Simple Session Set for August 2021 Return

The lack of events over the past year has left a huge void in the BMX world but, fortunately, things seem to be slowly bouncing back. Notably, Simple Session recently announced that they will return this August in Tallinn, Estonia. We caught up with Risto Kalmre - one of the driving forces behind Simple Session - to learn how they made this happen, what to expect, who’s going to be there, and more!


 


Congratulations on getting the ball rolling on your next event. How difficult was it setting everything up during the pandemic?

Thank you! Well, we are not yet done setting things up - it's an ongoing process. But, so far, things have been going rather well with the planning. After the big 20th anniversary in February 2020, we aimed to have the Simple Session 21 event in February again but, in the fall, it became apparent that it's not going to be possible due to the pandemic and restrictions. We went to the drawing board to see what we could do. We were looking to freshen things up anyway after the big 20-year birthday, so it seemed like a good fit to do something different. At one point, we thought to make the event in May, but then the second half of summer seemed more feasible. It would also be one of the first events after BMX and skateboarding's debut in the Olympics.


Are things "getting back to normal" in Tallinn?

Compared to a lot of other places, Estonia has been actually doing rather well throughout the pandemic. We were doing quite well, but we got a raise in COVID cases this winter and spring, so we've had a second, stricter lockdown since last spring. Now, things are again going in a good direction and we're confident the country can open everything up for the summer. Estonia is the third most vaccinated country in Europe at the moment and, starting in May, everyone should get their vaccines who wants them. We are closely monitoring the situation with COVID-19 and taking all the necessary precautions. Estonia is a small and very connected country and that puts us at some advantage compared to other places. It makes all communication with different departments possible and we are in close contact with the government as one of the country’s major sports events.


Photo


I know this is going to look a lot different than Simple Sessions of the past. Give us a rundown on what to expect…

For the location, we picked this dope developing cultural district called Põhjala Factory, which is a complex of different buildings and yards - an old rubber factory area that is turning into a new, hip cultural hub. There are restaurants, bars, venues, and artist studios. The area is still rough around the edges and I think it fits this kind of event really well. The main event takes place in the main hangar of the factory and is under the roof. So, in case of any rain, we're safe. We'll have about a 650 square meter street course which we hope to reveal in May or June. 

We'll have seating for around 500 people and we'll have tickets on sale in May or the beginning of June. If the restrictions allow, we also might have some more seatings. 

We'll also have a whole outdoor festival area around the main event hall, with a mini ramp, food vendors, different workshops and activities, and of course live concerts and parties. The outdoor part of the festival will fit more people - up to 2,000 - and fans will watch the finals live from the big screen just outside the venue - and dance and party at our afterparties. I think this is going to be real cool set-up and we're actually able to do many things that we weren't able to in the Saku Arena as it's summer and partly outdoors. We're very psyched about it. We'll have two days for practice sessions and different filming projects - August 18 and 19 - and then on Friday - August 20 - we'll have qualifications. On Saturday - August 21 - we'll have finals and best trick events. We’re still working on the exact contest format. Gigs and parties will go down on Friday and Saturday. For four days after the main event, we'll have the course up for several other mini-events, filming projects, and open riding sessions.


Photo

Photo


For everyone unable to attend, will there be a live stream?

Yes. There will be live shows from the Finals and Best Trick event. It's going to be on different TV channels and platforms globally and locally, as well as on our Youtube channel and our website.


Who is designing the course?

Nate Wessel is designing the course again. He is currently busy doing it. We're stoked to work with the man since 2007 and, so far, it's been really awesome. His course designs are always one of the key ingredients of the Simple Session. The course is going to be mostly street, but will have some rad transition style elements mixed in - as one can expect from the Simple Session all-around style.


How many riders will be invited, and can you announce any of them yet?

This depends a bit on how the restrictions will play out but, for now, we plan around thirty BMX street riders and skateboarders. We might end up having some more guys, but we will decide that at the beginning of summer. Some of the riders already signed up include Felix Prangenberg, Courage Adams, Alex Kennedy, Broc Raiford, Corey Martinez, Reed Stark, Anthony Panza, Bora Altıntaş, Billy Perry, and Murray Loubser.


Photo


How are the invited riders chosen?

We invite the riders based on their riding and video parts, previous Simple Session results, and other contest results. And, also, we will have a few good locals in the mix - and a few personal favorites of mine, as well.


What's the grand prize?

We'll have an $18,000 USD prize purse this time.


Realistically – with the current state of the world – how confident are you the event will be able to take place?

We're confident the event is going to happen. In the worst case scenario, we're also able to hold the event without the audience and parties and just do an event for the live stream show. 

But, we're pretty sure we don't have to and can make an entire event. Põhjala Factory is not an indoor arena with 10,000 spectators - like Saku Arena - so that we will be a lot more flexible with this concept. Also, many people who want to should be vaccinated by then in the US and Europe - or they have already had Covid. Or, hopefully, they're serious about their well-being and know how to protect and help their immune system and live healthily.


Photo


Will there potentially be more events – like this one – under the Simple Session banner taking place in the future?

Sure. This seems like a rad concept and, if everything is going well, we'll definitely explore this further.


If everything continues on the right track, can we expect a full on Simple Session in 2022?

Yes, we are planning Simple Session 2022 in a similar set-up and full glory as Simple Session 2020 in the Saku Arena. 

Our initial plan was to have it in February again - 10–13th - in the Saku Arena and locations around the city. We're currently eyeing it up and are also considering an option to move the whole thing into springtime - to April or May - to be more on the safe side in the warmer months and out of cold virus season. We're not sure yet. We'll see how this whole thing will continue to play out.


 


4 comments
Show More Comment(s) / Leave a Comment