July 12, 2013
2014 marks the 15th anniversary of the famous Dutch music event brand, Voltt. Voltt is planning various special events to celebrate this anniversary. As the first ever customer of ticketscript, we couldn\’t ignore this special occasion, so we visited Bart Skils, DJ and founder of Voltt, to chat with him about this remarkable achievement:
15 years of Voltt, congratulations! How are you going to celebrate this milestone?
We’ll be organising a number of events outside our regular concept. We have already had two including a Voltt Living Room, Voltt In A Bar and Voltt Pop-Up Exhibition in a gallery. This exhibition will also be shown at Voltt Festival on 31 August.
How did you start Voltt 15 years ago?
During my college years I was a DJ and got a job at Outlands Records in Amsterdam. At Outlands Records I heard a lot of good music from DJs who were never booked in Amsterdam. I came up with the idea to book these exceptional DJs for my own events. Sometimes these parties were legal and sometimes not so legal.
How did you sell tickets for your first events without online ticketing or social media?
You had to do a lot yourself back then. We had to copy event flyers and spread them across the city. In that respect, social media has made it a lot easier.
How did you check these tickets?
We sold hardcopy tickets through a number of fixed outlets in the city. With a stamp or markers we were able to check the authenticity of the tickets under a UV light. Back then, events wouldn’t sell out in advance – even popular ones. Most people bought tickets at the door so it was difficult to forecast how many people would come and if you would cover your costs. Online ticketing has completely changed this and we can now monitor our sales.
Your original audience is now in their 40’s. How did you ensure that you have remained relevant for a young audience?
We’ve done this by making sure music is the guide for our success. We always search for new music that interests both me and my target audience. The reports available In the ticketscript dashboard show me that about 60% of my target audience is between 20 and 25 years old. These are mostly students who like to go out a lot. I use this vital customer insight to plan and execute my marketing campaigns for future events.
What is your biggest success so far and what would have done differently?
My greatest success is that I have always been in charge of programming the music that I like for all the events. The Voltt team is now a team of four, and we can set up an event independently. We can produce Voltt Festival all by ourselves and we don’t rely on third parties.
In 2007 and 2008 my international career as a DJ was going sky-high and at Voltt we had 3 different event concepts: Voltt, Static and Traffic. We did everything on auto pilot and there was no focus or passion anymore. We then decided to stop Static and Traffic so I could focus on my two passions again – being a DJ and organising quality events.
Why did you choose ticketscript back in 2006?
In 2006 we organised the first edition of Voltt Festival at the NDSM in Amsterdam. Ruben van den Heuvel (Chief Technical Officer at ticketscript) approached me to sell e-tickets via Beatfreax (the name ticketscript operated under in 2006) in addition to normal physical tickets. That was the first event that both Voltt and ticketscript sold e-tickets for. The percentage of e-tickets compared to physical tickets was very small. We see the exact opposite nowadays when I analyse my data in the ticketscript dashboard. The number of physical ticket sales is minimal. I also think the personal approach of ticketscript is perfect. My account manager is always available for questions and advice.
What do you prefer, being a DJ or an event organiser?
Both – I like the balance between the two. One minute I can’t wait to get back into the studio to produce music, and a week later I look forward to organising the next event with the team.
What advice would you give to other dance event organisers?
The most important thing is stay close to your own identity and try to add something to the dance scene. Awakenings is a good example of a brand that has a strong and independent identity. Don’t get tempted too easily by commercial offers and sponsorships when you’re building your identity. These offers and sponsorship can damage your name. I see a lot of new festivals who have a mix of concepts and brands without really having their own identity.
Finally, how long will you go on with it?
I will continue just as long as music is my biggest motivation. I will pull the plug if my passion for music disappears and money is my only motivation.