"It’s actually quite an easy line to get into, but it takes a bit of guts / stupidity."
"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 Laura Davidson from All Points East, which is taking place this weekend (25th-27th May) with LCD Soundsystem (pictured)
, the xx, Bjork and loads more.
Hi Laura, how did you get involved in live events, was it a difficult line to get into?
I blagged it! I went to music college in Brighton and started putting on some mates bands. I continued when I left, and started branching out, booking other Brighton bands, and then would try my luck to book new bands I’d heard. Back then, there was no MySpace even, so I would pretend I was a club DJ and get sent all the new releases in the post. If I liked a band, I’d try to track down a contact, and start calling agents. I somehow managed to book Kasabian, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys when they first came to Brighton. I was risking my own money so learned very quickly. I think it’s actually quite an easy line to get into but it takes a bit of guts / stupidity, and to meet the right people who are willing to help you early on. I still work with people now who supported me back then.
What prompted the launch of All Points East, and when did you start putting the event together?
Since moving to AEG Presents / Goldenvoice three years ago, we have always wanted to launch a London festival for our artists to play, and have been looking for a suitable location and opportunity. When Victoria Park came up, and we found out we won the tender, we were over the moon as it is the perfect site for what we had in mind! We found out in July, and got to work straight away!
What are the main challenges to putting on a festival like this?
It is very competitive, with many festivals wanting to book a lot of the same acts, and having wide exclusivities. There are enough great artists around though!
The line-up for 2018 is pretty insane, who are you personally most looking forward to seeing?
Thank you. There are some of my favourite artists on the bill, as well as many I promote at Goldenvoice, so it’s very hard to say! I would probably have to say LCD Soundsystem though, as they have been the soundtrack to many a night since first hearing them in a club in Brighton.
Can you tell us a bit more about the community-focused element?
On the weekdays between the festival and the Presents shows, the park will be open for the local community to come and enjoy their park, and what we have on offer. It is half term, and there will be an amazing programme of educational events, music and cinema along with some great local food vendors, so something for the whole family to come and enjoy. The bars will also be open, serving local craft beer, so it could just be a place to go for a drink after work on a sunny eve. It is the People’s Park after all!
What advice would you give others who’d like to work on festivals?
Although I have been to (too) many festivals, this is the first one I have worked on so am still learning myself! Ask me next year once we have done the first one and I’m sure I’ladvice some more advice for anyone wanted to work on a festival.
You can find out more about this summer's festival fun in Dork's Festival Guide 2018 - order your copy below. All Points East takes place from 25th-27th May in Victoria Park, London.