Luxembourg International Kizomba Festival
When I first time attended Kizomba Luxembourg Festival it was its 2nd Edition in 2015. From the 4th one I started working at it as a volunteer. The 5th Edition is the 4th one I took part in and the 2nd one I was working at. And of all festivals obviously it’s my … it’s just mine. Other festivals can be good, and very good, and even great. But this one is in my heart forever. The one I stay faithful to. The only one I ever promoted, although nobody ever asked me to. And the one I am delighted to write about finally in my blog!
FACTS AND FIGURES
Kizomba Luxembourg Festival is a public event, approximate size nowadays reaches about 2.000-2-500 people.
The chronographs year by year:
1st Edition – 500 ppl
2nd Edition – 800 ppl
3rd Edition – 1500 ppl
4th Edition – 2300 ppl
In terms of size, KZL is one of two TOP biggest festivals of 100% kizomba in the world all along with “Feeling” (Madrid).
Initial idea – Aimé Beurt (https://www.facebook.com/aime.beurt) in March 2012.
OFFICIAL ORGANIZERS OF
KIZOMBA LUXEMBOURG FESTIVAL
PS: The organizers were interviewed separately, even on different days and months. They didn´t know the questions in advance and didn´t hear the answers of each other. There was no influence on the way they think nor the way they interact.
Dj X-TRA At the beginning it was difficult to get credit, to make people pay attention to our event. We have an excellent team spirit! We did great promotion campaign, each member of the team traveling every weekend all around the world.
Dj PINGUSSO About 1,5 years before the 1st Edition Aimé was giving workshops in CHE club, I was a DJ there. One day Aimé came to me and said: “I have an idea… let’s do a KZL festival”. I was a local DJ for that party, but I wasn’t too much into kizomba dance yet. He spoke also with X-tra. He got his OK, and Melissa´s one as well. Then all together we went to one festival to see how it is. We enjoyed the vibe very much!
The first team was: me, Aimé, Rodney, X-tra, Melissa. Rachel was also with us. We built everything for the 1st edition, we started to promote. We went to a lot of festivals, always wearing our KZL t-shirts, and roll-ups. The 1st edition took place the same date as “Africa Dancar”. Many people were saying that we wouldn’t be able to compete with them, but our festival was full. We had almost 800 people. We had a good vibe. Many people didn’t even know if Luxembourg was a country or not))) It was amazing.
RODNEY Before Aimé came up to me with the idea, we had already been at two festivals, one in Portugal and one in Rovinj, Croatia. After Rovinj we were sure we must do it together. Aimé was my friend. So, for me it was just to help a friend of mine. I completely trusted him. So, I reacted very positively, and he could take the most of my social skills to gather people. I didn´t know how to do it exactly, because I wasn´t into kizomba yet. I couldn´t even dance it at that time. So, I started organizing a kizomba festival before I learned to dance kizomba itself.
The way you work?
Dj X-TRA The line-up hasn´t changed much over these years. We pick the best of the best, being always updated on the latest know-how of the Kizz-world. we are born perfectionists! We take our time to study the market, gathering information from other festivals.
AIMÉ The most important is that every person in our team has his special “skill”, helping and giving ideas. We are a real team! We don´t have one boss. When an idea is important we convince each member of the team with arguments. That´s the way we work.
RODNEY It takes approx..1 year to prepare everything. The 1st thing we usually focus on is to start checking a new line up -DJs and artists as well. And then we start to think about the people who´s gonna come to keep good gender balance between men and women. Afterwards we check main locations for the festivals. We did it for the 1st edition, and since then it´s normally the same place – the LuxExpo Box, so now it´s just about negotiating the price. We aim to get the lowest possible prices, so we could make it cheaper to everyone who comes to the festival. It´s a very important point we pay attention to. Then we clear up the rest of details, like car parting, promo tours, etc.. We decide where we are going to make the official pre-party, where the workshops would take place, and so on.
Who does what?
Dj X-TRA My role in the organization is being responsible for all sound systems, managing sponsors, and the administration part, like replying to mails, managing people’s information, etc
Dj PINGUSSO Sometimes we share tasks, we exchange tasks.
AIMÉ Each one has its tasks, but if someone needs help then we can help or substitute each other.
RODNEY My responsibility is the artists management: to put them in the line-up and to take care of them during the festival. Including contracts with artists & DJs.
What’s your favorite part of the organizational process?
Dj X-TRA Our meetings before the festival. We always laugh a lot, even more than we talk. We are always in good mood! We have a lot of fun=) It takes time from other life activities to meet often and to put our ideas in practice. But I like it.
Dj PINGUSSO My favourite moment is the end of the festival, when everyone is happy and making comments, and after months of work, I feel like it was worth it!
