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Features/Music

What you need to know about the Fever Candlelight Concerts

16 August 2021

Who is behind the Candlelight Concerts at Winthrop Hall, and what is the secret to their phenomenal success? Rosalind Appleby finds out.

Each month thousands of people are attending Candlelight Concerts at the University of Western Australia. Run by Fever, a data-driven entertainment platform based in London and Madrid, the concerts are attracting unprecedented attention. Seesaw brings you the inside tips on the phenomenon storming Perth.

1. People love candles and music – and the appeal is global.

According to feverup.com, more than 1000 different Candlelight Concert experiences have been rolled out to more than 85 cities worldwide. Fever has capitalised on the fast growing experience economy, attracting more than 300 000 people to its atmospheric concerts. The first Perth concerts were in February at the University of Western Australia’s Winthrop Hall and have expanded to the Octagon Theatre and Dolphin Theatre.

Fever’s project manager for Perth and Melbourne Rong Gui says the concerts are now being performed in every capital city in Australia. She says the appeal is due to a combination of elements. “It is the magical effect of the candles, the intimacy of the concerts, plus the brilliant musicians. Also it is only one hour long, so for audiences it is easy to take.”

2. Data-driven content creation works

Fever began as an entertainment app. The Candlelight Concerts are part of what the company calls Fever Originals, designed by a data-driven content creation strategy, using analytics to understand audiences and develop new experiences. The events are created by combining marketplace data and the creativity of its organizers. Most of the Perth concerts are blueprints of programs already performed hundreds of times around the world with titles like “Chopin’s Best Works”, “Tribute to Einaudi”, “Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake & more”, and “Best of Magical Movie Soundtracks”, all performed by small ensembles in candlelight.

3. Vivaldi is a hot ticket

A group of musicians perform on a square stage framed with candles
Australian Baroque musicians perform a Candlelight Concert at Winthrop Hall. Photo Jordyn Montague

The most popular Perth concert is “Vivaldi Four Seasons”, which began in February and is still running (you can read Seesaw’s review here). It’s no surprise, given the musicians are drawn from Australian Baroque, which boasts some of the best early music specialists in the country.

Australian Baroque’s Artistic Director Helen Kruger says the concerts have been overwhelmingly successful.

“The concerts have been so popular. I think we have had about 17000 people hear our Vivaldi and Ballet concerts which is just unprecedented, anywhere, but I guess especially in a small, sports focused city such as ours. Joyfully, for me at least, the Vivaldi show has sold better than ANY other Fever show, demonstrating what pull that repertoire still has, hundreds of years later!”

4. Perth audiences love classical music

Gui says the concerts have confirmed “Perth audiences do like classical music.” As a result two new classical piano programs have been designed especially for Perth: the “Rachmaninov Piano” concerts, and, launching in September, “Debussy and French Romance ”, both featuring West Australian pianist Jonathan Bradley.

5. Don’t expect customer service

The website feverup.com has a very low trust score on scamadviser.com and has received negative reviews in Australia and overseas.

Most of the Australian complaints focus on cancelled concerts and problems with rescheduling, lack of refunds and last minute venue changes. Gui says the complications are the result of being an overseas company.

“The company is based in Europe.  We want to spend our budget on making better quality concerts so we have no call centre.” Gui says queries can be directed to hello@feverup.com or through the website and user support will respond within 24 hours.

A screen grab of a complaint from scamwise website
A Feverup review on the Trustpilot website.

6. Social media is the new word of mouth

The concerts have been promoted almost entirely on Facebook and Instagram. Audience members are invited to take photos and share the experience with their friends. It appears the formula works. Gui says over the past few months the number of Candlelight Concerts in Perth has grown from 5-7 a month to 10-14, with average monthly audiences increasing from 2.5k to 4k attendees.

7. Fever is here to stay

Gui says Fever intends to continue in Perth, expanding into the Perth Town Hall. Their plans for September include two new concert themes. “Rock Classics” was created by the Brazilian team featuring popular hits from Metallica, ACDC, Rolling Stones and U2 and has attracted huge success in South America. And you don’t need data-analytics to predict that the second theme, “Tribute to Beatles on Strings”, will also be popular.

A full listing of Feverup’s Perth events can be found here.

Australian Baroque’s next concert is 17 September in Margaret River.

Pictured top: hundreds of people flock to Winthrop Hall each month to experience Fever’s Candlelight Concerts. Photo Jordyn Montague

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Author —
Rosalind Appleby

Rosalind Appleby is an arts journalist, author and speaker. She is co-editor of Seesaw Magazine, author of Women of Note, and has written for The West Australian, The Guardian, The Australian, Limelight magazine and Opera magazine. She loves the percussion instruments which can be found in the uber cool parks.

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