Oct 27, 2020
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Take Live Gigs Out of Normal Venues

 

In cooperation with JBL he realised his “Unfolding Culture” project and rethought live performances to include environmental awareness and modern mobility. Jonas Skielboe, founder of VeloConcerts, on ecological sustainability in the live biz, touring by bike and independent stages.

Start thinking in new ways and win your own portable PA at the end of this article.

VeloConcerts – Taking Live Gigs Out of Normal Venues

Perhaps you know the spectacular music video on the Mallorcan coast, where a band on bicycles sets up a mobile stage. The guy on the guitar is Jonas Skielboe, founder of VeloConcerts, an unfolding mobile stage. It sits on a premium, custom-designed cargo bike. The complete technical setup is battery powered. That means you can play wherever you want.

VeloConcerts: Unfolding Culture
Photo credit: Daniel Domig

0% Emission – 100% Passion

Jonas has been on the music scene for almost 20 years and wanted to rethink live performances since he is passionate about raising environmental awareness and modern mobility. His motto: bringing opera to the street and rock out of the garage! We fell so much in love with this idea and the simplicity of its implementation that we absolutely wanted to talk to him about his project and the future of live gigs.

gigmit: VeloConcerts is older than the COVID pandemic. But actually, you had already found an answer to the actual crisis of live music with your concept, haven’t you? 

Jonas Skielboe: As an artist, I have always been interested in event formats and live music, and I wanted to find ways to do them differently. Our concept happens to fit in with the COVID-19 situation, where we are all more or less ‘forced’ to do more outdoor events. Performing on the VeloStage is very versatile, you can organise a gig wherever you want since it’s so easy to transport everything. You don’t need electricity as the batteries can go up to 5 hours with our full setup, though with the new EON ONE Compact up to 12 hours!

VeloStage

When I founded VeloConcerts I really wanted to escape the “normal” formats where concerts take place. I am a very outdoor person, coming from trail running and mountain biking. I always travel with my guitar, and some of my fondest memories are of playing spontaneous gigs in the Amazonian jungle. I love the feeling of absolute freedom, and this was what inspired me to bring some of this spontaneity into VeloConcerts. I would like to see VeloConcerts establishing a new way of carrying out concerts in unexpected locations, where both the artist and the audience can experience something special.

How do classic promoters like clubs react to VeloConcerts? 

We have had a really great response so far. Everywhere we go, people seem to really love what we are doing, which of course is a very satisfying feeling. I would love to see VeloConcerts collaborate with respected classical music institutions. They all need to think in new ways and VeloConcerts, in that sense, is the perfect tool for bringing out what’s going on behind the walls. We could all benefit from mutually promoting concerts, clubs and concert houses with VeloConcerts outdoor events.

Are there already imitators outside Austria?

As far as I know, there is nobody out there with a stage like ours. I had the great opportunity to partner with a Viennese-based product designer called Jacob Illera from INSEQ Design and this turned out to be the perfect match. Jakob is very skilled at combining design and functionality and is kind of a bike guru in Vienna. The VeloStage may seem like a simple product, but it’s a technical challenge as we use hi-tech materials, and we have to be able to put everything together on a bike. In June we went on tour to road-test our equipment and drove 750km through Austria. We can now say that we can drive 100km a day, with concerts. That was a great experience, lots of fun and is something that we would definitely like to pursue.

Do you see yourself more as a promoter, an entrepreneur or an artist?

All three, to be honest. Due to the speed at which VeloConcerts has been taking off, I have unfortunately had to cut down on my artistic endeavours. I have played with many outstanding artists in the past, but I really enjoy being a promoter. I have met many exciting artists through VeloConcerts, all from different scenes, so we have a lot of diversity during our events. In the future, I might even create my own VeloBand, if time allows. I love the role of an entrepreneur; it forces me to think out of the box and create something new. The hands-on perspective is also an essential part of running a company. I have actively taken part in the production and assembly of all of the VeloStages, brought them out to events and perform on them regularly. This has been a massive advantage for me, as I can genuinely say that I know our products in detail.

You cooperate among others with JBL. A similar PA, which you also use, is currently being raffled off here. How important are good partners to realise innovative projects? 

We have a great collaboration with JBL. I was very honoured when they approached me, just three months after I started VeloConcerts. They are, of course, a big player on the market, but the bottom line is that it’s about having the right match. JBL’s products are undoubtedly the perfect fit for VeloConcerts. We use the entire product line from Harman, including Soundcraft Ui mixers and AKG microphones. All of these products are top of their line and we were actually using them even before we cooperated with JBL since they fit our concept perfectly. We can also experiment with their products to find the best possible sound, so this allows us to get very creative. I’m all about finding the right fit. I feel that this is essential for selecting my partners and that counts on all levels in life! I use this approach in my business as it’s the only way that everybody can be happy.

How do you finance yourself?

On the financial side, I started VeloConcerts with my own means, as I wanted to take the initiative and make things move. We have since been publicly funded by the Vienna Business Agency, which is a tremendous support to have here in Austria. Up until now, we have been renting out our stages. We have several potential buyers and we are aiming to expand internationally by building up a sort of franchise where you can be a VeloConcerts partner. 

What role does environmental sustainability play for you? What role does it play for the music industry?

To me, sustainability is one of the significant issues in our society right now. I have children and I want to be able to say to them that I actively have done something to make the world better. We might not feel the seriousness of environmental changes in Europe yet, but our children might have to live through severe consequences if we don’t change our behaviour. The music industry is full of environmentally aware people, but the business itself reflects very little of that, which I think is quite a paradox. I used to fly around for my concerts, just like everybody else and I wanted to change that with VeloConcerts and take action. We have to be role models as artists in the music industry, and we should use that to inspire people.

What are the pros & cons of a mobile stage?

It’s an outdoor mobile stage and because everything needs to be carried by bike we depend on Mother Nature and the weather gods. If it’s pouring rain we mostly offer another date, just in case. Being in tune with nature means playing with its rules and not against them. The biggest pro is that our stage unfolds in less than 2 minutes, which offers a considerable degree of flexibility when setting up events. It also folds quickly and leaves no trace. Last but not least, we have proven in the previous year that we can set up events in any location and finding these magic, undiscovered spots and letting the culture unfold is incredibly inspiring. 

Thank you so much, Jonas.

Win the Portable PA for Your Own Future Gigs

As you might know: you can win the PA system Jonas uses for VeloConcerts here. Simply apply with your gigmit Artist Page and win your own JBL EON ONE Compact and a €1,000 production budget! Just answer the following question: Where would you perform your “Play It Safe Christmas Gig” on 5th December with your new JBL portable PA? Find more information on the competition here.

Competition: WIN a PA to go

The best idea wins the JBL EON ONE Compact PA system along with all standard cables, a Soundcraft Signature 12MTK mixer and 2 AKG D5 Microphones worth over €1,800 (value based on RRP of relevant products). The application period has been extended until 9th November 2020, 23:59.


Find your perfect matching promoters and artists on gigmit. Register now!
Learn more about VeloConcerts here & on Instagram!