Brand The Brand: Benedetta Venturini | Soundspace

Brand The Brand: Benedetta Venturini

Brand The Brand: Benedette Venturini

Tuscany based Flash Festival is about to kick off its third year this May, with a weekend of music, food, wine and other activities such as yoga.

With a 2019 line up that includes Laurence Guy, Chaos In The CBD and Dan Shake, we sat down with festival founder Benedetta Venturini to get the low down on what punters might expect.

Discussing her own experience in the industry, why Flash came to be, her hopes for the future and more, Benedetta gives some real insights into what goes on behind the scenes.

Can you tell us a bit about how you started in music? What led you to a career in such a challenging area?

I got my first real start in music in Sydney, Australia. After studying in Milan, I moved to Sydney to do my Masters in Event Management. Young, motivated and eager to learn with a passion for music, I got involved with any gig I could. I worked in event production offices learning everything from tour logistics, event design, ticketing, marketing.

Over 5 years of hard work and no sleep I built a network of friends and I got to work on the most exciting world tours in Australia – Foo Fighters, Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and learnt from some of the best people in the industry.

Coming from a small town in Tuscany, there wasn’t a big music industry. Watching Dolores from The Cranberries, Florence & The Machine at Glastonbury – these women were really something special for me.

On that note, what skills do you think someone looking to make a career for themselves in music should possess?

Good communicator (I speak four languages), a love for people, strong but flexible and good at multi-tasking – especially if you’re independent, you need to be across everything.

Do you think being a woman has impacted your career in the music industry? Do you find it an industry that’s receptive to young women getting involved?

You need to be strong to work in the music industry. When I started, the music business was definitely more masculine.

Women filled the administration roles whilst men were usually the promoters. However, over recent times I’ve been seeing more women take over these established roles which helped me a lot to look up to those female figures and want to be like them.

Being able to work with strong females at the same, or even higher levels compared to strong males, made my ambitions more realistic and allowed me to grow every day.

There’s still a bit to go but now we’re starting to see women across the whole industry – promoters, production managers, tour managers. It is challenging and very competitive, but this world is changing for good.

Can you tell us a bit about your day-to-day role with the festival at the moment? We assume it’s pretty full-on, but what does your role as Director actually entail?

As a Director of a small independent festival I pretty much do everything. For example, I’ve just been in a risk and safety meeting followed by a meeting with a wine sommelier.

I’m based in London but fly to Italy regularly. In Italian, I manage all stakeholders, partnerships, local council, wine sommeliers, production and event management. In English, I manage the budget, bookings, marketing, and creatives. And of course, promoting the festival and spreading the beautiful vibes of Tuscany in all languages around the world!

I have a beautiful small team of friends that work for me on various levels. It really is a dream come true.

Let’s talk a bit about your latest endeavour, Flash Festival. How did the idea come about? And why was now the right time to start a festival in Tuscany?

Flash Festival is a celebration.

It’s connecting people from all around the world in one of the most beautiful places in the world – Tuscany. So many people I met travelling dream of Tuscany but never really take action on getting there – until they’re retired.

Great weather, welcoming local people, a fun music line-up, delicious food and the best wine – what more do you want? When I first started producing Flash Festival a friend once said – ‘if people camp at Burning Man with no money and water in the desert, I’m sure they’ll go to Tuscany’

Italy has a weak festival culture compared to the rest of Europe and we’re seeing a shift in nature of festivals.

You’re merging great dance music with food and wine etc, which is quite a novel concept in many ways. How did you come up with this idea?

Having worked for many festivals and events around the world, I noticed more people are wanting more than music at a festival.

For Flash Festival, I implement the 4E’s of an experience – Entertainment, Education, Escapism, A(e)sthetic. People are travelling to Tuscany from all corners of the globe so let’s celebrate with the best of Tuscany. Instead of just drinking a nice local Chianti from the bar, let’s learn about it and do wine tasting masterclasses with the winemakers. Tuscany has all the best ingredients so let’s just add them to the mix!

Italy isn’t really renowned for camping festivals such as Flash. Why do you think this is? And how much of a challenge will changing this perception be?

Festivals have been proven to have positive economic, environmental and social impacts on a country or region. Look at Sziget in Budapest. Festivals are used as catalyst in countries to re-strategize territorial marketing and to increase tourism.

Italy is an old country. It has difficulty looking at opportunities. Italians don’t understand the experience economy. Most festivals are free or subsidized by art associations. So Italians have trouble paying for a ticket.

I have partnered with an innovative council that can see the long-term benefits of a festival in the community. I like to involve local businesses and residents. I’ve got local DJs playing that are so talented but don’t get the opportunity to play further than the local wine bar.

You’ve chosen a really great line-up for the event. Who are you looking forward to seeing the most? And how did you settle on the artists you have chosen?

When you stand under the sun in Tuscany and you look out at the beautiful surroundings all you want to hear is electronic rhythms and soulful grooves.

The last edition of Flash Festival saw people come from all around the world – UK, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand and Denmark.

I need to experience the shows myself and I wanted great acts from around the world that complement the Tuscan surroundings and all the food and wine. Dan Shake is a great time, whilst Chaos in the CBD have blown me away at several parties in London. CC:DISCO!’s funky sets and Laurence Guy’s sophisticated sound will really suit Tuscany. I’m also very proud of what’s coming out of Tuscany right now – Dukwa and Bosconi Records have this beautiful Mediterranean sound that I’m really excited to see in May.

How important is it that people involved buy into the concept of the festival?

It’s really just a great weekend with your mates in Tuscany. During the day you are eating food, trying all the wine, crate-digging vinyl by the pool. At night you can get wild under the stars dancing to music.

Harmony, sense of community, connecting happy people.

What do you see as the long-term vision for the festival? Is it important to look at things like this do you think?

I want to grow and establish the concept of Flash Festival. I want to keep it an intimate high-quality experience. I want to grow the music program and bring beautiful artists to Tuscany. I want to strengthen partnerships and support local community through art and culture and show the world Tuscany is more than a honeymoon destination – it’s a great time!

Aside from great music, food and wine, what more should visitors to Flash look out for this summer?

It’s a multi-sensorial experience that an international-minded festival brings to the Tuscan land.

People can gather to Flash Festival to enjoy Tuscany and be involved with a beautiful community of like like-minded people from around the world.

You have 3-nights camping (or glamping) under the Tuscan stars. Yoga sessions and massages to wake your spirit up in the morning and throughout the day. Scenic cycling tours through the vineyards. The best Tuscan wines explained to you with five masterclasses each day. Cheese tasting. Pasta making with the local Nonna. Olive oil showers.. not, I am joking on the last. But olive oil will be definitely there!

Finally, how would you best describe Tuscany in 5 words?

Colourful, Smiling, Simplicity, Rustic, Tomatoes.

For more information on tickets, dates and line up, head to Flash Festivals website.