Rad Spotlight: Vedran Meniga Co-Founder of Seasplash Festival

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Oli Russell-Cowan from Rad Season: We’re here with Vedran the owner and co founder of Seasplash Festival.  I just wanted to say congratulations on putting this together. It’s my first time here.

Vedran Meniga from Seasplash: Thank you for coming.

It’s an awesome venue but it used to be in Punta. You had it there for 16 years right?

Yes. In Fort Punta Christo. It’s also part of the festival team that started festivals here in 1988. There was a hardcore punk festival, ‘Martinska’ it was called so it was also the same family, some of the same crew. We were thinking about doing something new. Some kind of refreshment for ourselves and for the people who come to the festival year after year. So we decided to go for it and to do the festival edition in Sibenik.

Awesome. What would you say is different? Obviously, the location but anything else this year?

It’s a smaller location all together. We had more zones within the fort, we had more stages actually. So now we come to only three stages in the night.  It’s harder to prepare the Festival on site from noon to 4pm approximately, but more or less the sound systems are the same. The vibe is definitely good because people have said what I can say production wise that the Fort is demanding more demanding because it’s on the top of the hill on the rocks.

We had to do a couple of zones to run Seasplash so we had a BeachSplash stage which is down the hill and we had to organize there to prepare everything then we had the campsite in the zone outside. When you enter festival location everything is inside and everything is that much easier. Also the city of Sibenik together with the electrical company decided to invest in a power station, with this new power station so we can run the festival with electricity. While we didn’t have that in Pula. So  we had to use the diesel generators which are a nightmare. And we don’t like it because it’s more expensive and not ecological. So we can say that these are some steps forward.

You guys have done some excavation here, a couple of months leading up to the event, right, and just clearing out the area and getting all ready.

Only the zone where the main stage was used in those couple of events years ago. So this was the only one that was cut and cleaned very occasionally. So this was what we did here in the last 40 days I can say because we couldn’t start before because May was full of rain. So actually, it was June and the beginning of July when we started. It was really hard work and we cut everything three times. Everything was bush and jungle you know you still have to respect certain things because this is like a resort for the environment nature and we cannot build anything here. So everything is mobile, everything that we put on like the fencing and containers and mobile policy and everything has to be moved afterwards. Nothing must be built. No concrete.

You’re not based in Sibenik. You’re outside in the capital.

Our company headquarters are in Pula and Zagreb. Some of us from the company are originally from Sibenik. Sibenik is my hometown as well for some of the other people from the team.

Croatia is really small so we moved to the capital where things happen throughout the winter, autumn and spring. The coast is must more silent then. We then come to the coast for the summer festivals. Besides other things we have a club that operates on a regular basis, that we like to use as some kind of cultural centre. This is where our offices are. And this is where we work every day.

For the festival for bigger capacities, of course, it’s the summertime in the open air. It helps us that we were born in Sibenik so we know certain people, you know, when we were actually invited to come and do something here in Sibenik just because nothing was happening for the last 20 years. There were some attempts that didn’t have certain success. So we were invited to try to continue these kind of initiatives to help Sibenik have greater cultural experiences.

I guess to have an event to drive people to come to Sibenik nationally, and internationally? 

This the reason that all the festivals are actually organized by the local people. So in Martinska there are six festivals happening here over the season. There is NOX, Kanal Fest, Blast Fest, Seasplash, Membrain Festival and Regius.

This is what is happening this year. And all these people are from Sibenik. This  is meant for people from Sibenik to network with other people from other areas of the world but capacities are limited. So we have to be careful, you know. Let’s say this is a start. And this year is experimental. Everything will be fine. And this whole story will grow and bring more people in future years.

The place is amazing. Today I discovered a little cove by the main stage that I didn’t even know existed. It’s such a nice place to not just come for a weekend but to take a few more days off and make a proper holiday around it. Right? 

Exactly, this is the whole concept this year and why we organised the campsite. The people come for the festival, they come a few days earlier and maybe stay a few days afterwards to enjoy the city because it’s really beautiful city. That’s why we have connected a boat line from the festival to the city which has just started this summer.

I’m staying over in town and went to the opening concert in fortress, We literally got off the plane and went straight to the fortress. This place is epic. It’s pretty unique. And there’s four fortresses in Sibenik. 

It’s really amazing. It’s one of the most beautiful stages open around. The capacity is not that big although it can fit a thousand people. But the view is unreal.

What is really funny that when we were teenagers there was nothing inside, it was derelict. As kids we hanged around there drinking on weekends and having fun. So for me, it was really special. To do this season. Yeah. And I didn’t tell everybody, especially if you have a special guest. And then you always struggle, because it’s not the weekend today, you know, summer time and people are on holiday. I just didn’t tell them where they will play where they will perform. And if you saw their faces, the bands faces when they saw the venue they were really amazed.

What’s the future plans? Not just for Seasplash but for you guys in general. 

We also run Outlook Festival with our partners from England. And they announced last year on the Fort Punta Cristo. So they’re also fighting to get better conditions. So those festivals can go on as well.

For Sibenik and Martinska this is a new summer festival venue that is kind of an experimental year. So for us as well we will run the place together with other promoters. This is the responsibility that we agreed on our side with the city. This was also one of the reasons then if you have to experiment the most fair and correct his actions released on yourself. This was also one of the reasons to come with Seasplash this year. It’s open, you know, there are a lot of events that need to happen during the summer, we end our season, late September. This is when we have two weeks off. Of course, not two weeks off from the real job because this is when you do all the calculations. Did we survived the summer or not? And then we will decide what we’ll do the next summer.

I can tell you that we feel privileged that we can choose between such two good, great summer venues. But it’s also a responsibility and like to run two big independent centers, you know, cultural centers of independent culture in the middle of the tourist season. So it’s really interesting, as you can see here, what is the most important thing that people need to be satisfied? Considering regarding what we can see at Seasplash I think  they are having a really good time. It all comes to the guests. They need to remember this is good experience, positive experience and hopefully remember it for most of their lives. In the best scenarios to come back and bring more people.

Awesome. Cool. Thanks, man.

Thank you.

 

Photo credits: Oli Russell-Cowan

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Oli Russell-Cowan

The concept for Rad Season came about when I was trekking around Latin America. I found it difficult to find cool events and festivals going on that were a bit different and had an element of adventure and general radness to them. I knew that there was always something rad worth going to somewhere in the world, but there was no single platform bringing them together for like-minded people. With over 15 years experience in international business development, spanning multiple industries including action sports, events, media, digital, ICT, travel and tourism, I decided to combine them all with Rad Season.

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