From 7 to 77

The Executive Director of Singapore GP, Michael Roche, the man who is responsible for the entertainment of a really impressive Formula 1 Grand Prix, chats to us about what kind of work goes into that.

Entertainment is a very broad word, and motorsports can also be described by it. Basically everything we do during and around the Grand Prix event is entertainment. It’s a three-day show as full of content as possible, including music, ceremonies, racing, food, beverages, big stage acts, theatrical performances and so much more. Obviously, it’s all about Formula 1 – if I didn’t have the most amazing racing the world at the event, I wouldn’t have a crowd of sixty thousand people in front of the stage to hear the music.

The most important factor of what we do today at the GP is probably having a great balance of local and international. And I mean artists from all around – Taiwan, India, Brazil, South Africa and so forth. It has to be a global balance with a healthy number of Singapore acts, and we try to crossover all genres. We’re definitely not a rock & roll festival, but more like a big music festival with lots of choices. To give you a clearer view, it’s kind of a mixture of a Pavarotti look-alike in one corner, something very modern in another, games in the third corner, and interactive tire-change challenges or tattoo areas all around. Everything for people aged from 7 to 77.

The event has to be press worthy and interesting for the fans, so I won’t turn down a good opportunity of a worldwide headliner.

Each year we’ve got 12 months to make everything better and better. We don’t bring back the same restaurants or artists, our team moves all four stages around, changes the look and feel of different areas around the circuit. During our long brainstorming sessions we try to improve the way we’re branding things and a lot of time is spent on new designs.

The budget is another thing, and most of the time it can be very flexible. What I mean by that is if a very famous celebrity like Jennifer Lopez, who’s performing this year, says that she wants to perform at the GP, I’ll readjust my budget to fit this act in. The event also has to be press worthy and interesting for the fans, so I won’t turn down a good opportunity of a worldwide headliner.

It’s pretty obvious that the entertainment part of motorsports has changed very dramatically during the last few years – the expectations are huge! Young people and guests who have travelled all over the world have to be stimulated at a maximum level, and they know you must improve your game every year. Every time that they come back, they hope for better food, easier access, perfected facilities, more glamour and other things. Of course, they need to feel special as well. Staying ahead of the curve, as you probably know, takes a tremendous amount of effort.

Formula 1 events are so much more than just what’s on the track, but without the spectacle and the panache that the sport brings, there would be no show, no music, no entertainment. I personally believe that Formula 1 will always be most important – everyone wants to be a part of it, it brings all the grandeur and sexiness to a location, and it’s the center core with various bits of entertainment built around it.

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