1. What is your name and role at the festival?
My name is Kristin Hansen, I am the Founder & CEO of Hansen & Partner, a company specializing in tourism, consulting and event organization aimed at the LGTB community. I am also the CEO and Founder of the ELLA International Lesbian Festival & ELLA Corporate which are my leading products.
My role is to manage to inflate into the Festival all the passion this creative and innovative project deserves, and of course provide the amazing Mallorca with as an important supporter on the LGBT scene, the island is so beautiful and a perfect destination for women, Mallorca has it all!
I created ELLA Corporate, my newest project, for companies and public organizations to deepen their knowledge of the lesbian market and bring their range of products and services closer to it, in order to increase lesbian visibility and normalization. It's a big enterprise but it's necessary!
2. How would you describe the festival in 30 words?
The festival is something you have never experienced before! It's the perfect mix of day entertainment with quality culture, gastronomy, sports, activities at the beach, and amazing parties, shows and venues, in an international and multicultural environment!
3. Where does it take place? Is it the same venue every year?
ELLA takes place in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, from the 1st to the 9th of September, in various locations and venues. This year our special ELLA Beach will be located in Cala Mayor, which is a terrific location to spend the day together, it has amazing turquoise waters and such a great summer energy!
4. How did the festival start?
It was basically the lack of quality leisure offerings for lesbians that motivated me to start the ELLA festival adventure. The idea also was to position Mallorca as a real Lesbian paradise on the international scene, since I sincerely believe the island has something magical that is pure enough to be attractive to women in general . The result is that after only 2 years, the ELLA Festival has not only revolutionized the lesbian holiday concept, but also stands out as a LGBT tourism global resource. I believe this is only the beginning though, women are being extremely responsive and are giving us back so much!!!
5. How many people and who comes to the festival?
The main target are lesbian women over 25 years but most of the attendees are in their early 30s. In 2013, 700 women participated to the festival and the number has increased in 2014 with around 1800 attendees. We expect this year to raise the attendance rate of another 30%. This is going to be amazing!
6. How do you choose your acts and programme?
As we have worked for years for the community, we have a pretty clear vision of what women expect in such event. To work on it I also surround myself with the best experts on all fields who understand the needs of the community and know the island perfectly, I just love my team very much!! In the end, only with a great team one can create a successful product!
Our main objective really is to create the best experience for all women who join the festival, whether you are looking for to relax and get away from routine or grey skies, have a healthy and sporty vacation, or party hard all night!
Therefore we do not lock ourselves in a special style, our secret is we offer high quality variety, thinking always of our end-customer :-)
7. Who are you looking forward to seeing this year?
I am of course very much looking forward to discover all women from all over the world that are joining this fantastic event! ELLA Festival is above all a very human adventure, each year I am amazed at the kind of encounters that come my way.
I am also happy to see again the incredible people who make every year the Festival a very special event and with time have become friends, like the girls from Stellar Addiction or Gunn Lundemo, or the women who volunteer to help us creating a friendly atmosphere and perfect customer service.
But I am most excited this year to attend our new Festival feature, ELLA Talks, in which our speakers are all top women who are very proud to be who they are and love who they love.
They are coming to Mallorca to inspire us, talk about their careers, projects, lives and of course, about how their experience of coming out to the world and how they experience loving women on a daily basis.
We already have confirmed Johanna Sigurdardottir, former president of Iceland, Leanne Pittsford from Lesbians Who tech, or Katie Bennett-Hall from Wapa and Planet London ;)
9. What are the challenges of organizing this event?
The main challenge is to always renew oneself but always maintaining the same level of quality to continue making the Festival an once in a lifetime experience.
It's important one does not do this project for money but rather for passion, and that all depends on a great team.
What is important is to always learn from one's mistakes, and settle for nothing less than perfection :-) The product has to be excellent, “don't sell crap” as Steve Job once said.
10. Is there anything else you want us to know about the event?
Yes! This year will also hold the first edition of the ELLA MIX FILM FESTIVAL on Sept 7-8, in collaboration with the MIX COPENHAGEN LGBT FILM FESTIVAL, one of the world’s oldest annual LGBT film festivals and one of the largest film festivals in Denmark.
We have selected films that have the potential to affect personal and societal expectations, and work towards increasing the visibility of LGBTQI + stories in film and media, with a focus on women, of course!!
We definitely have prepared loads of surprises this year... I hope you join us all in Mallorca, this is going to be spectacular!