Festival Focus – Electric Fields Interview: “Success is a few thousand people smiling & dancing”

electric fields

The Electric Fields Festival takes place in Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland on the 1st & 2nd of September 2017.

The Electric Fields Festival sprung into life at the tail end of summer 2016 in the beautiful setting of Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries & Galloway. It garnered rave reviews and by all accounts set the bar pretty high for itself to live up to in 2017.

Scotland’s festival scene has long been dominated by T in the Park which has had it’s share of troubles and negative PR in recent years and this year isn’t happening at all. It’s replacement, Glasgow’s TRNSMT festival has Radiohead as a standout but is largely filled with safe names that’ll shift the volume of tickets needed to fill a huge park with drunk teens and twenty-somethings. Outside of the mega-festivals there’s generally plenty going on from tiny festivals on small islands to staples like Belladrum.

Electric Fields seems to have fitted seamlessly into the Scottish festival calendar and it’s location is ideal, filling a gap left by the sad demise of the Wickerman Festival. What’s got us Overblowner’s all excited is the quality of the line up which features the likes of Kate Tempest, Real Estate, Car Seat Headrest, Marnie, This is the Kit, Sacred Paws, Pins and many, many other exciting names. We took the time to learn a bit more about the event by speaking to Festival Director Nick Roberts. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Overblown: What’s the policy behind booking artists for the festival and who do you consider your priority target audience to be when considering what’s going to appeal to them?

Nick Roberts: We have always said from the beginning we want to book artists that are making fresh, exciting and relevant music. We have an audience who believe in that also and trust us to book not only names that they know and love, but the best upcoming artists too which leads them to finding their new favourite band. Our audience is a really good bunch of people who generally love music and go to a lot of gigs, so it’s a great environment for young bands to play in which is really cool.

O: In recent years there’s been a lot of controversy over a lack of diversity on festival line-ups, particularly around a lack of female artists. Looking at some of the major festival line ups nothing really seems to be changing. Is this something you’re aware of and something you take into account when booking bands?

NR: It’s definitely something we’re aware of, its such a hot topic in the music world. We’ve always had the basis that we book bands who make great music, and that means that we end up with musicians of any gender. We’re of the size (5000) that we can generally book people we love and rely on the fact that a group of other people are into it. I would hate to be in the position where you have sell 60,000 + tickets and be forced to pick from a very small group of acts that can pull those numbers, most of which sadly are men.

O: Is having a lot of Scottish artists of key importance to Electric Fields?

NR: Scotland has tons of amazing music so it isn’t a bad or negative thing to have lots of Scottish acts. Championing bands from Scotland is totally a key thing of what we want to do. Similarly though, it all comes down to the same ethos of “If your musics great then we’ll book you”.

electric fields

O: Have you enjoyed seeing so many families at the festival? Was it always the plan to have a family friendly festival in D&G?

NR: Yeah it’s really cool. We have such a nice relaxed atmosphere I think parents are totally delighted they can catch a band safe in the knowledge that the kids aren’t far away and are also having a ton of fun. From the outset it became really clear that our audience is around the same age as us (late 20s to 40s) and as such a lot of people have kids, so it made total sense for it to be as kid friendly as possible, but without losing sight of the fact that it’s a music festival first and foremost, not Disneyland.

O: What were your personal highlights from last year’s event?

NR: Very hard to pick one and it’s all a bit of a blur, due to running about… I’ve always loved The Twilight Sad and it was cool having them on the main stage after doing a wee secret set the year before. The fact it was sunny again was really ace, there was only about 20 minutes of rain the whole weekend which came during Public Service Broadcasting but it resulted in a double rainbow which almost seemed like it was part of the show. That was really nice.

O: Are there any plans to increase the festival to 3 days in the future?

NR: Not imminently, but never say never…

O: With the obvious aside of ticket sales and the commercial aspect of a festival, what do you feel makes for a successful event? What does success look like for Electric Fields?

NR: Success for us looks like a few thousand people smiling and dancing over the whole weekend, being cool to one another and enjoying the music over anything else. Once the dust has settled after the festival it’s really nice to have a beer, go through the photos, read the reviews as they come in and reflect on what so far has always been a great weekend for everyone!

Electric Fields takes place on the 1st & 2nd September at Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries & Galloway in Scotland. For tickets click right here 

Follow Electric Fields on Facebook // Twitter 

Follow Overblown on Facebook and Twitter.