- A perfect combination: TOA’s innovative and playful festival space, and its beautiful Funkhaus venue.
- “It would be easier for us if TOA was in a big, featureless hall – but in fact, we love the challenge, as it’s so much better for the visitors!”
- How do you combine a cutting-edge tech conference with the feel of a boutique music festival? TOA’s Production Team explain…
Making TOA’s festival into something special is a year-round task for Stefan Hengst and his Production Team colleagues Frank Spitzfaden and Felix Becker.
In the TOA office, Stefan and his close-knit team are usually making or taking phone calls whilst shuffling documents covered in signatures, because they have the job of making everything at TOA happen. (And if you want to see it for yourself – tickets are going up in price on the 1st June.)
And there’s a lot to organise. Here’s a glimpse of TOA in numbers:
- 67,000 square metres of space
- 7 stages, and multiple workshop and networking rooms
- 6000 visitors at the main event
- 400 volunteers
- 200 production crew
- 15,000 cans of Red Bull
- 3000 litres of beer
- 1 UFO (It’s hidden in the Funkhaus garden – see if you can find it)
And it’s not just about logistics – the Production Team’s job is a balance of aesthetics and functionality: TOA’s Funkhaus venue needs to look great, feel fun, and just… work. No easy task when you’re expecting six thousand people to pack out the venue – all seeking knowledge or entertainment or food or music or art or drink or transport or a hidden UFO or…
But for Stefan, it’s the historic venue and TOA’s unique approach that makes it all so exciting. “The Funkhaus is amazing – it’s been there since the 1950s and it still has some of the best-sounding recording studios in the world. The Funkhaus has always stood for cutting-edge creativity and technical innovation, so it’s a perfect place for TOA.”
With innovation and creativity at TOA’s heart, it’s then the Production Team’s job to match the festival’s ambitions with visitors’ expectations. Our visitors love how TOA is a cutting-edge tech conference with the feel of a boutique music festival – and Stefan says a lot of that love is down to the choice of the venue.
“The whole Funkhaus site is an official monument, and it’s a huge, unusual and beautiful space. This means our job actually is actually harder to do – in some ways it would be easier for us if TOA was in a big, featureless hall – but in fact, we love the challenge, as it’s so much better for the visitors.
The visual design of the whole festival is something we’re really proud of. It’s fresh, thoughtful and fun. Frank explains how they do it:
“Inside the Funkhaus, we can play with the classic Bauhaus design and combine the high-tech of the past and the present: like how we augment the beautiful organ pipes in the main hall with modern neon designs. Even the business spaces are treated the same way: modern, exciting and alive. It’s not like anywhere else.”
And outside, the Funkhaus is simply a wonderful place to spend two days of your time: it’s right next to the river, with lawns, trees, and interesting areas to relax in.
Felix enjoys the new challenges that TOA brings each year: “Our venue keeps changing as TOA keeps growing. This year, we’ve taken over the huge industrial hall for the TOA Haus of Tech. It’s a huge, fascinating space, with classic industrial design and that gritty Berlin feel that our guests love.”
The Production Team have made sure that this whole experience lasts from the beginning to the end of your visit to TOA: you can catch our boat from the centre of the city, arrive feeling in a peaceful frame of mind, and enjoy the experience from even before you arrive.
So while Stefan, Frank and Felix might be a bit too busy to fully appreciate TOA as it’s taking place (at the festival, you can identify them by their sturdy boots, thousand-yard stares, and constantly-chirruping lapel radios), their buzz comes from putting the whole thing together and watching people enjoy it.
And then as soon as it’s over, they need to start all over again. As Stefan days: “Building TOA is an all-year-long event for us – as soon as we finish in the Funkhaus, we immediately start again planning for the following year!’”
Come to TOA in July and see the incredible space they create at the Funkhaus for yourself – it’s unlike any other tech festival you’ve ever been to! (Tickets are selling fast and the price goes up on June 1st…)