How to organise meetings that Rock

If you are a sworn consumer of electric rock guitar riffs, you are probably horrified by today’s topic. What does partying to everything from “beef music”, to turbo-folk and dalmatian a cappela songs have in common with the meetings industry?

Fire-fighters’ festivities VESELICA are a true Slovenian summer phenomenon. Slovenia is in these days full of posters that invite to them. There is even a website dedicated exclusively to this kind of entertainment. Entrepreneurial fire-fighters are able to bring to them over 6000 guests. This happened a few days ago in Bitnje in Gorenjska, which has already resembled a music festival and has grown beyond village proportions. It is a traditional Slovenian party at which the music is not quite in the foreground; the important thing is that the out of control crowd gets Golica and some romantic Dalmatian songs. For the party sufficient unlimited quantities of alcohol and traditional Carniolan sausage are enough. Stars of the evening are usually village polka and waltz dancers as brave conquerors of female hearts.

Sometimes it is difficult to draw the line between congress festivities and serious classical congress event in style of concerts of symphonic music. The organisers are often forced to organise Miss wet T-shirt, morning aerobics, treasure hunts, massage of the participants, creative workshops, fortune tellers, Sunday mass service, body painting, measuring of cholesterol, all in terms of positive convention experience which I’ve renamed the CONGRESS FESTIVITIES.

Congress audience is specific and generally has a more refined taste. It seems that the boundaries between hard congress events and festivities are firmly outlined. However, today more and more instant congress products exist that have lost their sense of proportion. Congresses are still divided into good and bad. Congress turns into festivities if one outlines it like this. If you dedicate to your audience, then the concept is no dilemma. At veselica you will not see metal rock bands. On the audience depends the type of festivities and the type of the congress.

Congress festivities are a matter of relationship with the audience. If we understand the event as a medium, for a more genuine contact with the mass audience, this can not be achieved by any other marketing tool. At the same time events are a relatively inexpensive method of mass communication. Of this many spin doctors and especially the sponsors are aware. Bigger festivities tend to have more sponsors and more advertisers who wish to place their products, co-brand them and everything else that fits.

The boundary is a matter of taste and ethics. Congress participants attend the events in order to meet their needs. Probably a time will come when also we congress organisers will divide between pop, rock and beef organisers, depending on the target audience. Participants can choose congresses and events not only to transfer knowledge, but also because events are a reflection of their lifestyle. You could say that through the style of the event reflects the personality of the event organiser and its participants.

Conferences and events have always been a part of popular culture, which is particularly driven by ‘teasers’ . Therefore we can also learn something useful from festivities. First and foremost, genuine interaction between the organisers and the participants that we professional congress organisers have been looking for and inventing as the Holy Grail.


Every two years, the World Congress beekeeping organisation Apimondia prepares a congress. In 2003 it was for the first time organised in Slovenia. Due to the large number of visitors from around the world this was the largest Congress and festivity in Slovenia. The theme of the Congress in Slovenia was “BEEKEEPING A WAY OF LIFE”. This year’s beekeeping congress and festivities will be held in Kiev from 29th September to 4th October 2013.




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A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.