The physical Medieval Week 2020 was canceled. Instead, an 8-day online festival was organized with global reach. For this effort we were rewarded with the big tourism prize 2021!
Now that the world has been hit by a pandemic a medieval kind, the Middle Ages must simply become modern and digital! In 2020, for the first time, we could welcome everyone to an eight-day free livestream where anything could happen, just like at a regular Medieval week.
We broadcasted live via YouTube.
This led to the award Great Tourism Prize of the Year. The motivation: Medieval week, the medieval week could not be carried out as usual Due to the pandemic, but has nevertheless grown this summer and found new audiences both in Sweden and abroad. A major transition to digital, which was previously a long-term vision, now had to be carried out during a spring of layoffs and concerns. A festival about our history became an innovative and successful digital experiment.
Medieval Week has been held for 36 years and is one of Sweden’s oldest festivals. Every year, around 40,000 visitors visit the eight-day festival with over 600 cultural events. This is everything from larger concerts to storytellers in a ruin, tournaments and theater performances that take turns around the large market with medieval market stalls where, among other things, blacksmiths, lathes and potters show off their craft. Medieval Week of the Year During an eight-day live broadcast full of innovative solutions with the desire to meet in a festival atmosphere, Medieval Week has enthralled both new and old visitors.
That year, visitors got to take part in 150 artists, lectures, workshops, virtual pubs, an online market and party nights. The visitors have been active and communicated and participated in the broadcast. Families had set up tents in their gardens and had smaller meetings at home around the country. The result was over 70,000 views. 50 percent of the viewers belonged to the desired target group, young adults between the ages of 20-35, who were identified as necessary for the festival’s regrowth and development. The visitors’ commitment has gathered support for the festival to survive until next season.
The visitors have testified about how they found things in the program that they have never participated in before and many who have not participated at all before, want to be on site next summer. People have broadened their knowledge of the festival and its offerings as well as the history of the Middle Ages. Visitors of all ages have been active in a digital festival for the first time in their lives.
Much of what Medieval Week has learned this summer will be included in the future implementation of the festival. It is sustainable and inclusive with digital elements and gives many the opportunity to participate who would not otherwise be able to. And in the year of the crisis, the organization, together with loyal sponsors, has found and financed the opportunity to keep the festival afloat financially. A crowdfunding project for artist fees attracted half a million and surprised everyone with the power of loyal visitors’ engagement. This year’s Medieval Week has lifted the festival and Gotland to new heights and new places on the map.
Courses, lectures and city walks At the same time as the digital stream was broadcast via Youtube, everyone had the opportunity to learn more about the Middle Ages through our course program, our lectures and city walks.