So, when people think of music festivals, they may not necessarily think of Rome, a city famous for its ancient history. Why do you and your co-founders believe that Rome is the right place for your festival?
Well, that's super interesting. I think Rome has a lot of potential. It has a lot of potential mainly because of a real lack in the market of offerings. There's very little competition when it comes to festivals--there's no competition. This would be sort of a first European-style electronic music festival. There are a lot of concerts in Rome. There are a lot of big events, but there are no events that last many hours, starting in the day and going into the night for multiple days. So there's a big hole in the market. When I was young, I experienced this first half. There isn't that much going on in the city, especially in the nightlife arena. So coming in with this project in a city like this, we think this will make a big statement. There's also not that much offered because it's a very complicated city to do business in.
We saw Rome as the perfect place because it's the capital, there are many young people, but there's nothing of this sort so entering a market like this would require a little bit less money and a little bit less reputation than going into a market like London where it's super saturated, full of offers and people are likely to gravitate towards the name they recognize versus in Rome it's a bit of a blank slate. So the first part of the project started because of that, and then the other big part is that there's so much tourism created with festivals. I myself will fly maybe to one or two countries over summer to go and have a weekend-long experience and usually they're more remote places where there may not be much offered other than the festival itself so my thought was, Rome's a beautiful city, it's already an amazing location visited by many people, why not add to that package and offer the opportunity also to enjoy a part. There are young people who may never come to Rome but can now say, "why don't I spend a week in Rome visiting the city and going to this festival?" So I think all these elements led to Rome being the right place to start the project. It doesn't mean that we're going to be here forever, but we are probably going to always have a presence here. We hope that the project is continuous, and this is the first edition of many. We see ourselves expanding into other countries as well, or at least other cities, but to kick it off, I think Rome is the place where we can build most of our reputation. We can really make a difference to the real nightlife of the place and change the clubbing culture in a sense, which is our objective ultimately as well.
You make an excellent point. Rome is not known for its nightlife, and young people traveling often search out experiences that go beyond the typical "touristic" offerings. So, stepping back, looking big picture at the path you've followed since St. Stephen's and your experiences with these two companies, do you feel you have followed a relatively straightforward path, or have there been twists and turns along the way?
You know, it's never a straight path in anything you do. Still, at the same time, I do see a bit of linear progress in my personal work life, kicking it off with small events when I was at St. Stephen's, organizing After Prom, doing stuff like that, maybe two events a year in those years to then doing bigger things with True Passion during my uni career. And then right after doing my most significant events right before COVID, the year between the two, to then being completely blocked and taking a step back and evaluating what I wanted, what I enjoyed of the work I was doing, what I didn't enjoy and so forth and then making the decision to open the festival. So in a sense, there were definitely moments in which I stepped back and reflected. I think I tend to jump in quite hard in these sorts of projects and I do enjoy going all out but at the same time [it's important to have] those moments where you step back, reflect, understand, and decide what really matters within the world or within the experience that you're having. True Passion, for example, is an amazing project, and I really enjoyed it, but I realized it's not really the music industry, and the collaborators working in that industry were not necessarily the people I wanted to be working with and so taking a step into [the world of] electronic music, which is much more my cup of tea, was a breath of fresh air. And I really felt that difference.
So even just being able to step back and say, this isn't quite the fit for me, and having the courage to leave something that is still a fun project with friends, it was tough to take that step back. I was on what felt like a linear path; I took that step back and jumped onto another rail, which is similar, but vastly different. At the same time, I struggled a lot during the period I was studying and working because I was really eager to work. I've never been particularly into institutions. I have always been a little bit rebellious. So those were the moments in which I was struggling, where I had a project going that was stimulating to me but at the same time had obligations on paper that I had to get done. It was always challenging and interesting to balance the two and to know when it was time to jump back on the uni wagon or dedicate all my time to my projects, if you know what I mean.