The JJS Music Festival was the vision of Grant Nelson. Grant wanted to create an alternative environment for young people to attend on New Years Eve. This vision lead Grant to organise a music festival that invited Christian artists to perform over New Years Eve. The festival had been running for 2 years before I got involved.
My first job at the festival was running the lighting on the main stage. It was there that I got a passion for the event and really started to understand Grant’s vision. A few months later I was called and asked to run the entire Production setup for the next event in 2000/2001. This involved negotiating all the supplier contracts for the event, designing the stage layout, putting the team to run the production and the overall management of getting the job done. I loved this job because it was challenging and always involved finding creative solutions to complex issues. I carried on to run the production for the event for the next 6 years. The event had grown tremendously over that time and the final event saw the production portfolio looking after three stages.
When I started with the JJS project I was so interested in seeing the event succeed that I started applying my mind to the marketing aspects of the event. Grant later approached me to run the Marketing for the festival. I jumped at the task excited to turn the event into a well known brand in Christian Music circles.
“Mike is a really good leader with great innovative, creative ideas and implements those ideas successfully. Mike has been great to work with and very inspiring. He is hard working and will go way beyond the call of duty to to ensure the job is done!” – Lize Labuschagne (Media and PR)
I started with the online presence of the music festival. I always find this to be a very good way to get to know the company that I am marketing. Whenever you need to structure company information into a website platform, you find that you need an indepth understanding of how things work and what the goals of the organisation are. The website presence became a strong platform to communicate our vision to local churches, advertise the festival to young people, and build a more reputable name with our sponsors.
Business Card Success
The first few years of the festival we spent alot of the advertising spend on posters and flyers. While we found that the posters provided a great means to spread the word about the festival, we found the flyers to provide a lower return on investment. Our solution was to print a lower number of business cards to promote the event. This saved costs on the budget and provided us with a more unique way to present the festival.
We designed a flyer type business card that promoted the days and times of the festival. The card was strongly branded sent out a strong message that the festival was the place to be this New Year. The response was incredible! The public took to the cards well and started storing them in there wallets and purses. We found that when handing out cards at numerous events some people would show us the card they got at a different event. So we ended up not wasting additional printing costs on getting that person to JJS. We were able to stay ‘front of mind’ while staying in their back pockets all day.
Urban Nite Events
In the last 3 years of the event we saw great success in this growing festival. JJS claimed the title of the largest christian music festival in SA. It felt great to finally achieve the goal. The christian music industry could now feel the presence our music festival. God was very good in blessing the success of JJS. However we remained focused at the vision of providing alternative entertainment for young people.
Urban Nite was an event concept to run simultaneous events all around South Africa that carried the JJS brand and vision. We established JJS partners in Johannesburg, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. These partners all worked hard to secure the venues and bands for the events and for one night JJS came out of the farming town of Ashburton and entered into five cities around South Africa.
The events were a great success as it extended the reach of the brand and extended our networking potential. The events also served well as a promotional vehicle for the main JJS event. We were able to add new names to the JJS email database and find new churches who had not heard about the festival.
The Greatest Reward
The success of the festival was a priveledge to be a part of but at the end of the day we needed to know that our work was not in vain. What made everything worth it was hearing countless testimonies of people spending there first New Years Eve sober in 5 years. People re-affirming there faith in God over the New Year and people coming face to face with God over the weekend.
Here is a promotoional video that we used at events that we visited to promote the JJS Music Festival hope you enjoy it!