We sat down with Michael Masberg, Associate Creative Director at battleROYAL, and talked about our collaboration with the Hans Christian Andersen Festivals. He shares how this project was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and what perspectives are on the horizon.

battleROYAL: Briefly describe the planned project you were working on?

Michael: We designed the centerpiece experience for 2020’s H.C. Andersen Festivals in Odense, Denmark. The annual, week-long festival is one of the largest cultural events in Denmark, hosting more than 500 cultural activities. It is held in the city centre of Odense, the hometown of the famous author Hans Christian Andersen, and in the spirit of one of the world’s greatest storytellers. Some of the festival’s guiding values are opportunity, community, imagination, and innovation. We took these values and translated them into a unique communal experience.

battleROYAL: When did you know for sure the project would be cancelled? And how did you handle that moment?

Michael: The festival committee made this decision quite early in April and informed us immediately. It was the right call and had to be expected. We discussed the option before. Sure, it was sad, but not devastating. We‘ll do it next year.

battleROYAL: When do you expect to pick the project back up?

Michael: The festival will be back next year, and we will be a part of it. The preparations will begin this year.

battleROYAL: If so, is there going to be a pivot involved?

Michael: Of course. Things are changing rapidly, especially in the field of digitalization and mixed reality events. We are currently experiencing a kind of evolutionary leap. People are getting used to new possibilities, and you cannot step back from that.

aarhus live event light show by night

© Paul Gärtner

battleROYAL: How might that pivot support to challenge the project?

Michael: The festival in 2021 will not be the same as the one originally planned for 2020. We always intended to actively involve the community locally and globally. With the new possibilities of hybrid events, which we are currently developing for various occasions, we can even enhance the possibilities of participation. This does not change the project but supports our original intention.

battleROYAL: What was the biggest thing you have missed during the Covid-19 period? 

Michael: Hugging people.

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