Festival people

David Pollock speaks to five people all wrapped up in the joys of the festival season in very different ways

THE PROMOTER

Sid Ambrose, founder, Wickerman
Having been involved in a range of events from raves to scooter rallies and punk events during the 90s, I started Wickerman eight years ago. It was hard going at the time. There was huge local opposition, some of it on religious grounds, and we had no recognition from the music industry. It’s easier now, though. We can pick up the phone to a London agent and they know who we are, while everyone who lives in the area can see we actively set out to be a family-friendly event, so they’re well on side. The best part of my job is meeting so many creative people, like the guys who build the Wickerman we burn every year – they just live a few miles down the road.

THE TRADER

Fergus Younger, Food From Argyll
Food From Argyll is an umbrella for farmers and food producers who are based in Argyll and Bute to promote themselves and the area by trading at large events. It started in 2007 when we were approached by the Connect festival to get involved, and we’ve since been to T in the Park, Wickerman and the V festivals, as well as non-music events like the International Rugby Sevens at Murrayfield. One of our key players is the Loch Fyne chain, whose name gives us a lot of credibility. They serve up things like steamed mussels, fresh oysters and grilled salmon roll. Not your normal festival food, I know, but lots of people who have visited us once make a point of coming back the next time they see us.

THE ORGANISER

Jerry Millichip, site manager, T in the Park
I started out as the guy who puts the barriers out in front of the stages, and eventually moved into the management side of things as I got to know more promoters. There are two parts to my job; the first is marking the site out and deciding where everything’s going to go and how it’ll fit, and the second involves everything from ordering stages, big tops and cabins to liaising with caterers and landowners. What I love most is starting with an empty field and then building the equivalent of a small town there in three or four weeks, although it’s horrible having to pull it apart. Anyone involved with festivals will tell you the Monday or Tuesday afterwards is the most deflating time.

THE PUNTER

Dario Valente, from Edinburgh
This year I’m going to Sonar in Barcelona, T in the Park, Lovebox in London, and maybe Bestival on the Isle of Wight. There’s a bit of a dance vibe going on there, but my tastes are still quite broad. I might spend 70% of my time in the Slam tent at T, but I’ll still get out and see bands on other stages. Sonar will be my first festival abroad, and I can’t wait. It’s a festival and it’s in a city – that’s brilliant. We’ve got an apartment for it, I’ve been there and done that with the camping thing. I mean, I reckon you can go to a festival at any age and get right into the music, but there maybe comes a point when you don’t need to be scraped off the ceiling when Dave Clarke comes on, you know?

THE MUSICIAN

Scott Hutchison, Frightened Rabbit
We don’t have a record out this year, so we’re not hitting festivals too hard. We’re doing Rock Ness, Roskilde in Denmark, Pitchfork and Siren in America, and I think that’s about it. The new record’s out next year, though, so we’re staring down the barrel of the full circuit, doing a couple every weekend. I don’t know if I’m looking forward to that to be honest. It’s good if you have one show after another, so you can keep the momentum of playing and then moving on going, but it breaks it up too much if you have time to hang about in between. Although that can be quite nice if you’re at a festival with good bands and atmosphere, and can hang about to enjoy it. We always end up camping if we do. In fact, last year at T in the Park we camped next to REM’s six massive coaches, which was nice.

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