Outcome A sense of fellowship and ownership
The RAMA festival is normally arranged by staff at the Royal Academy of Music Aarhus/Aalborg. It is a one-day festival with concerts from 1 pm to 1 am. This year, however, students took over and did everything, from planning, booking, programming to performing. As a result, the festival connected a stronger bond between the students who collaborated in all stages of the process, as well as between students and staff. By participating in the organisation, students gained a strong ownership of the festival as well. All of this made a big impact on the festival, which turned out as a very creative festival arranged by highly engaged students.
A real-life experience
Since I have been in the organizing group for the festival I know for sure, that this group learned a lot from what it means to arrange a festival. It involves food, scheduling the program, printing signs, making decorations, collaborating with external partners, creating a brand and identity for the festival, social media… you name it. There are so many things for us to learn in this process. (Sofie Kirk Østergaard, student and co-organiser of the RAMA festival 2019)
The students involved in the organisation learned a great deal about what it requires to organise a festival. For instance, students who wanted to perform in the festival had to apply. In the application, they had to make arguments of why their project fit into this year festival, and find ways to promote themselves. In this way, students got a real-life experience of what it means to apply for gigs, festivals and funds.
Description A student initiative
The initiative to take ownership of the RAMA festival came from the student council at the Academy. Following the decision to make a student-led festival, the student council contacted other students on social media, mail and of course by personal meetings. In the end, there were one management group of five students who had the overall responsibility. In addition, four smaller groups focused on the following activities:
- Hang out – this group created nice places to relax during the day (as well as aplying for permission to sell alcohol)
- Talks – this group arranged talks at the library where students presented what they do and what they love about it. These talks happened before the actual festival, and promoted the festival in the community.
- PR – this group promoted the festival on social media
- Pop-up – this group arranged pop-up concerts in the week leading up to the festival
Practical advice For the coming year
The festival was a great success with a diverse and high quality programme and a high involvement of students in all phases of the process. However, the experience highlighted the importance of starting the preparations early on. Furthermore, students also found it important to ensure a good communication with all partners in the institution. If institutions would like such a student-led festival, they should consider whether students who organise it can get some kind of reward for the work. This could be either as salary or as ECTS credits.