The move of the event this year to a new location outside of the city centre presents a few challenges to the organiser, which still manages to pull it all together with sound planning and partnerships, writes David Andrews
In 2014, the Chiang Mai Fest was moved to a new site due to the reconstruction of the previous location, Tha Phae Gate. Organiser Earth, Wind and Fire decided to move the event to the new Promenada Resort located approximately four kilometres outside of the city centre. Organising the two-day event in this new location brought with it benefits as well as challenges.
While Promenada offered about the same space as Tha Phae Gate for the confines of the event, it offered the benefits of a grassed area for guests to sit and relax on, thereby affording a more festive atmosphere, as well as a range of on-site facilities such as toilets and covered parking (which reduced traffic congestion).
Tjeert Kwant, president and CEO of ECC Group, which owns Promenada, offered the location with no charge for electricity, access to facilities within the resort and free shuttle buses to and from various locations in the city centre.
However, moving to a new location meant greater publicity efforts for the festival and the free shuttle service. Poster campaigns and heavy advertising in the local papers were supported by Promenada and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), which allocated a budget to the festival. The budget also covered the transportation of media participants, who were invited from Bangkok and flown up to Chiang Mai, with hotel accommodation provided.
Alongside TAT, media partners included Chiang Mai Lanna Business Association and a number of local hotels and restaurants which provided catering services. Each business also assisted in the promotion of the event beforehand by displaying posters in their premises.
Planning started three months prior to the event with a media conference arranged in Chiang Mai and Bangkok to promote the new site to the Thai media. Following the conference, a series of press releases with updates on performing artistes and the benefits of the new site were dispersed to the media. The theme of the festival was A Cultural Music Exchange, with seven international artistes hailing from Singapore, Thailand, South Africa, Malaysia and the US.
Over the course of two days, 15,000 people attended the festival, with the shuttle bus service to and from the city centre proving very welcomed, not only among locals but with tourists who were staying in Chiang Mai.
Also in attendance at the festival apart from the resort owners were Charoenrit Sa-nguansat, deputy governor of Chiang Mai, Robina Marks, South African ambassador to Thailand, and Pensuda Priaram, chairman of the board of TAT. Pensuda even graced the event further by taking to the stage during the opening performance to play the piano, as part of the welcoming ceremony.
Earth, Wind and Fire
Promenada Resort, Chiang Mai, Thailand
March 1-2, 2014
No. of participants
15,000, over two days
Create a festival-like atmosphere in Chiang Mai with international artistes performing over two days
New location outside the city required widespread advertising through sponsors and the provision of transport for guests
Worked with newly opened Promenada Resort which was looking to promote itself, and with the tourism board, media, hotel and F&B partners