my very own school appreciates arts and supports arts events.