When festival details come into music.co.uk, sometimes we just can’t resist the opportunity to find out more. So I recently took time out to ‘Chill’ with Katrina Larkin from The Big Chill Festival, to find out more about their successful event.
1. To those of us not in the know, what is the Big Chill and the Big Chill Ethos all about?
The Big Chill is an individual festival that is certainly not mainstream, that’s held at the beginning of August each year. Plus we also run two bars and a label. We are 15 years old and are all about providing an environment where chillers feel escapism away from the hum-drum of every-day life. Somewhere to enjoy life whilst we at chill HQ make sure all the details are taken care of.
2. What is it do you think, that has seen festivals stay the test of time, yours in particular?
We’ve grown a reputation for staging great music. Chillers have faith that if we programme an unknown act that they are bound to be amazing. Plus we want to look after people attending the event and make sure their time with us is one of the highlights in their year. Plus it’s not just about the music at The Big Chill, it’s the whole experience down to the smaller details.
3.How would you describe the ’15 by 15′ C.D to those unfamiliar with Big Chill and it’s artists?
It’s to celebrate the fact that The Big Chill is 15 this year and it’s important to us to acknowledge the artists who have performed at the Big Chill over the years. The artists on this CD have been central to the festival and it’s growth. The profits form the sale of ‘15×15’ go to The Big Issue project which is very in-tune with our ethos.
4. Why did you decide to get artists and fans involved in choosing the track listing for the C.D? Do you think people should do this more with compilation albums?
It works for us because we are all about the people who come to the Big Chill, whether to perform or play and this CD was about ‘us’ and celebrating 15 years. I couldn’t answer for others but it’s great to watch people getting involved and feeling ownership of something that’s special to us all.
5. Is there anyone you’d love to see at the festival, who hasn’t performed yet?
A year ago I would have said Talking Heads so the fact David Byrne is performing and including Talking Heads tunes in his show is pretty close! Two years ago I would have said Leonard Cohen and he performed last year. John Martyn would have been very special and unfortunately we have missed the chance for him to play with us, as he’s a Big Chill hero. There are a few other acts I’d really love to play but have to keep lips sealed as we are currently looking into booking them!
6.What can festival goers expect from ‘Big Chill 2009’?
The promise that The Big Chill has spent the last year sourcing some fantastic treats for the valley. We’ve organised many small intimate stages alongside the larger outdoor stages. We’ve a new area ‘Stop The City’ which is an ambient space in the woodlands which runs into the early hours of the morning. Film4 and Warp Films are filming a zombie movie on site which chillers have a chance to be in. Film4 are also hosting are film tent and dereliction drive-in. Rankin is setting up a photographic studio as part of ‘Rankin Live’. The fancy dress tent is back, a wide range of scrumptious foods, local ales, ciders, saunas, spoken word tent, cocktail bars with djs and Mr Scruff’s tea tent. Plus lots of great music till very late.
7. Your association with ‘Big Issue’ is fairly new, what are your hopes for the future of this?
That the Big Chill can assist The Big Issue foundation build their resources to help people go from street to home with dignity.
The Big Chill Festival 2009 takes place on August 7-9th at Eastnor Castle Deer Park, Eastnor, Ledbury, Hertfordshire. To find out more about this great event, including ticketing details visit www.thebigchill.net/festival.