Teamwork makes the dream come true!
Our very own Julia, Communications and Marketing Intern with Roots Interns, joined the Greenpop team during their Platbos Reforest Fests. She assisted Greenpop with welcoming all festival goers, handing out snacks during the plant days and lots of other things. It made her wonder what it takes for Greenpop’s Marketing and Communications Department to organize this festival. Here’s what she discovered.
For the eighth time in a row, nonprofit Greenpop hosted the Reforest Fest: Africa’s largest annual reforestation festival. Each March, they bring people together in the Platbos Forest. They plant thousands of trees, dance to live local bands, learn with sustainability leaders, camp under the stars, and inspire them by positive collective action. Besides Events Production tasks, Marketing & Communication also plays an important role at this event! I’m Roots’ Marketing and Communications assistant and personally interested in this sector, so I was wondering what it looks like to do marketing for a whole festival. I followed Zoe, the Event Marketing Manager, and interns Natalie and Cristina. They support Greenpop during their Communications and Event Marketing internship.
8 months before the Festival takes place – where to start?
Organizing a whole festival means A LOT of work, but also fun and great moments. Greenpop’s Reforest Fest took place seven times before and the marketing is quite similar every year. However, there are always some challenging tasks that need to be done in advance. I was surprised when Zoe told me that the first preparations start eight months earlier. From building up a website and organizing ticket sales to writing blog posts, newsletters, and press releases. There were many tasks that kept the team quite busy during the summer months.
Christina and Natalie posted pictures on Instagram, shared the event’s webpage on Facebook, and wrote press releases. Some afternoons they went around Cape Town to put up posters in hostels, bookstores, and other locations. Not to mention: during the last days before the festival they turned the office into an art studio! They painted a bunch of wonderful looking signs that we set up at the Festival area.
On-site: Let the Reforest Fest 2018 begin!
After months of preparations, countless social media posts, and announcements on the website, it was time. The interns put on their white team member t-shirts and were ready for action! After their briefing about the full event marketing, they knew what to do and where to go. Christina and Natalie were mostly involved in social media and the Greenpop festival. That’s where I mostly found them during the festival. They sold merchandise and informed visitors about Greenpop and their actions. They also managed the sign-up for the newsletter and promoted Greenpop’s new event: the Eden Festival of Action.
In general, three people handled social media on-site. Natalie did Instagram posts about everything fun and important going on, and Christina was busy with Twitter and Facebook posts. They were rocking the social media in every situation, be it during the ride on a bakkie (bakkie is Afrikaans for a pick-up truck) or while doing the merchandise at the Greenpop stall!
The Festival is over – and now?
The Reforest Festival was a big success. The 1,268 visitors planted 8,300 trees, there were 27 musical and theatrical performances, 12 workshops, 20 talks, 8 guided walks, and more than 30+ other activities. A professional photographer, as well as the Marketing team, captured all those beautiful moments. As a nice memory, Greenpop also offered screenprinting, which kept the marketing and communications team quite busy. They put the Greenpop logo via a screen and paint on T-shirts which the visitors brought.
While walking on the festival site, I saw a huge sign with Greenpop sponsors on it and I was wondering what they get back in return. Zoe could answer my question: after five years of building up relationships with sponsors, they come back every year. After the Event they receive thank-you-emails with reports, Greenpop tags them on the different social media platforms and mentions them on their website. One of Christina’s tasks was checking the visibility of sponsors on-site, for example, the logo board and the visual presentation of the partners in the bar and food court. Further, they get professional photos taken during the festival, which is Zoe’s favorite part on-site. The festival passes incredibly fast, especially as a team member and after everything’s over beautiful images are all you have to show and keep as a memory.
All in all, I really enjoyed the time at the festival! For myself, it was a big value to see how the whole process of organizing and setting up a whole festival works from the perspective of the Marketing and Communications team as well as overall. And what I’ve experienced the most: Teamwork makes the dream work!