[Translate to English:] Foto Stukafest

Digital edition Stukafest successful, but knowledge sharing is needed

Performances had to be cancelled, expensive equipment was set up to make livestreams possible, and ticket holders ended their subscriptions. It’s been a rough year for the cultural sector, to say the least. National student chamber festival Stukafest knows something about that. The festival was held digitally for the first time this year and left the organizers wanting more – provided that they take the right approach. Stukafest now wants to share its knowledge together with other cultural festivals.

photo Stukafest

“We had come up with several different scenarios in advance. But a fully digital edition of the festival was something we didn’t see coming,” chairman of the Stukafest Foundation Robin van der Sluis says. “We’ve never had a digital edition in the entire history of Stukafest. It didn’t seem quite compatible to us with the format, because it’s about the experience visitors have when they walk into a student room.”

Stukafest’s concept, after all, is that spectators visit student houses and seat themselves on worn out sofas to watch comedians, bands and other artists perform their acts under a high sleeper bed.


Despite the frequent feelings of uncertainty experienced by the organizing committee, Van der Sluis is rather satisfied with the recent edition. “A total of four thousand people had bought a ticket. Usually, we sell well over ten thousand tickets. Spectators could choose between three different acts via a livestream three times.” Since the event was held digitally, it’s difficult to say which student towns tuned in most frequently.

The organizing committee did however find out that it managed to appeal to a new target audience. “Our audience normally consists mostly of students. Older visitors are always welcome, naturally, but they never seek out the event. This time however, they did.”

The tickets were also cheaper this time. “Usually, a ticket costs fifteen euros, but this time around ticket price started at two euros, and people could pay extra to contribute to culture.” Stukafest managed to make ends meet this year thanks to a crowdfunding initiative with which the organizing committee raised nine thousand euros, but it wasn’t easy.

Knowledge sharing

As he was in the midst of organizing the event, Van der Sluis noticed that the cultural sector didn’t have the knowledge, nor the mutual exchange of knowledge, to make the switch to digital. “Ticket sale was a problematic issue, because you want to give visitors the same experience. That simply works differently digitally, can you still ask people to pay the same amount?”

“We’ve now put our experiences on paper as a way to help other organizations. This will hopefully lead to meetings or other forms of knowledge sharing. Corona won’t be going away any time soon, so it looks as if the entire cultural sector will need to evolve towards digital events. We’ve had a taste of it and it was a success, but how can we improve our working method? We’ll only find out if we work together.”

The most important thing that Van der Sluis and his board have learned, was that they should think of a digital event as a television broadcast. “You shouldn’t simply put a regular live act on camara. That doesn’t work, you need to turn it into television, but you need extra money for that. Digital certainly isn’t cheaper.”

Share this article