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Matt Richman talks about Adweek Experiential Winning Event Soundstorm

By: productionglue


MDLBeast’s Soundstorm Music Festival was just named an Adweek Experiential Winner – Best International Experiential Activation. Matt Richman sat down with us to share his insights about this incredible event and what made it stand out from the rest.

Matt is the Festival Director for MDLBeast Soundstorm, a can’t-miss, need-to-see-it-to-believe-it immersive concert village spread across 5.3 sq km featuring over 200 artists, 4 days of music across 7 stages – including the largest, most electric main stage ever built.

You’ve worked on a myriad of large-scale events around the world, what made Soundstorm so different?

The sheer scale and size of this event definitely separates it from other large events around the world – it’s in a class of its own. MDLBeast’s desire to create a unique festival that was engaging and would drive interest on a global level provided us with challenges but made this an exciting project to work on.

What challenges did you face?

Building on this scale and level not only required us to find enough quality resources in a sparse marketplace, but we also needed to ensure a timely delivery of a product that met our standards. With such a large scope this proved to be a larger challenge than we would normally encounter.

From a production perspective what got you most excited about this project?

The creativity was the most exciting part. MDLBeast’s bold vision and their appetite to see it flourish made this event thrilling to work on. Building the production elements that would bring it all to life required executing things that had never-been-done-before and pushing boundaries way beyond that of a traditional event.

What were you most proud of as the gates opened and people started to flood into the festival site?

Always with any show, the proud moment is watching the smiles on people’s faces as they interact with all the elements that you’ve been working on for so long. It takes so much energy to build, there is great satisfaction in seeing it come to fruition with people enjoying the experience.

What was the most interesting aspect of working in Saudi Arabia and producing Soundstorm?

I think for me the most interesting aspect was working in a new
culture and developing an understanding of it and doing business in it. Ensuring what was important culturally, finding solutions that worked culturally, and aligning with the goals proved to be a very
interesting puzzle.

What were the biggest hurdles trying to plan an event on the other side of the world?

The scheduling has been the most challenging aspect which directly impacts our ability to get things done in a timely manner. Soundstorm is a global project with individuals, companies, and resources drawing from almost every single time zone around
the world. It takes a vast amount of coordination amongst the multitude of partners, suppliers and crew to successfully navigate
the creation of elements and approval processes to keep the project
on track. It definitely took a little extra effort.

Working on such a high-stakes event did you have to do anything differently to ensure that everything went off without a hitch?

We purposefully stepped back multiple times throughout the process due to size and scale. We’d stop what we were doing for a short period, take a breath, and look at things with fresh eyes so
that we didn’t get too entrenched in tunnel vision. This provided us with clarity and allowed for new insights to ensure that what we
were planning and executing was leading to a successful event.

You are currently working on Soundstorm 2022 which will open in early December, are there any tricks up your sleeve to take it next level?

They can expect it to be bigger and better in true fashion. We took
the learnings from 2021 to grow the festival, adding even more engaging and unexpected experiences, and incorporating additional
stages and lounges into this year’s festival plan.