As an experienced event manager, for the last couple of years I’ve been responsible for executing Real Radio XS’ annual music festival, Mockfest.
The one-day live music festival took place in Castlefield in Manchester city centre. The festival played host to a stellar collection of local original bands and world class tribute acts. Other highlights included a classics car and bike show, fun fair and food, merchandise concessions etc. This was all set on a man-made urban beach at the iconic waterside location.
The story of Mockfest started back in 2009 when the marketing and programming teams at Rock Radio (former name of Real XS) dreamt up the idea of having a party to celebrate the stations one year anniversary of being on the air to show-case the type of music the station played. Not able to book a line-up of real bands (due to them either being dead, too old or simply too expensive!) the next best thing was to programme an event made-up of the UK’s best tribute acts.
Year 1, the event took place in a Manchester night club and live music venue and attracted an audience of 1200 people and was deemed very successful. The event was repeated in the same format and location the following year and was again deemed successful. So successful that in 2011 the decision was made to move to a larger, outdoor venue so it could grow in capacity. Furthermore, instead of running the event as a marketing exercise, it could be run as a stand-alone revenue generating event.
So in May 2011 Mockfest moved to the Castlefield Basin a stones throw from Deansgate in Manchester city centre. The decision paid off saw an audience of 2500 entertained over 11 hours of live music.
2012 rolls around and I join the marketing team at Real Radio XS, within a few weeks of starting the job I was knee deep in organising this now legendary (at least internally) event. I was tasked with making it bigger and better than ever before, to deliver a greater audience and more profits. Simple you would think given the event had grown year on year, but the station had just changed it’s name to Real Radio XS which had caused some outcry amongst listeners and meant the brand was unfamiliar in the market place.
2012 – Mockfest: Donisphere (paying tribute to the line-up of both Download and Sonisphere festivals)
Despite the challenges I faced I delivered an event that saw 4000 tickets sold and a healthy profit made (almost double from the year before). I introduced family attractions such as a fun fair and had multiple family package ticket option to make the event more open to audience than beyond the single ticket purchaser. Sponsorship and concessions stall including our own merchandise helped to bring in more revenue.
We also proved to Rock Radio advocates that although we had chanced our name to Real Radio XS we were still the same classic rock station they loved and we know how to throw a party!
May 4th (be with you) 2013 – Mockfest (with a Star Wars theme)
The following year built further on this success and was a complete sell out reaching the venues capacity of 5000 people in attendance.
The theme for communications around the event was to help drive the urban family festival fell of Mockfest to our listeners, whist also extending awareness of Real XS and the event to potential new listeners. The event was promoted heavily on air in the couple of months leading up to festival and I took the opportunity to cross-promote the event on Real XS’s sister radio station, Real Radio, with adverts specifically targeting the family audience.
Mockfest presents an opportunity to bring the Real XS brand to life for both listeners and advertisers. The event is hosted by the stations presenters getting listeners even closer to the personalities they have become so familiar with.
I was responsible for delivering this event from start to finish, dealing with every aspect from sourcing and liaising with artists; to managing all suppliers brought in to provide everything from staging, AV and infrastructure, to videographers and promotional staff. I took a real hands on approach to this event, literally… putting up fence banners in the wee small hours the night before the event!