Showtime in Wonderland

Michelle van Mil

This summer, she performed at several festivals including Lowlands, Dreamfields and Untold, a new major music festival in Romania. Now, she’s back on Dutch soil. Michelle van Mil (VJ VeeMee and Board Member of previously worked events like 3FM Serious Request, Intents festival and Dutch Fashion Week. What’s it like to perform at a major festival like Untold?

What exactly is Untold festival?
Untold festival is the biggest music festival in EuropeUntold Mainstage and winner of the ‘Best Major Festival of Europe’ award. This year, its second edition was once again held in Romania. Untold is a four-day festival with 8 stages, over 150 performing artists, and over 300,000 visitors overall. My team and I were responsible for the main stage visuals: singer songwriters by day and famous EDM performers by night, like Martin Garrix, Armin van Buuren and Tiësto.”

What was your role in all that?
“I was the main stage video operator. That means it was my job that all screens showed the right visuals, as well as make sure all guest operators were able to do their job without any VJ cockpitissues. We also created thirty-two intros and the opening and closing shows.”

What does that involve?
“Well, first, you have to find out the stage design and get to know your pixelmap. This is what we use to create our own shows and intros, as well as edit videos sent to us by other crews. Then we go through the line up, so we know which artist performs when. The last thing you want is to have Hardwell’s name pop up when Tiësto’s performing! We also get a lot of material from guest operators, like promotional clips or music videos. It’s my job to make sure those images are converted to the right” untold video codec and resolution. If we don’t do that, we’re in big trouble. Nobody wants to see the screen go black during Nervo’s performance. We also make sure all visuals are neatly catalogued, so we can immediately find the visual we need.” Smiling: “Whenever there’s a song about love, I want those heart visuals at my fingertips.”
How do you cope with stress?
“During the festival, we work anywhere from 12 to 20 hours a day. Whenever I’m VJing myself, I’m in direct contact with the light operator at all times, so we can deliver the perfect overall experience together. And I’m always on stand-by to help out right away if a guest operator gets

VeeMee Visuals 2

into trouble. There’s always something that goes wrong, and Untold is no exception. For example,

upon arrival at the festival, the client changed their mind about the font they wanted. That meant we had to re-render everything

, which caneasily take an entire day. And while that was far from the only obstacle we faced, nothing beats the feeling of getting all that trouble thrown your way, being able to fix it all in time anyway, and seeing the audience go crazy as a result.”

Video edit: Ivo Mulder and Quincy Vogelsangs

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