Promoter Interview: Epizode Festival
Epizode Festival takes place on Phu Quoc island in Vietnam and is the brain child of Nikita Marshunok, Kazantip Republic president, and Sagrado Corp, theRussian company that’s produced more thean 12 diverse entertainment projects in Russia, Kazakhstan and Vietnam.
Nowadays Sagrado run projects such as ICON and Gipsy, which are focused on a luxury audience, as well as successful concert halls Izvestia Hall, Red and Stadium, the democratic Lookin Rooms, progressive Bessonnitza, after-hours club Mix and rooftop terrace Summer Garden as well as Epizode.
It happens from December 31st to January 10th 2018 with heavyweight headliners such as Chris Liebing, Dixon, Loco Dice and Luciano, with many more to be announced. Phú Quốc is the largest island in Vietnam with picture perfect beaches and white sand, tropical seas and high temperatures all year round, so this is sure to be a piece of musical paradise you cannot miss.
“I will never stop, this is my life.”
How many people does it take to get something like Epizode off the ground? What do they all do, and are you all working on it all year round?
I was always working on Kazantip all year round, and now do the same on Epizode. There’s always a small core team which works with me through the year developing the project and creating new ideas and concepts. Then several months before the event I gather some more people who are ready to work with me onsite and we move to the location to prepare everything in advance. By the way, I really enjoy construction works at the territory as we always create something unique and it feels absolutely great even during the process.
What has changed for this year’s event from last? What changes or additions have you made? What went right and wrong last year?
Last year it was our first landing at that location. We had to learn it from scratch, got our first experiences, and managed to establish our authentic atmosphere within the shortest time. You see many of our unique art objects at the pictures. Besides that, we also built really cool dancefloors equipped with top hardware, various funny bars, a food court and so on. I am satisfied with our achievements from the last year. We invested hard into basic things because we wanted this location to be our place not only for a year. This time we can concentrate more on perfectioning, for example, our lineup will be much more powerful, we will do most possible to guide and inform the newcoming visitors, there will be even more special events and happenings, and so on.
What has been the hardest thing about setting up Epizode? Have the local councils, authorities, and government been helpful?
It is already a big help if the authorities don’t try to restrict or prohibit our work, as we already experienced a couple of times throughout the 25 years we are doing this. In exchange we are raising the economy of the region, drawing worldwide attention to this beautiful place, making it even more attractive. Of course, we will communicate with the local government further and work more on our cooperation, we are even sure they will initiate it themselves very soon.
What’s it like working in Vietnam? Are they understanding of your efforts? Do they have a good music scene? is it important to work with locals and get them involved?
It is very important to work with locals. Their music scene is still developing itself, but like it always happened with Kazantip, there will be much more action in a short time. Good music and mood know no borders or nationalities. We will be glad to see locals within our audience and I’m sure they will be also happy to join us, it is always this way.
What lessons did you take from Kazantip to this new festival? What are the similarities and differences between the two?
We never made Kazantip the same way, it was something else each year. For me, Epizode is just a natural next step in the same process. We never stop to learn and always aim for more. Generally, it is hard to tell the difference. Many people would say that it’s just like Kazantip in another location, even with more possibilities.
What are you most looking forward to about this year’s event?
I think we will become really international. Considering our new very powerful lineup, even the first revealed names such as Carl Cox, Luciano, Chris Liebing, Dubfire, Loco Dice, Mathew Jonson, Dixon or Pan-Pot, I have no doubt that we will attract attention of all party lovers not only in Vietnam but also in Thailand, Singapore, Bali, Hong Kong. And for music fans in Europe and North America who enjoy many electronic music events during their summer, this “no winter” event will be probably the world’s most proper New Year’s Eve celebration in the world. Back in 2013, we got visitors from 106 different countries, and I am now looking forward to top this number once again.
What is the long-term vision for the festival? How long will it carry on? Are there still things you want to achieve and add to it?
I am doing this already since 25 years, Kazantip grew up and became world-known. Of course, I will never stop, this is my life. And it looks really good now in Vietnam. Seems like we eventually found the right place with the best sunsets in the world. There will always be something we can add on the top of everything we already do, and this is exactly what makes the project that is now called Epizode so special.