Almost every movie festival boasts its own counter or shadow festival. Sundance has 'Slamdance', The International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) inspired Stefan Majakowski to set up the aptly named 'Shadowfestival' and the Cannes movie festival has found its match in the famous 'Directors' Fortnight'.

Now, non-movie related festivals are also beginning to spawn admiring or not-so-admiring siblings intent on capturing a piece of the buzz, action and attention surrounding these gatherings. Participants, visitors and press alike love it. From heavy-weight World Economic Forum of Davos, which inspired the World Social Forum, to high society New York Fashion Week, which inspired an alternative Stores-a-Go-Go runway show in Manhattan's funky Lower East Side, these COUNTERVALS, consisting of counter festivals and shadow shows, offer an extremely cost-effective opportunity to highlight alternative views, opinions, people, goods and services.

By latching onto existing, well-known festivals, COUNTERVALS benefit from the attention of:
-- Members of the press starved for news and controversy.
-- Key buyers and elite customers looking for seriously unknown talent and truly avant-garde content.
-- Visitors rejected by the 'Mother' festival due to limited access and ever-growing popularity of festivals in general.

Given the opportunities for unlimited and dirt-cheap media coverage, TRENDWATCHING.COM would not be surprised if, in the future, any high profile gathering, be it about politics, film, fashion, trade, economics or music, will have its very own COUNTERVAL, a twin sister or brother ready to grab a share of the limelight. We're actually waiting for the first counter-counter-festival.

Note for future COUNTERVAL organisers: most top festivals are sponsored by well-known no. 1 brands from the world of software, cars and electronics, so rivaling brands no. 2/3/4 will be lining up to sponsor a less commercial, less expensive, and probably more funky alternative. Let the party begin!