After the success of Summer Fusion 2008, Rockringbrings you Summer Fusion II -2009-
LebMetal: How did the idea of Summer Fusion begin and got implemented?
RockRing: The idea originally came up last year while we were looking for a location for an outdoor event… We happened to check with Mocean, and the idea naturally came. This was somewhere around August, directly before the event. The owners are quite friendly, but it wasn’t too easy to get the event running. Mocean was reluctant at first: strangers coming and asking for the location for 3 days for a rock concert. They were reluctant because if it doesn’t work out with us, it’s big loss to them…they usually rent the place for weddings ceremonies around such dates.
But, finally, we were able to work it out. Our portfolio showcased enough professionalism and background…which made them know we were serious and could handle something that big. So, we were able to pull it off, and we’re back this year, even bigger!
LebMetal: Who are the staff members and who’s responsible for what?
RockRing: Starting off with Rockring management:
Roy Naufal: handling most pre-event issues and several in-event matters. Mainly things like scheduling, installation of equipment, sound, light, stage, location, sponsors, budgeting & financial studies, marketing, coordination of the staff, security and stage crew + some other small details, besides supervising what’s going on during the event.
Elie Salloum: handling mainly bands coordination, certain contacts, staff coordination, supervising during the event, supervising the bar management, supervising gate entry to keep it smooth, getting list of band members and photos for the tags, getting their playlists to avoid clashes and prepare appropriate music in the event, etc…
Maher Mardini: handling mainly staff & crew coordination, doing all inventory & bar analysis, post-event finances, time-tracking the event, stock handling, some technical work, and also general supervising, establishing entrance procedure. Also coordinates and implements on-location division of areas
Simon El Khoury: handling mainly all graphics work for Rockring (posters, tags, and any design related issues), handles all printing, supervises the stage crew, and coordinates with the rest of us for any on-stage issues. Also helps during preparation of the event and on-location work.
Diva Khoury: helps Simon in the graphic work & concepts, handles some of the sponsor contacts, and does certain supervising during events, mainly at the gate, and acts as host in several of the events.
All of us are, more or less, equally involved in the planning of events and brainstorming new ideas, which include scouting bands, deciding bands and line ups, location, dates, new event concepts, sponsor recruiting, etc… Every event requires at least 4-5 group meetings, and 4 days of on-location non-stop work…so we are all there, making sure every small detail is worked perfected for the best concert experience.
And it’s not easy work… An event like Summer Fusion needs 3 days of on-site preparation, with about 18 hours/day on average running around.
Then there’s the rest of the staff which come into place during the events only, which are typically the barmen (4 people), press (6 people), pro filming crew (7 people), ticketing crew (4 people), lights engineer (2 people), sound engineer & assistants (2 people), security (18 people), stage crew (5 people)… a total of about 50 people.
And we have the help of many supporters during the event preparation phases, getting things into place and such…many of them are part of the mentioned staff usually.
All in all, all the Rockring team acts and is 1 family with 1 goal at hear and we work for a cause and not as jobs or for money…that’s what makes Rockring what it is.
All crew members are carefully chosen to be the best they can be at what best they can do.One other important thing is that we always keep our word…we never say something we cannot commit too; that is something that makes bands and people trust you for.Something, unfortunately, a lot of people in this country lack (from music to every other domain).
LebMetal: How do you expect the attendance this year by comparison to Summer Fusion ’08? Will you give the people their money’s worth with a great show?
RockRing: We’re expecting a good amount of people…last year we had close to 800…and we’re expecting a bit more this year…maybe a 100 more. Alot of people have been waiting for Summer Fusion since last year after what they saw or heard about it…
But the scene itself is a bit limited… so we’re not totally sure of the higher numbers…it’s more or less the same people that come to concerts, so we’re hoping we can actually reach a larger audience this time but we still are lacking a bit in that field, and plan to work on that for next year.This event is somehow a test of the size of the scene that we know and will actually decide alot on the level of events of the future…if we can go providing even more, or if this will be the upper limit of metal oriented events.
We always squeeze our budget to risky limits to give the people the best money’s worth…we’re expecting a bit more people, so with that, we increase the budget! Most people wouldn’t call this business.
Unlike what most people think, *we barely make any money out of our events*…definitely not something worth the efforts that go into the events, but for us, it’s something we like doing and is like a hobby…it’s just how musicians work hard and pay practices and recording to keep their band going; we work on the same basis and that’s mainly the reason our events are good, because that’s our main goal: to give the best that can be given without acting cheap or trying to make extra money out of it.
This year we’re installing the largest sound system installed in local bands event, as well as lights. We could easily save some 2000$ not doing that and installing last year’s sound (which many rated as the best they’d heard – but we wanted even better), otherwise, we could easily have that extra money to ourselves…but we don’t …we always aim for better!
LebMetal: How long does it take to organize everything and do you have any long term plans or just taking it one year at a time?
RockRing: Well organizing an event requires about 1 or 2 month of planning…mainly checking the bands, locations, sponsors, and the technical requirements. Then we actual getting things into working order, which is the most time consuming and tiring. Sometimes the lineup becomes an issue, which band plays when…with certain bands having night jobs and whatnot.
We usually set plans for a full year ahead of time…for example next year’s events are already planned. But we don’t always finalize locations and dates, sometimes simply due to lack of availability or certain situations going on in the country or the scene.
As for long term plans…we aim for international scale events and international bands.
Currently this is just barely possible with the size of the scene…but we’re seeing it grow with time, and we’re hoping that this will continue, as it will open much better chances for better events and higher budgets, and as such, bands from abroad.
We already have many contacts established…but getting them into effective use is still not too feasible, it would cause huge losses except if having ridiculously expensive tickets.
LebMetal: Any legal difficulties you had to overcome in order to prepare such an event?
RockRing: Not specifically…usually our events go by the rules more than most events. We’ve had some issues last year with underage drinking, so we got a bit more tight on that since then.
What’s to worry about is still the fact that a lot of people think metal means Satanism and whatnot…so we’re working on doing certain awareness campaigns in collaboration with radios, tvs, newspapers, magazines, webzines, etc…to try to clear the image a bit…but we need to target to an audience that’s actually out of this music…so it will be tricky…any person with contacts that could help for such a campaign, please send an email to email@example.com.
LebMetal: Explain the concept and atmosphere of the Summer Fusion ’09?
RockRing: Well it’s a beach concert…starting off the day swimming and relaxing, as the rock bands start playing and then the metal bands hit in. It’s a basically a big goodbye summer party before schools and universities start.So we’d like to make our best out of it to have a blast, a tiring one to add hehe, and we hope the audience will feel the same as well.
It’s the first time something like this is done in Lebanon…we started it last year, and continuing with it this year…
LebMetal would like to thank RockRing for this interview, for its passion towards metal and for offering the LEBANESE METAL SCENE the best events Lebanon could ever have. Keep up the good work.