We caught up with Chris Knight, head of programming for Kelburn Garden Party, to have a chat about what we can look forward to at this year’s festival.
The line up for Kelburn Garden Party is looking really good. Really nice mix of lots of different genres, nice party vibe.
Yeah, there’s 2 or 3 distinct elements that sets it apart from, certainly from any other Scottish festival. One is the line-up, it’s always very diverse. Because it’s so close to Glasgow and myself as the head programmer coming from a club scene background we’ve tried to reflect that underground left field club scene of Glasgow and Edinburgh, some of the more experimental stuff as well.
So we try to cover both camps that club sound on the late night stages, very clubby good quality sound and then we’ve got plenty of folk, jazz, world, african music in there as well. We do try to cover a wide range of genres because I think that’s what people want at a festival.
One thing that I really took notice of at last year’s Kelburn was the straight up friendliness of the weekend.
The Scottish festival scene because it’s a small scene in a small county you go to them and they’re all just full of really friendly faces. Also all the festivals work together, we’re all friends and it does lead to good vibes.
Kelburn is such a creative atmosphere that people do let down their guard and realise there’s no pretensions here and just get on with expressing themselves and enjoying themselves. Then there’s the music program, the quality and diversity of that.
The other major player that really does set it apart from other festivals is the site itself. You’ve got the castle, it’s the 10th anniversary of the graffiti project this year which was really a ground breaking thing. The audacity of the graffiti project informed the attitude we had to putting together the festival – no compromise. We just go for it, we have a crazy idea and try to make it happen. That informs what happens at Kelburn, that’s why we try to fit as much music and performance and art into every little nook and cranny in the site.
The third thing that brings all the things together is the Never-ending Glen which is the multimedia art trail that follows the pathways around the glen so people can explore that in the daytime. We’ve twenty or thirty hand-picked art installations. You can walk up the glen and there’s all these crazy wee art installations, there’s pop up parties. It’s really a big part of the festival essentially a contemporary art gallery in the glen.
As you walk through the glen it’s a trip for the senses. It’s easy to keep moving about the festival, at a lot of festivals especially the bigger ones you’re kind of stuck at a stage. With Kelburn we encourage people to move about the site and it’s bit of an adventure. In the day time what you can do is spend almost the whole day up the glen or at the little peripheral stages around the site, there’s bars and stuff around the glen too. Then as night falls you come back down and the main festival site starts to hot up.
Who are you looking forward to seeing?
I think AKALA is such an essential performer, it’s been quite a bold move to put essentially a solo act with a small band on the square stage. In these times it’s good to have acts that send a message sometimes, an interesting band rather than just mindless partying. Having AKALA playing a 13th Century country estate is really interesting.
Also I always love to hear Mr Scruff play, he’s always on top of things in terms of dance music. My two top picks a bit further down the lineup would be Flamingods and 47 Soul.
47 Soul are an electro band from Palestine we had them for their Scottish debut two years ago, absolutely mind blowing good – wasn’t sure we’d be able to get them in again as they’ve gone so big. Flamingods are great too. They’re a mish-mash of kind of asian, eastern kind of african sounds all through a London urban melting pot.
Kelburn Garden Party will be held on 30th June – 3rd July. Have a look at their shiny new website www.kelburngardenparty.com to get yourself hyped and a get flavour of what to expect.
They’ve just launched an Affiliate Programme – basically this means get your pals along to Kelburn and earn a free ticket for yourself. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Image copyright: Graham Wynne, sourced from www.kelburngardenparty.com/galleries/gallery-the-kelburn-garden-party-2016/