Río Babel

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IFEMA diversifies its activity to the rhythm of music and big events

Beyond trade shows and congresses, music! IFEMA debuted in the field of festivals on the 13th, 14th and 15th of July with the Río Babel Festival, a joy for music lovers, and a step forward in the new line of business that allows IFEMA to diversify its market towards cultural and leisure activities in the facilities of Feria de Madrid. And music is just one axis of this diversification. The venue has already hosted different activities, expanding its activity framework: big parties, races, sporting events, film festivals... We talked to IFEMA’s commercial director, Carlos González, who gives us the keys to this initiative.

The novelty

IFEMA has already hosted many concerts and cultural activities, but this has been the first time that a music festival has set foot in its facilities. The idea is to expand the offer of events focused on a more local and numerous public. For that, as Carlos González reminds us, "the large dimensions of the facilities and their versatility are very favorable for this type of concerts: 200,000m2 and 12 halls". In this line of activity, they have approved external promoters to attract events to IFEMA. And as in Río Babel, the involvement of IFEMA goes beyond mere square meters, and is evident in the communication and technical support of the event.

Music programming

The Río Babel Festival featured a wide variety of artists and groups, from Macaco to Estopa, Residente, among others. A fusion festival of Spanish and Latin music, with a repertoire of concerts that took place in the outdoor area of Hall 2, an open space that can welcome up to 14,000 people.

Local public

A key idea of this initiative is to bring music to the citizens of Madrid, in addition to bringing IFEMA closer to the city life, as one more public space of the city ready to host major events. In addition, the venue offers elements that help in this vision and that facilitate the visit: 14,000 parking spaces, connections with the M-30 and M-40, and a direct metro line. "For the concerts that end late, we collaborate with the transport consortium to extend the subway service schedule", comments Carlos González.

Communication strategy

There is a clear difference when it comes to communicating cultural events, compared to an agenda of congresses and trade shows. The Commercial Director of IFEMA insists that "the objective is to reach the public that interests us. For that, radio is a great medium, in addition to the collaboration established with the promoter for the diffusion of the event through different platforms”. The strategy depends on the type of concert or event: "we place advertising in the subway, posters in the city, and communicate the event on our giant screen at the entrance of the venue and on the facade of the building; we also communicate in general media; even in the agenda of the IFEMA app, we communicate these events".

Future plans

Cultural activities are increasing in the IFEMA calendar: "we have some interesting requests, from the Cirque du Soleil to even an opera in Hall 12". "We are aware that IFEMA has halls with the appearance of industrial warehouses and the cultural world sometimes demands unique spaces", acknowledges González, but between its enormous capacity and the connection facilities that it adds, we can get ready for an increasingly integrated IFEMA in the cultural life of the city. The next appointments are two important events for the general public, the HARRY POTTER Exhibition and the MAGIC CIRCUS, as well as the musical show ORO VIEJO.Culture makes a very interesting complement to the undeniable status of IFEMA as a commercial meeting point and business forum.