The aim of the Contents for Cross Cultural Events – C3E stakeholder coffee event on the 21st of March at Concerthall Mikaeli was to enhance collaboration between cultural actors, companies, the third sector and educational institutions to create unique experiences for Mikkeli residents, visitors and tourists with the Mikkeli Music Festival as a case study. This was the first step to create new concepts, which combine tourism, culture and student projects.

Bundling and packaging of the services and products is essential in reaching new customers – both local and visitors – and the collaboration brings more vitality to the South-Savo region. This networking event was organized by two projects, namely the Eteläsavolaisen matkailun osaamisloikka and the earlier mentioned C3E, funded from the CBC 2014-2010 programme. The focus of the morning coffee was how to collaborate to get synergies with the Mikkeli Music Festival, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in year 2021 and is in a fast renewal phase thanks to its new Festival Manager Mr. Teemu Laasanen. The Artistic Director of the festival is Mr. Valeri Gergiev from Russia.

A great amount of eager development oriented actors, 48 persons all together representing 30 different organisations, were willing to share their ideas on how to develop the region and the service packages in collaboration.

While the Russian tourist are still the most important group of tourists in the South Savo region their amount has been diminished, told Mr. Marko Riabkov from the Visit Saimaa project, Mikkeli Development company.

The festival Manager Mr. Teemu Laasanen presented new and innovative ideas on how the Mikkeli Music Festival will be packing services and offering high quality, authentic Russian and Scandinavian experiences for wider audiences like families with children. Laasanen emphasized the importance of creating a great ambiance in the festival. The festival is already known for combining high quality classical music, Russian and Finnish talent, high stake seminars and the enchantments of the Finnish summer in their programme, thus attracting summer visitors from the Southern Finnish bigger cities. Nevertheless, Laasanen named one bigger challenge, which is how to make the festival even more visible and attractive to the local people. Hopefully new openings and new genres in the programme will have a positive impact on international and domestic visitors, and the residents alike, in attaining their interest.

Overall, the presentation of Mikkeli Music Festival revealed new ideas for collaboration and the participants continued discussion after the morning coffee event. Business cards and greetings were exchanged and networking before and after the presentations were active. The C3E project launch in the form of stakeholder morning coffee event was a great start for the future collaborations within the region and across the border.

Text: Mr. Niko Arola and Ms. Heini Haapaniemi

Picture credits: Ms. Jade Hirvonen

The C3E project is part of the CBC 2014-2020 Programme, funded by the European Union, Russian Federation and the Republic of Finland
More info of the C3E project at