What made you decide that organising Kizomba festivals was your next step?
I have two great passions in life: Dance and Tourism. Dance has always been number one since age seven where I was either on stage or practicing. Later when I decided to study at the Tourism and Hotels Faculty of Budapest Business College, it became pretty clear to me that the profession that makes me feel the most fulfilled needs to have something to do with tourism. So, when I started travelling to salsa festivals and the question “but when is the festival in Budapest? I want to visit your city!” started to pop up more and more often, I started to feel the call.
I was about twenty-three at the time. I also discovered kizomba already back in 2008, and nobody had anywhere to dance it in my country so it was pretty obvious that if I want this situation to change, I needed to step up and make it happen. The idea of the first BKC was born in the summer of 2011, and the first event took place in December – with a huge success and three times more participants than we expected. It was the very first one with many many of the dancers who are still travelling around today, or even teaching.
How do you determine which artists, performers and DJs you invite?
My selection is based on a lot of different factors but of course mostly my own personal and professional judgement as a leader. There is something about BKC that makes it special and I believe that this family atmosphere everyone talks about comes from the core and the crew.
Talent is very important, also is professionalism, trustworthiness and punctuality, but also a lot of other human factors like to be down to earth and easy to approach, to socialize with people without having to push, common sense stuff. Of course I have a lot of new artists in mind to invite to the next editions, but I like to keep it compact so we just add one to two names each time, no fifty-name-long line ups at BKC.
What are the biggest challenges you face each year?
The biggest challenge is during the year. The event itself runs smooth as we already have tremendous experience. But the year is tough. We are fighting to sell at a market overly saturated with copy-paste events, and a lot of fake events (not just 1st edition scams, but also the ones who even though they lose money every time, still continue).
And unfortunately people do not really care if it’s an 8th edition or a 1st, It is incredibly challenging to maintain the same number of participants (or grow) each year, when sometimes we have four to five festivals happening on the same weekend. I believe there should be much more respect out there among organizers especially towards the ones that came “before you” and avoiding these pointless overlaps would benefit everyone.
What would you say has been some of the highlights so far?
Each year has its highlights so it’s hard to choose one… But being able to finally organize BKC at this marvellous venue was a real dream come true. I have been wishing to be able to organize a festival there since I first saw the ship, and it has proved to be an excellent choice. It has transformed the whole identity of the festival to another level.
What does the future hold for Budapest Kizomba Connection?
Well, what works, why change? Budapest Kizomba Connection will continue its mission – to show the real essence of Kizomba and Semba to the world and become a reference point at the world of International Dance Festivals. We aim to reach higher though, and you soon will see many surprises which I cannot share yet. All I can say is that we are expanding the horizons and planning some really awesome new events for the lovers of Kizomba and Semba. The Real Deal.
Budapest Kizomba Connection (BKC 2018) will be taking place on the Danube River from August 30th – September 3rd! Get your tickets HERE