Staging a Feat: Behind the Scenes with the 7107 Organizers
The Philippines is at the cusp of its first international music festival, which founders Tina Herrera and Mike Pio Roda proclaim is an event to introduce Filipino talent to a global audience.
Tina Herrera, the executive producer of both Philippine Fashion Week and
7107 International Music Festival, says, " It looks like everything is happening as it should."
Busy may be an understatement to describe the past couple of months for Tina Herrera and Mike Pio Roda. Besides being the head honchos of Style Media Asia and Supreme Talent Management respectively, Tina and Mike are the founders and producers of the 7107 International Music Festival – a two-day event that will be held in the Global Gateway Logistics property in Clark, Pampanga.
The festival took the spotlight when it announced its headline act, Red Hot Chili Peppers, for its opening day on February 22. The decades-long acclaimed band has never been to the Philippines and was last in Asia in 2011. Since then, the response has been overwhelming, ticket sales for the festival coming from over 18 countries, ranging from Spain to Pakistan to Korea.
“To be honest, we didn’t expect these results this early and this being our first year,” says Tina, who along with Mike, hopes to promote a line-up of up to 40 Filipino artists to an international audience that was attracted to come to the country because of RHCP. “[Here you have people saying] let’s all go to the Philippines,” she says, “[Then they think,] ‘Oh my God, there’s The Radioactive Sago Project. They’re so awesome, maybe we should fly them to Indonesia too.’ I think that when the local artists perform at local festivals like this, they get the confidence and experience to tour and get insight to develop [the local standards of music].”
“That’s what happened with Kendrick Lamar, and look at where he is now,” says Mike, mentioning the Grammy-nominated rapper who shares the stage with the DJ Kaskade on February 23, the second day of the festival. The Australian electronica act, Empire of the Sun, as well as the American alternative rock group, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, will also be performing alongside a few other international acts.
NO STRANGERS IN THE FESTIVAL
For a country with such music-loving folk, the music festival itself is a recent development in local lifestyles. With Pinoy rock taking the lead for the past few decades and the Pinoy hip-hop scene growing underground, a commonplace event for music has not existed for Filipinos outside record label OPM concerts until recently.
"We're ready for an audience of 35,000 people," says Tina.
“For me, a festival is to have [a number of] components in place: multiple days, multiple stages, great artists on both days, and a good selection of music,” says Tina. Patterned after the variety of genres featured in the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California and the outdoor electronic music fest that is the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Mike says that 7107 will make its own identity.
“I’m not a stranger to doing events,” says Tina, whose high school days in Long Beach, California, had her hosting house parties with the likes of DJ’s Virman (of the Far East Movement) and E-man (of Power 106 in Los Angeles). “I’m not a stranger to attending global events either,” adds the executive producer of the Philippine Fashion Week and its television coverage of Fashion Weeks all over the world through Runway Television Asia.
While having this contribution to the fashion industry under her belt, Tina admits being a stranger to the festival industry until 7107. “A festival draws more people at one time versus fashion where you can achieve the same number of people over a series of shows,” she says. “I know in the States that festivals can attract a hundred thousand people in a day. We can do the same numbers in PFW but it would be over five days and over 30 shows. So, just the magnitude and preparation for a festival is different from setting up a runway show because you have to build the festival from the ground up.”
Mike, who was raised in Canada has been in the Philippines for only about two years now, but has collaborated for other events in the recent past. “I met a couple of people here and started booking events like Lifehouse for Dayly Entertainment,” he says, adding to a roster of events that includes Lupe Fiasco and the DJ Erick Morillo, “Then it moved into this project with 7107.” Mike’s experience in staging the festival is supported by a background in engineering and traffic while working with the municipal governments of Vancouver and Barnaby for such events as the 2010 Winter Olympics. “On the side of my day job, we started doing musical events with Brian McKnight, Tony! Toni! Toné!, and SWV,” he says, “I just got addicted to it.” Seeing that traffic is one of the biggest problems in the Philippines, Mike jokingly says that his contribution to the festival will be to fix it. “No wonder you always have traffic suggestions,” Tina tells him.
PROMOTING LOCAL TALENT
Tina and Mike have the help of an international team as well. “They’re pros at [producing festivals] and have worked with a lot of the international artists that we are flying in,” says Tina of the group behind the recent Super Bowl halftime show, which featured Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers on the same stage.
Despite the tremendous effort in staging this feat, the team of 7107 has been receiving some negativity over a number of issues ranging from ticket prices, marketing, and the artist line-up. Tina and Mike shrug their shoulders and focus on the event at hand. “The reason for the name , which is the number of islands the Philippines has, is to push the artists that we have and promote them globally by doing festivals like this,” says Tina. “We have been in worse situations closer to the event. There are a lot of things that need to be fixed and will be fixed, before the artists even get here. We’re just in the middle of the hustle right now, but that’s what we’re good at and that’s why we’re here.”
The 7107 International Music Festival will be held at Global Gateway Logistics, Clark, Pampanga, on February 22 to 23. Gates open at noon and close at midnight. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the victims of the typhoon Yolanda through the EJ Litton Foundation as well as #HelpPH through a partnership with Smart. Parking and day passes can be bought through www.7107imf.com.