Rad Season is a platform that connects people with amazing events, tix, insurance and more. Founder Oli Russell-Cowan gives us the skinny.
Your platform includes over 600 events for 2019, including sports, adventure and music festivals. How do you vet new events?
We have an awesome team of contributors at Rad Season including writers, journalists and videographers across the world. They specialize in a particular sport or have a passion for music festivals, crazy culture events and general adventure travel. When they point us in the direction of a new event or festival, we discuss back in the office if we personally would attend these events. We basically run our own litmus test:
1. Gut feel – would we go personally?
2. Trusted advisors – has anyone from our team been?
3. Videos – We look for video footage of the event.
The event goes up on the Rad Season events platform 9 times out of 10, if it gets us amped and we want to go there straight away.
Rad Season makes it easy for thrillseekers to book tickets, accommodation, and make human connections at events. Now for the hard part: got any tips for less-experienced travellers on how to choose an event?
Do what you love doing would be my main piece of advice. We cover quite a few different types of events, from action sports to crazy food fight festivals and everything in between. If there is something that you are passionate about at home like running, why not train for a race abroad? Don’t forget to do some research about what to take on your trip. How to get there, where to stay and what to pack.
The same goes for other categories like music festivals. There are so many great festivals in epic locations like on the beach or in the mountains. So if skiing is your thing or chilling on the beach, then there are a few options.
If you are looking to go to an event that you have never been to before, there are some unbelievably fun ones out there. Sonkgran for example, which is a quirky cultural event to celebrate Thailand’s New Year. During the festival they have the world’s largest water fight. The whole country takes part soaking each other with water pistols and buckets of water. This is certainly a better and safer first festival experience than going to the Battle of the Oranges Festival, for example. While they spray water in Thailand, they throw oranges at each other in Italy.
Not quite sure how you do it, but you manage to attend a bunch of the events mentioned on Rad Season. What advice do you have for these types of event travellers?
For the first couple of years, when I was building up Rad Season, I spent the majority of my time behind the computer. I had been chatting to all kinds of people who had just been to a festival or were heading to one. Let’s just say, I got serious FOMO, haha.
Last year I decided it was time to hit the road and do a festival tour myself. My aim was to get involved and experience all kinds of events to get a real understanding of what I liked and what we wanted to focus on at Rad. We took the learnings and build the best one-stop-site to help people discover events, and plan and book their trip. It was also great fun and an amazing time for my family. I went to 25 festivals in the summer last year with my wife and our 2-year-old son. He attended the majority as well.
Depending on where you go, make sure you bring your own equipment. If that is not an option, do some research if you can rent what you are looking for at the destination, such as bikes, surfboards, skis, etc. It is not always as easy as back home and you don’t want any disappointments on your trip.
A few years back I was on a surfing trip in Central America and had a random freak accident on a boat. I ended up going to the emergency ward and getting stitches and some dental work done. Luckily my board was alright. Joking aside, I’m glad I had coverage for the trip to cover my bills.
Wear decent shoes as you will be running around the place. I have done 10-plus kms at festivals, a few days in a row, just from walking around.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement and forget about the basic things such as staying hydrated. I always bring a water flask with me in my bag.
Music festivals tend to attract a large crowd, especially near the stage when the acts are on. I usually only take with me what I really need. A front-facing bag may not be super fashionable but it keeps my valuables such as money, phone and camera safe.
If I go with my family or friends, we always arrange a meeting spot. It is just so easy to get lost in the crowd.
What trends are you seeing in new events?
It’s all about creating an experience that the event attendee will never forget. New events are going above and beyond to make sure that people will not just tell their friends, but come back year after year.
Social media plays a massive role, especially at some of the large music events. This is not the case at the action sports, adventure and community-run events. It is more about having a good time and enjoying the moment.
The event industry is booming with more and more events coming up every year. The majority of our events have been running for decades and are simply getting more fun year on year.
Describe one of your favourite event/festival moments
There’s certainly been some crazy ones. I recently went to the Jarramplas Festival in Spain, which takes place in a small town called Pional in Extremadura. Imagine a local lad dressing up in an armoured devil costume and thousands of people pelting him with turnips. It is an honour for the guy chosen to be the Jarramplas. For me it was an unforgettable experience, one minute I was throwing turnips, the next I had to run and hide behind the next corner to not be hit myself or being stamped on by the crowd. The whole town turns into a party afterwards, in true Spanish fashion.
There’s something about Spanish Festivals for me. The local songs and craziness is super fun to be part of. We are now based in Portugal, so not too far away from Spain. I’m actually heading to Las Fallas in Valencia in March, and I look forward to creating more memories during that trip.
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