Welcome to Bolsoul
A new concept in Soul music entertainment situated at the luxurious 4 star Elaphusa Hotel in the picturesque resort of Bol on the island of Brac in Croatia. The hotel is situated just a short walk from the famous Zlatni Rat beach which extends 500 meters into the Adriatic Sea and is one of the most unique beaches in the world – a truly awesome location.
Bolsoul 2015: The Anatomy Of A Unique Event Year 2
Last year we did a sort of post-mortem on the first Bolsoul festival in 2015. It was a spontaneous effort but in writing about the event it helped clarify our minds and gave us quite a bit to think about in terms of how we should build the event throughout the future. All in all it was handy and, if nothing else, at least showed that we think about this stuff and continue to learn as we progress.
Bolsoul 2015 was our first festival, so everything was done from scratch and it really was a leap into the unknown. We had to manage our expectations along with our Croatian colleagues and hope that we could make enough of a bang for the event to establish itself from the off. We knew we would lose money because festivals always lose money until they become established and that's the risk that everybody takes who gets into the festival game.
So Bolsoul 2015 launched. We were tenacious in our target to book Jarrod Lawson and that paid off with no less than 3 stellar performances from this hugely talented artist which will remain etched in everyone's memory banks for years to come. We also featured memorable performances from the wonderful Tracy Hamlin, the bubbly Rose Vincent and had the pleasure of some unexpected performances from Tahira Ash Memory courtesy of Jarrod Lawson's sets. Plus our line-up of musically credible DJs assured us of a sterling event. We knew it would an uphill struggle to establish a new festival from the first one - people are cautious and generally like to see something work first before they invest in it. So whilst we were short on overall numbers, the buzz and excitement of the event was evident amongst everyone who was there. So we went home broke but happy if that makes any sense.
Anyway, the hard work on the first Bolsoul paid off as the bookings started coming for Bolsoul 2016 and steadily built throughout 2016. We ended up with around 300% more people for the second Bolsoul including most of those who came to the first event and had obviously spread the word. Plus we brought veteran Contemporary Soul vocalists Glenn Jones and Carmichael Music Lover over from the U.S. and the wonderful Cool Million over from Germany, Norway & The UK and had a whale of a time over the course of the week. But perhaps the most reassuring thing was the sheer joy and vibe of the customers and that goodwill was the recurring theme of Bolsoul 2016. This time we almost broke-even. Some unexpected extra expenses with the live acts and the unexpected hiring of 4 extra coaches for the return transfers took us back to minus, but that is small stuff for an event which brought so much joy over the course of the week. Plus it's a marathon not a sprint as all our other festival organizer buddies keep telling us. Good job we're not in it for the money ay?
As per usual the hotel, the facilities, the incredible location of Bolsoul and the warmth of the Croatian people were key factors in the success of Bolsoul 2016 and we're blessed to be working with the Blue Sun organization who sure know how to run beautiful hotels and resorts. This year we upgraded our administration and transfer processes and managed to get 250 people to the island of Brac and back at the allotted times, which wasn't always easy - strong tidal undercurrents prevented the regular Bol-Split ferry on the day of departure which didn't help but we still made the planes regardless. We will continue to work on this throughout the rest of this year and next and keep improving the process. We are well on top of the flight situation and the website and Facebook pages regularly get updated with information as soon as we get it.
We did finally manage to use the Boraca Beach venue a couple of times and that proved to be a resounding hit with the audience, including memorable concerts from the Cool Million team and Carmichael Music Lover plus a lovely Caribbean buffet which hit the spot beautifully. The trip to Hvar peaked with the fantastic vibe at Bar Adriana for an early afternoon session which left a lasting impression on everyone.
More people this time did mean that we had to deal with more stuff. We had a couple of minor accidents, a minor break-out of a cold/fluey type virus and some other random stuff but everything got successfully sorted in a timely manner and the show carried on. We had extra personnel on board this year to keep an eye on things and we'll keep adding to the team as the events continues to grow.
And, talking about growth, this will be organic growth as it has been thus far. We don't want Bolsoul to lose the sense of intimacy that the first two festivals created so we've always conceived Bolsoul as being a 'boutique festival' and that's the way we'll stay. Bolsoul was created so that lovers of contemporary Soul music could listen to the music over 7 days in paradise in luxurious comfort and that's the way we'll keep it.
Roll on Bolsoul 2017. 7-14th October 2017
The Bolsoul Boys
20th November 2016