12 September 2023
Post originally written in: Deutsch Information An automatic machine translation. Super fast and almost perfect.

From September 22 to 24, the Innsbruck BeachEvent will take place at the Marktplatz. In the run-up to the event, I met with Simon Varges, visionary of beach volleyball and mastermind of the event. Like so many personalities, he also baked small rolls in the beginning. Since last year, the brand has been really shining, because the steadily growing event is finally perceived to be where it belongs.

How did the Innsbruck BeachEvent come about, because everyone starts small?
Simon Varges: "I always wanted to play beach volleyball tournaments myself. But there weren't any. So at some point I said that I would do it myself. This resulted in small tournaments and then the Innsbruck BeachEvent and the My BeachEvent association. Since 2017 we have been offering training sessions, previously at the Beachoase and now at Beach-WG20. Then the next big visions came. We wanted to organize a beach volleyball event in the middle of the city and on the Bergisel. We're in the middle of the road, because since last year we've been playing the marketplace."

I always wanted to play beach volleyball tournaments myself. But there weren't any. So at some point I said I'd do it myself.

Simon Varges, Organizer Innsbruck BeachEvent

How are the preparations for the upcoming event going?
Simon Varges: "Very well, but still very stressful. You have very high expectations yourself and want to improve the event with every year. Finding sponsors is always a special challenge, but we managed it again this time. We found a great title sponsor, Ten31 Bank. And we have great partners, the City of Innsbruck, the Tourist Board and the Province of Tyrol, who have stuck with us for years and raised their support to a new level in the last two years. This allows us to pursue the next steps, and that's a lot of fun."

What's new compared to last year, because you want to keep getting better?
Simon Varges: "The second grandstand will be a bit bigger. The main grandstand will remain the same size as usual. We have rotated the sponsor village and thus extracted more space. We found a new entrance, moved the party area to another place and built a tunnel over the bike path. We have a VIP area directly on the viewing platform, the actual pumping station of IKB, which is also open to tourists. There's a Players Area on the west side of the market hall, which is not open to the public."

We offer not only beach volleyball, but also sundowner parties from 6 to 10 p.m. at the marketplace with free admission and DJ sessions.

Simon Varges

These are impressive additions. What can the fans expect?
Simon Varges: "Four days of spectacular beach volleyball at the highest level. The best Austrian beach volleyball teams are guests in Innsbruck, although they would not have to play this tournament. But they like to be there anyway, because they love to play at home. Local hero Martin Ermacora, who recently won gold at the World Beach Pro Tour Baden Future, is also coming. Two out of three top teams from Austria have confirmed their participation, which says a lot. But we offer not only beach volleyball, but also sundowner parties from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the marketplace with free admission and DJ sessions."

Is international competition also at the start?
Simon Varges: "Is also at the start. But you can almost assume a home victory in the men's event. The domestic teams are very well seeded. That's why I expect Austrian participation in the final. Of course, you still have to beat the competition first."

Isit true that you work largely on a voluntary basis?
Simon Varges: "Largely, yes. We try to buy in professional services - photographers, video and so on - but the sporting foundation, the sporting implementation is provided by volunteers: Set-up, scribes, ball kids, etc. In total, there are over 60 people working here."

How is the cooperation with the local authorities: city, state and federal government?
Simon Varges: "Federal government not at all. Not yet. For that we would have to organize a European championship. We have that in mind for 2028 at the Bergisel. So far, the cooperation is going quite well. We get our support, which is increased a little every year, because people already see what we are doing here. I am very grateful to the city, the tourism association and the state. We also appreciate that very much. But of course we have to stay on the ball, because there is still a lot of potential here. The event itself is very well received by the city of Innsbruck. Our ideas have already been taken into account. We were also able to enlarge our event area with a tunnel. In this way, people get to know each other. The use of the pumping station as a VIP area was only approved this year. You have to work everything out step by step, and that's how mutual trust grows."

Is beach volleyball still seen as a fringe sport?
Simon Varges: "No, I think beach volleyball has now entered the mainstream. In Austria, it is a very popular sport. You can see through Klagenfurt and now Vienna what is possible. It's also possible in Innsbruck. Austrian beach volleyball fans are the best in the world. They know how beach volleyball works."

You're an event manager. What drives you?
Simon Varges: "Inspiring people, offering athletes a stage. In the past, I would have loved to be on stage myself. Now I enjoy providing a stage for others the most."

The BeachEvent is then a mission accomplished - and then the vision still remains?
Simon Varges: "We have set the goal high enough that it can continue every year. Even after we have held our event at the Bergisel, there are still other goals. Perhaps we will then hold this event every year or play on the Landestheater forecourt. I believe that the visions always remain big enough to reach the next goal, even if you have realized the top goal that has driven you for years."

You describe yourself as a visionary. Can you learn to be a visionary or does it just happen?
Simon Varges: "It can certainly be learned, but you definitely need a certain talent for vision. One person has it more, the other less. You have to be able to imagine things, and you have to dream big. You have to allow yourself to dream, and it can be big. And then it's already a good vision."

You have to allow yourself to dream, and it can be big. And then it's already a good vision.

Simon Varges

When can you start learning beach volleyball? And how important do you think sport is for children from an early age?
Simon Varges: "You can always play beach volleyball. You can always throw a ball on vacation at the beach. The most sensible thing is to learn the basic techniques at a volleyball club nearby in the hall and then switch to the beach in the summer. It gets really interesting from the youth age, because then there are tournaments where you can compete. The important thing is to try a lot of sports and then stick with your favorite."

Where should the journey go? Do you want to export the event?
Simon Varges: "No. The Innsbruck BeachEvent is already a unique event that can only be in Innsbruck. You can't just launch a Salzburg or Munich BeachEvent now. It simply has a certain identity, the people who are driving it forward have been doing it for six years now, and the event lives from that. That is the #feelthevibe that we all carry within us, and that is why the Innsbruck BeachEvent is something special. Of course, as an event agency, you can immediately think this through and say that you can do it elsewhere, too. But here you simply lack the foundation, the network that you have built up over the years. Nevertheless, I'm not averse to making my know-how available for other events, but I'm not likely to pull up another event as an organizer."

The Business Cup starts on Thursday. What is it all about?
Simon Varges: "Yes, exactly, it starts parallel to the qualification in the Tivoli swimming pool. Our sponsors play against each other, but also external companies. Mostly it's Tyrolean companies that sign up for it and spend a casual day with their team, networking and playing against other companies. This is very well received and is almost fully booked. And it really is the case that some companies only form partnerships with each other through the Business Cup."

Thank you very much for the interview.

Innsbruck BeachEvent 2023

The best sport in the world in the capital of the Alps - that is beach volleyball on Innsbruck's market square. From September 22 to 24, the local elite will compete against the backdrop of the Nordkette. They will be challenged by renowned international teams. MEVZA stands for Central European volleyball at PRO level.

when & where?
DO, 21.9.2023: Qualification (Sidecourts)
FR, 22.9.2023: Main competition (side & center courts)
SA, 23.9.2023: Main competition (Side- & Centercourt)
SO, 24.9.2023: Finals (Centercourt)

Click here for the program.

Tickets are required, children up to 14 years free of charge!


Readers of the MyInnsbruck-Blog get with the promocode „innsbruck20“ 20 percent discount on admission to the Innsbruck BeachEvent. To do so, simply select the desired ticket and in the special promotion field „Innsbruck Beachevent -20%“ when purchasing tickets and then enter the promo code in the corresponding field. The discount code is valid for all ticket types, but the contingent is limited to 100 tickets.

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