AIMÉ My job during the festival is the coordination. At the same time this is the part that I like most. And of course, sometimes I must replace someone, or do something I don’t expect to do. It’s not always easy. For example, last year I had to clean the toilets during the festival, but it´s something I like to do! I am also the contact person with our providers, like the hotel, the LuxExpo, the transport company. I make deals with them, sign contracts, etc..
RODNEY I enjoy myself when I see people happy. I talk to artists, DJs, dancers, everybody. I am only satisfied when everybody is. Sometimes I go up to the stage and observe…
How do you deal with lessons learned?
Dj X-TRA there are 3 types of mistakes:
- When you detect it, you can check it, analyse and change it at once. (We are strong at it)
- We can’t change it now but won´t repeat it next year.
- The one that puts you down forever (thanks God, hasn’t happened yet)
Dj PINGUSSO 1st thing is to keep what is good, and the 2nd is to work on weak points. Like the big difference between men and women, the major problem of the kizomba scene nowadays. Like for the 5th edition we will have only ONE UNIQUE PASS, because the control is more precise, so we´ll have a better vision on the balance. But we still separate between men and women.
AIMÉ Each year we try not to make the same mistakes as last year, that´s our goal. Last year there was a problem with shuttles. We fixed it. Also, there was a problem with the gender balance, so we are trying to fix it in 2018. That´s the way we work.
What´s the key of KZL success?
Dj X-TRA We love what we do! KZL is our baby. We are a family, also in private life. A great part of our success are people from Luxembourg themselves, everybody who comes to support us, all the kizomba Luxembourg community. They appreciate the festival, they spread good feedback about KZL everywhere they go, they are very proactive, and they help us to promote our festival. They working as volunteers at the event, and they are proud of us like real patriots!
RODNEY First, we always stick to quality. Recently kizomba dance became very popular, spreading very quickly around the world. It’s easy to make money on it. Even if you just put music on a laptop and rent whatever room with a shitty dancefloor, you know that people will come anyway, because they want to dance. But at KZL we work in good faith.
Second, we are a family. Kizomba Luxembourg is not only Rodney, Aimé, Pingusso and X-tra, it´s the country, Luxembourg country! For us everybody who lives in Luxembourg is a part of the organization. Everyone who helps us is the organizer! Not volunteer, but the organizer. We take care of them, and we want to let know people around the world that Luxembourg is like this! We work with our hearts. We organize the event to create a good atmosphere and let people enjoy it. Sometimes other organizers say the same things in public, but they don´t mean it indeed. But we are proud for our authenticity. If everyone would really mean what the say it would be amazing. But we are doing it in the right way, and we must continue like this, although it´s not easy.
Dj PINGUSSO We do this for the people, we work a lot on details, we have a really good team behind us, everyone who works with us.
AIMÉ One of the reasons why our festival is so successful it´s because we are not thinking about the money. We don’t try to save on the preparation to our event. We focus on the audience, trying to think like those who come to our festival, to put us on their place. We ask ourselves “if we were them what would we like and how would we like it to be?” So, the right focus on people’s satisfaction is the key, not our profit.
Anyway, do you make good profit on it?
RODNEY If I made good money on it, I wouldn’t continue any more. I would take the money and go away jajaja. Seriously, in Luxembourg it’s difficult. Although we grew a lot in 5 years, almost 5 times in number of people, but the prices for everything here grow with us too every year. You can’t imagine! So, it’s like a machine, we can’t stop it any more, but obviously because we love it, not for economical reasons.
Plans for further growth?
Dj X-TRA Physically it’s difficult to make it bigger in Luxembourg. This is a VERY small country, there are not many big comfortable locations to choose from. So, now I think we remain the way it is.
Dj PINGUSSO Nooo, I guess we are good.
AIMÉ To be honest, I don´t know if it’s a good idea to grow more than we are now. If the festival was techno, for example, or dance festival on TV in USA, Luxembourg could be like that. But in kizomba we have a problem that we could lose our atmosphere. I don’t know if we want to grow. That is really a big question. And I don´t have an answer to that.
RODNEY The thing is that last year we had too many women, we apologize for that. So, this year our main purpose was to keep the right balance (and they managed!!!) to make people happy. The disadvantage is that in Luxembourg everything is very expensive. The festival costs a lot. We pray God and we try our best not to lose money. We cross fingers for that. As an example, last year we didn´t make any profit, even though we had a lot of people. Growing to make more money makes no sense because it doesn´t depend on the quantity of people.
If you compare the line-up between the first edition and now you will see that the balance was better before the division into Urban Kiz and Kizomba. We heard complaints in the past that KZL was only an Urban festival, and we added more traditional kizomba teachers in the line-up to make all dancers happy. Our aim was to become one, to show that we are also a Kizomba festival, not only Urban Kiz. Finally, we could make it. Now, those who like traditional kizomba also come to KZL. That´s the idea for growth: not in number, but in the kinds of public. Moreover, this year we have an RnB room to bring people who like RnB as well.
