"There are some beautiful spaces around the green, so we wanted to make use of them."
"They should have booked INSERT MASSIVE BAND HERE!", we all cry. "Why don't they just put on more loos?", we ask. Seriously, when it comes down to it, we don't know much about running a festival. But that's okay, because we've tracked down the people behind your favourite events, and asked them all the questions you'll ever need to know. (Okay, maybe not the toilet one.) Next up, we have the folk from Communion Presents for Bushstock, which is taking place this weekend (23rd June) with Aurora, Peace, Sam Fender, Billie Marten, Flyte and loads more.
Hi guys, tell us about the origins of Bushstock - how did the festival start?
The festival was set up around eight years ago. We noticed that North and South London had multi-venue music festivals but nothing was happening out West. A lot of the bands we worked with and most of the Communion team lived in West London so we thought we’d give it a go! We also run our monthly club night in West London’s Notting Hill Arts Club, so it was familiar ground. There are some beautiful spaces around the green: St Stephen’s Church, Bush Hall for example, so we wanted to make use of them.
How do you go about putting together each year’s line-up?
We start by focusing on a few headliners we’d love to see play the festival and then work backwards. Once we've booked around 10/15 acts, we can start piecing the lineups together for the different venues. We book around 40 acts for the festival but thousands of bands apply. Basically, we love spreadsheets.
Do you have a favourite booking from over the years?
Catfish and The Bottlemen headlined Ginglik, a 250 capacity venue, back in 2013. Sadly, the venue doesn’t exist anymore but it’s a great example of how people can watch future festival headliners in small, weird and wonderful venues. We’ve also had Bastille, Hozier, and Michael Kiwanuka in previous years playing in front of very small crowds.
What are the main advantages of a multi-venue festival, over those in fields?
There are many advantages of multi-venue festivals, over those in fields in our opinion. Firstly, there’s no chance of you getting wet, let’s face it, that’s one of the worst things about outdoor festivals, especially in the UK. Unfortunately, nobody can control Mother Nature, but we make sure our outdoor stages are covered to keep Bushstock punters dry. Secondly, you can leave the festival safe in the knowledge that you’ll be reunited with your warm comfy bed at the end of the night, rather than a very sad and lonely sleeping bag.
How do you see Bushstock evolving over the next few years?
Bushstock has grown slowly year on year since its birth in 2011. I’m sure we’ll add another venue or two over the next few years but our aim with the festival is to keep it small and curated.
What advice would you give others who’d like to work on live events like Bushstock?
Stewarding and working on accreditation is a great way to get into live events like Bushstock. Try and make friends with people who are also working on the festival as no doubt, they’ll be able to introduce you to more contacts within live music. We find that there is a great little community of stewards and volunteers looking to get into the festival scene and everyone tries to help each other out, so work hard and play nice.
You can find out more about this summer's festival fun in Dork's Festival Guide 2018 - order your copy below. Bushstock takes place from 23rd June in various venues in Shepherd's Bush, London.