How web3 meets creative industries in Portugal: Interview

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BlockDown Festival: Portugal, hosted by web3 Creative Marketing and Communications Agency EAK Digital, will kick off its second annual in-person Web3 and blockchain festival in Algarve, Portugal, on July 10-12, 2023.

The festival will bring together key leaders in web3 and the creator economy, focusing on creative industries such as music, fashion, entertainment, sports, gaming, and arts.

With the large influx of web2 brands over the last 18 months, BlockDown Festival will also host speakers from major traditional brands discussing their entrance and experience into web3. Speaking content includes exclusive fireside chats, panels, debates, and keynote speeches.

We caught up with Blockdown founder Erhan Korhaliller to learn more about the origin of the conference, this year’s programming, and ultimately how Blockdown Festival brings together the creative arts across web3 and more…

Disclaimer: CryptoSlate is an official media partner for BlockDown Festival.

Now in its eighth edition, Blockdown Festival returns to the Algarve, Portugal July 10th-12th, after originally launching as the web3 industry’s first ever live virtual event in April of 2020. What inspired you to launch BlockDown as the world shut down?

Our web3 PR and Marketing agency, EAK Digital, was organizing the first Istanbul Blockchain Week in 2019, we had an epic speaker lineup and the Hilton Hotel booked in the center of Istanbul. This was the first event we had organized and things were going great, and then covid-19 hit and everything fell apart. Of course, we had to cancel the event and refund all sponsors; this was devastating to me as I’d worked extremely hard on putting this together.

When the world shut down in March 2020, we were all looking for things to take our minds off of the covid-19 pandemic. I was sitting in my childhood bedroom at this point (due to the lockdown!), wondering what we should do. We had this great speaker lineup but no conference, thus BlockDown was born.

BlockDown allowed me and my team to laser focus on creating a metaverse-inspired virtual experience that has never been done before in just 6 weeks. The excitement of bringing the whole blockchain community together for 12 hours per day live across 48 hours, taking in the biggest speakers and projects from Beijing to Los Angeles, was an exhilarating experience.

I was also inspired by having Akon with us as a speaker for five BlockDown editions. Back in the first edition in April 2020, there was a lot of media attention about Akon appearing at BlockDown as it was the first global blockchain event he had participated in.

As somebody who spent his university days dancing to Akon on student nights late into the night, I never thought we would end up working together like this. So that was a big thrill.

Finally, by tying the ‘lockdown into’ our name, we will never forget what inspired BlockDown and staying true to our DNA and core values of hosting events with interactivity, fun, and engagement tied to the heart of the event.

BlockDown isn’t your typical web3 conference, as it focuses on bringing together the creative arts across web3 with a unique mix of world-class content, arts, fashion, entertainment, music and unique networking opportunities. Can you tell us more about what’s in store with the programming this year?

As you rightly said, BlockDown Festival focuses on the intersection of web3 and culture, the crossover of the creative industries such as music, sports, arts, fashion, gaming and entertainment.

For music, we have partnered with web3 music platform TokenTraxx, in creating a web3 music takeover stage in the secret garden stage of the festival. We will be inviting 8 web3 musicians that have found success in the NFT space to speak and perform at the festival. We have a nice mix of different music genres, and It will give the festival great energy while giving everyone a chance to discover new up-and-coming web3 music artists.

For Fashion, we have partnered up with the Metaverse Fashion Council for our fashion-related content. First up, on July 11th, we will have a metaverse-inspired fashion show on the conference’s main stage, catwalk included! In between each fashion speaking content, there will be a fashion show for fashion lovers and curious minds alike to enjoy the latest in the future of fashion.

In addition, something we are very excited about is the world’s first fashion AI hackathon happening at BlockDown Festival this year. The Metaverse Fashion Council has just released Style AI, a first-of-its-kind fashion AI that will create fashion garments based on your prompts. In an America’s got talent style competition, competitors will take the stage to battle it out who can make the most fashionable clothing and judge by expert fashion judges, which will be very exciting.

For Gaming, we have partnered up with the Blockchain Game Alliance to support us in bringing together the best gaming content possible. We will have W3E with us, who will have a gaming zone and experience hosting live web3 gaming tournaments throughout the festival.

Guest speakers will include leaders in web3, the creator economy and major traditional brands. Can you share with us some of the key speakers and brands who’ll be in attendance?

As web3 goes more mainstream, more and more web3 projects want to partner with the world’s biggest brands to onboard the next generation of people into web3. With that in mind, we have some major brands at BlockDown Festival this year.

To name a few, we have Pär Helgosson, head of web3 and metaverse at PSG, one the world’s largest football clubs and brands,

Keeping on the sports front, we have John Wolfe, Web3 Lead at McLaren Racing. He will be hosting a keynote speech and joining an expert panel of brands discussing how Mclaren Racing has successfully entered web3 and where they see the future trajectory of the industry.

Finally, on the brand front, we have Julian O’Hayon, co-founder and CEO of BLVCK Paris. This luxury lifestyle fashion brand has done amazing things in web3 and is a pioneering example of other fashion brands integrating web3 into their existing business models.

We also have the CEO of Animoca Brands, Robby Yung, joining us for a fireside chat live on our main stage alongside some great VCs like Bankless Ventures.

And the great thing is we still have so much more to announce. Check back to our speakers’ page on the BlockDown Festival to keep updated on the latest speaker announcements!

There will be a metaverse fashion show taking place IRL and online, featuring awe-inspiring designs from top NFT designers. Can you tell us more about the event, and how you decided to choose which designers to collaborate with?

Yes, we are looking forward to this. As mentioned before, this is in collaboration with the Metaverse Fashion Council, advising us on the best designers and fashion houses to partner with for the Metaverse fashion show. The fashion show will be split into four segments, with a fashion-related speech and panels in between each performance.

For those at the festival, We will have a 10 ft catwalk for the models to take to the stage and showcase the different fashion designs, and the show will be live IRL and, of course, in the metaverse on July 11th.

Blockdown will be hosting Europe’s very first Bored Ape Yacht party! Can you tell us more about this collaboration and how you were able to join forces?

I met the Bored Ape guys in Dubai recently and attended one of their shows and knew instantly that we had to bring this to BlockDown Festival. I had a meeting with them where we were aligned with them regarding the content and production of the party, and they are excited to come to Portugal for the first time. 

They will be hosting two parties, the Bored Ape Yacht Party is very exclusive, naturally, as it is on a yacht, the numbers are limited, and those on that boat will also be treated to trips through the world-famous Benagil Cave and be with a stop at a private beach for a Bored Ape BBQ!

On July 12th, on the festival’s main stage, DJ Ape will bring the Bored Ape experience to the whole festival for a 2-hour DJ set featuring unique tracks and merchandise. I can’t wait to see it!

Was it still possible for web3 creators to get involved with Blockdown this July? If so, how can they get in touch?

We want to keep our doors open to collaboration for as long as possible. In particular, we would love to hear from music artists, NFT artists, Digital Fashion Designers, and anyone or company that can enrich the BlockDown Festival experience for our guests. The more creative the idea, the better!

For more information, see BlockDown Festival: Portugal.

Connect with Erhan Korhaliller

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