Dj X-TRA If one says “no”, it´s NO. Obviously if it´s well justified. There must be a good reason for that. One more rule: we must love each other :))) We can ague sometimes, but we are always able to solve our problems. Because we talk straight and then turn the page.
Dj PINGUSSO they are most of the time productive. Sometimes when you have 4 people to decide 1 think it can be a mess. The frequency depends on the season. At the beginning more, during promo phase less, 1-2 months before the festival we meet every week to prepare the last details.
Rodney, you are the only one who lives in Paris. Is it difficult to be in touch with and available at once for the rest of the team? Are you able to assist all the meetings?
RODNEY Yes, of course! I live in Paris, but I move all the time. I´m in several different places at the same time, like Luxembourg and Germany, due to my job. That´s also why I am one of the organizers- So I basically can come to Luxembourg every weekend. I´ve never lived there, but I spend there a lot of time.
You know that many people don’t know who are the KZL organizers?
AIMÉ Yes, I know, and it´s good. I don’t like to be in front of people, to show off, it´s my personality. I like to be at the backstage. I hate presentations. I do it only if nobody wants to do it in my team. I am a shy person.
RODNEY I don’t like to be in public neither and to have my face on posts and promotion videos. I would prefer to stay in shadow. Until recently almost nobody knew I was also an organizer of KZL. But now I am starting to be identified and respectively I’m being more and more invited to parties and festivals.
How is KZL if you can give it only a few words?
Dj X-TRA getting better, creativity, family
RODNEY family, enjoyment, friendship and happiness
TWO THINGS THAT MADE THIS EDITION DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS AND ALSO FROM OTHER KIZOMBA FESTIVALS!!!
FOR THE FIRST TIME KIZOMBA LUXEMBOURG PRESENTED:
The Unique Pass
X-TRA Each time they are more and more dancers with experience, so they just come to enjoy, to dance not to learn. We have one of the best social rooms in Europe (Blog: agree!!). The UNIQUE pass is also to reduce the price so that people who like to dance don’t feel that they pay too much for the festival.
Dj PINGUSSO Why? – because there are a lot of contradiction, after a long discussion we decided not to have them. On the 1st edition we didn’t have taxi dancers, and I don’t remember that problem with the balance. For me it’s not an issue, we are going to work on it, so it will not be an issue. (Blog: and it wasn´t at all! It was great and a big success!!)
AIMÉ Maybe this year there is a bit less people at KZL due to the changes mentioned above, but I don’t mind having less people as long as they enjoy the festival and really like it! I prefer it like this rather than people come and complain. We don’t work for money, it’s not interesting.
What is the idea behind this decision?
As you all know, the 5th Edition was very special. For the first time the organizers haven´t contracted any taxi-dancers. And they have their reasons for that. In addition to the comments above, about a month ago on the official KZL page in Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/157426514923880/ ) you could also see a video where they explained in 3 languages the “why” (https://www.facebook.com/kizombaluxembourg/ posted 01.03.2018 ).
But behind that decision there is a very interesting idea, that has been processed in the last weeks!
It’s simple. It is no news that recently every man wants to be a taxi-dancer, although sometimes they don’t even know how to dance properly, as they’ve been dancing just for 3 to 4 months. Looking for free trips, free accommodation and food they decide to join a taxi-team, but to be honest they are not experienced enough.
So, how to choose a good taxi dancer from this huge crowd?
The organizers of Kizomba Luxembourg decided to set up a Taxi Dancer Association, which includes an agreement between two parties – the organizers of different festivals and taxi-teams, together creating special rules to be a part of an official List of Taxi-Dancers.
The list would be published for use of both parties. The first steps include talking to as many organizers as possible to see what they think about this idea. After that to speak to teams if they are OK to do it, and then together write an official list of rules. Those who are IN have to accept these rules. Those who are not interested can do whatever they want.
Some of the organizers, like Narcisse *Universal Kiz*. Yannik *Futurokiz*, etc., have been already approached, as well as some of the taxi-teams. They liked the idea!
I wonder if the decision not to take taxi dancers this year is just temporal until the Association of taxis will be founded. Let´s see what happens next year!!
Luxembourg proves to be the pioneer and the revolutionary in the kizomba world. They make changes!
Now it´s time to rest and recover after a long 5-days-and-nights KZL event, which is already inviting you to its 6th Edition in 2019! Check it at https://www.facebook.com/events/2143288782378729/ and book your pass in advance to make sure you don´t miss it!
Official KZL T-shirts all over 5 years: