|11th August 2019|
nevitably things have come a pretty long way since we first embarked on this journey in 2009…
As a young, ambitious team of live entertainment enthusiasts, we set out to create the ultimate experience in the festival world. Combining all the music we love with theatre, interactive set design, freedom and escapism, we wanted to showcase what festivals meant to us; to all ages and backgrounds, to those who may not have previously experienced the depths and variety of what a festival can achieve.
Over the years we’ve grown and evolved. We’ve welcomed in 100’s of independent creative crews from across the globe, as well as celebrating the very heart of UK underground music and theatre culture. Our networks and collaborators have been as instrumental to this as anything; each and every person who’s been involved along the way, whether for one year or nine, has added to the creative melting pot we have before us today.
As a festival we rarely stand still, it’s well documented that we’ve grown from 1,000 in Chapter 1 to 60,000 from Chapter 8 onwards; from one main stage built from scaff planks and a tarp, to over 25 of the most incredible stage sets in the festival world… plus more than 80 unique and individual street venues! With this kind of rapid growth comes the inevitable growing pains. We’ve had some high profile challenges along the way and we’ve had to make hard decisions to keep things fresh creatively, financially achievable and within the limits of our license conditions… It’s a very delicate balance and one that we fight each and every year to get right (or as close to right as we can!) without jeopardising the core values of what we set out to achieve.
As we look back over where we’ve been, where we are and where we want to be: We’ve largely managed to achieve the impossible and combined our passions for music, art, and performance by putting them at the very forefront of what we do and as a by-product of this, we’ve created an environment unlike any other.
As we grow and evolve there are certain questions arising around our motives; why we are doing it, why we make certain decisions, why we’ve grown and even who we are now… We are still the same people (there are just more of us now), we still have the same motives, but just a bigger beast to control and a whole new set of challenges to face every year.
From three people sat around a kitchen table sending out handwritten tickets in 2009 to around 40 staff all year round, and over 12,000 crew at the festival, we’ve grown exponentially and have become one of the largest, truly independent festivals in the country. Our independence is something we are immensely proud of, we will never be anything other than independent to ensure we are in a position to make as many decisions as possible ourselves.
It means so much to us that despite all the ups, downs and challenges along the way, there are so many people who support what we do. It’s for you that we keep doing it: wake up at 5 am with ridiculous new ideas, plot theatre shows in our dreams and go to bed thinking about how to make the campsites, the queues, the ticket buying process easier. It’s for everyone who’s ever appreciated and understood what we’re trying to achieve, that we strive to put on the very best party the world has ever seen.
Thank you for being on this journey with us, for keeping the faith when we didn’t get it quite right, for celebrating when we did and for collectively experiencing something so inspiring, life-changing or incredible that we’ll never quite be able to explain it to the outside world…
To anyone yet to join us in this adventure, welcome, we look forward to showing you the sights at the next Chapter…