The sun was scorching on the day I was going to witness Cirque De Soeilie: Toruk. It was a beautiful day and it was also the day I was going to be meeting the CEO of the venue that would be holding Crique – Hallenstadion.
What was the event?
Cirque De Soelie was doing a 4 night tour of Zurich. On Thursday 13th of June I was able to experience and witness Crique for the first time. I watched production and creative – and this is the story of that experience.
What happened at the event?
Well, firstly – I would like to start off by saying that events are all about moments that create an experience for those attending. Unfortunately at the interval many people left. A couple next to me left after 10 minutes by climbing two rows over to get out as they were seating in the middle. In terms of why – we will get to that…
I was fortunate to have met the CEO that day to discuss the venue. Felix was brilliant and gave me great insight into the industry in terms of the types of concerts that come to the venue. The venue is actually the busiest venue in Switzerland and realistically is the only place to host a concert that has 13,000 people potentially attending in Zurich. In terms of competition – really there is none. In my opinion, this can cause a few things. It can make the venue be trapped in not thinking about innovation and trapped by becoming behind in the global market but also it can show that the venue can handle and create the best event experiences – which I am sure it does.
For me I was going to discover first hand what it was like to be a consumer of the production but also the venue. I walked through the doors and was greeted. It was a good welcome my ticket was split in half and now I was in – it was quiet in the venue as I wanted to be there as soon as the doors open to watch exactly what customers were doing. At first I stood in a position where for 15 minutes everyone who came through the doors was buying food. Obviously they had just finished work or straight from home and off they went straight to the show. I noticed a change once it hit 19:00. The food was slowing down as in being purchased and now it was mainly alcohol and ice cream. A train station was 500 meter walk away so actually there is a good transport hub so many people could come and enjoy themselves – leave the car at home. At 19:20 the bell goes and I pretend I am lost. I knew exactly where I was going but why not experience the customer journey. Also below – I had a purple vegetarian burger. They insert fancy purple colouring to make it just look “fancy”.
I wanted to see how good the ushers in the blue bibs were. I was guided to the nearest door and in I went. Yes, there was no one there to welcome me but then I heard a voice in German who was coming in and welcomed me in – although was already near my seat. So from a venue point of view – good guidance. A few observations though:
- The spectator engagement stalls were smoking companies. I suppose this is to do with the business strategy but Camel cigarette company had an activation where you could win a product. Interesting. Also a vaping company with a small stand at the opposite side of the small holding area. Be interesting to hear your point of view on this.
- Screens were everywhere selling future shows. The screens were very bright and you could not avoid them. In one way – fantastic loved it. But secondly in a way its an opportunity to create a fantastic interactive and different experience. Such as hashtags to use for tonight – to get people ready before they enter the arena. Yes that’s production but also the venue coming up with the creation of more than just a holding area but an area for building the excitement.
- Earplugs were handed out as well as people in yellow at the entrance. The performance was 100db. This was advertised on screens in the holding arena. Also, they were a nice wee souvenir.
I was very excited to be given the opportunity to see the show. I had heard amazing things. I downloaded the app as I was told to do it by the marketing outside the arena and also by constant verbal reminders in the arena when I had entered. The arena was dark prior the concert starting. The bright white lights and background music was building the excitement. I was excited and bought in to it all. I loved it. At 19:32 the show began. I thought here we go…the couple next to me after 10 minutes – left. I don’t know why as I don’t speak German but with the reaction of everyone around me not being “immersed” and “satisfied” I soon realized this was not up to the level that Cirque is known as. Now, I am not criticizing the performers this is what I then was told by people who were leaving that I spoke to. Over 100 people left at the interval. I had to leave as I had a early bus (6am) the next morning and it was going to take me a long time to get back to my hostel. A couple stopped me and said “did you find that boring as well?” They had seen Cirque three times before – not in this venue – and just were not impressed one bit.
They highlighted it was boring, lacking energy, couldn’t hear the sound, creativity lacking and so on. These were die hard fans and they just let rip. I was interested by this. I was really kind of intrigued because I had some observations but one of them was definitely not creative because it did have a story. Yes, you couldn’t hear but you could see. It was a huge venue for the concert and maybe a bit too big – especially when unfortunately the ticket sales were evidently not good. Half of the venue was empty. All of this is actually backed up with the fact that on the Facebook page for TORUK that has been touring now for a few years has – shall we say – very bad reviews. Some of actually heartbreaking to read with the amount of money that some people had paid and so on. It seems to not just be opinions but fact due to over thousands of comments and a rating that is quite…interesting. Also it shows value for money is not lived up to when it comes to the expectations of the show.
One thing to take away…
So overall – I enjoyed the show. The show was interesting and its brought many learning points in terms of engagement, strategy of venue and so on. This is why I am doing this project. This is why there is a blog. Its not about the perfect events – its about things that need to be expressed and are observed.
Thanks event 45…done.