ULFT – Huntenpop is more than a festival, as demonstrated by Huntenkring, an indispensable networking club with almost 200 entrepreneurs, mainly from the Achterhoek. Even after two lean corona years, the bond with each other and the festival is still close.
By Guido Kobes
‘The members of Huntenkring have one thing in common, and that is that we support Huntenpop’, says Jeroen Giezenaar (45). ‘Some people are more interested in music, others especially like so many people enjoying themselves, but all members are proud that we have such an event in the Achterhoek.’
Giezenaar is one of the driving forces behind Huntenkring. Together with Esther Kuiperij, Marc Tangelder, Toby Frazer and Rinus Stravers, he forms a working group that organizes business club evenings and ensures that the members get value for money.
Huntenpop board member Ton Schreur is also a permanent working group member to see what the sponsors and the festival board can do for each other. As the main sponsor of Huntenpop, the Huntenkring Businessclub with almost 200 members guarantees the quality and preservation of this event. ‘We wouldn’t have a festival without the sponsors’, says organizer Hajon Westerveld, although the dependence on the sponsors has decreased. ‘Approximately 10 percent of the total budget comes from sponsorship money, the majority comes from ticket sales and the catering industry,’ Giezenaar explains. But the support from the sponsors is not only in money but also in material services. Furniture, decoration, sanitation, design, sandwiches for volunteers: much is provided pro bono or at a reduced price.
Especially at the very beginning of Huntenpop, where the visitor numbers were sometimes disappointing, it was the sponsors who several times ensured that the festival was preserved. The festival has now matured, with slightly more secure programming and a stable number of visitors. Large financial risks are avoided, so it hasn’t happened for long that the organization had to pass the hat after the festival. Nevertheless, Huntenkring Businessclub’s strength has proven itself again in recent years, as almost all members remained loyal to Huntenpop despite a difficult corona time. “Almost nobody has canceled their membership,” says Giezenaar. ‘In fact, the contribution was paid handsomely every year, even though no festival took place and the business club evenings often couldn’t take place either.’
Although the working group did everything they could to stay in touch with each other. ‘We continuously looked at what we could organize within the possibilities,’ says Giezenaar. For example, there were two networking evenings in a slimmed-down form, several Huntenkring news were recorded and there were Drikkeposer drive-thru followed by an online pub quiz. To thank the sponsors for such loyalty, this year the sponsors receive a 50 percent discount on the annual contribution.
‘Because the festival was canceled twice, we got a little more fat on our bones,’ says Giezenaar. However, the sponsors are encouraged to buy tickets to the festival for their employees or other relatives for the amount they do not have to pay now. ‘They are already using it eagerly’, says the organizer, who owns the event agency Mediavent. ‘At least ticket sales are going really well.’
Huntenkring Businessclub has been the main sponsor of Huntenpop for over 25 years. Members receive exclusive VIP treatment during the festival. The membership gives access to the VIP section of Huntenpop. Both festival days, members and their guests lack nothing, snacks and drinks are free. There are places to retreat, have a drink with the other members or enjoy the buffet. ‘In addition, the VIP area is built in such a way that the guests have a view of the main stage,’ says Giezenaar.
However, the VIP treatment during the festival is not the only thing Huntenkring Businessclub does for its members. “The aim is to connect each other and benefit from the Achterhoek’s Noaberschap: to help each other where possible,” says Giezenaar.
Huntenkring Businessclub members can get to know different companies 5 evenings a year during networking evenings. Normally, these evenings are held at one of the members. The co-organiser sees that there is great enthusiasm for this: ‘We have already planned all business club evenings until Huntenpop 2023.’
During these evenings there is usually a short formal piece in which the state of affairs around Huntenkring and Huntenpop is told, then the new members are introduced and the host fills out part of the evening with a presentation or a guest speaker or the like. Afterwards, there is enough time for a snack and a drink and conversations with other entrepreneurs. ‘The evenings are known for the friendly atmosphere’, says Giezenaar, who is also co-organizer of the club evenings.
Taste the atmosphere
The sponsors can choose between different sponsorship packages, ranging from ‘Platinum’ to ‘Bronze’. ‘All expenses for dinner and drinks during these network meetings and the two VIP days during the Huntenpop festival are included in the membership. Entrepreneurs who want to taste the atmosphere or want to become members are welcome to experience a Huntenkring evening. More information: