Festwich, the UK’s biggest free music festival takes place again in Prestwich this year on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July. We sat down with event organiser Jools Taylor for the lowdown.
Interview: Daniel Clifford
So festwich is now in its fourth year,for those not familiar or god forbid have never heard of festwich what is this festival?
“Put simply Festwich is the UK’s biggest Free Tribute Festival. A whole weekend in summer July where we show case the best tribute bands around to 1000’s of people, we have 3 stages, thrill rides, food vendors, market area and beer tents, plus tonnes of fun!”
Despite selling out each year you are keeping the same venue size, why do you feel this is important?
“It’s so important for us to retain the integrity of the Festival. We are constantly told that we could easily double the size of what we do and why don’t we take it to a bigger park etc. It’s quite simple, we keep the numbers down for the comfort of everybody who attends and we strongly believe this adds to the positive experience of the Festival. We want to see people smiling not moaning about problems that could occur if we over loaded the site.”
Why is it a free festival, lots of other similar festivals charge quite a bit.
“That’s a good question lol. I was brought up in the early days of Glastonbury where you could just walk in and there was a real free spirit to the Festival, and that has engrained itself in my DNA. We’ve had a look at similar Festivals to ours particularly the Tribute ones and yes they charge at least £25 per person etc some are £70, that’s great and obviously people are paying it and enjoying themselves but our ethos is to take the ticket price out of the equation to enable people to come and experience amazing music and good times with family and friends without being hit in the pocket. Surely not everything in life has to have a price tag ! We are convinced we have one of the friendliest Festivals on the planet and part of that reason is because we are genuine with what we do and the crowds of people who come to Festwich tell us, it really adds to that feel good factor across the Festival site.”
Is it a tough task selecting bands to play?
“Yes it’s really tricky, it’s quite a responsibility but at the same time a dream task, it’s exciting but sometimes worrying as your trying to keep everybody happy from the bands to Festival revellers. You just want to do your best for everybody but after a bit you just after commit and stop worrying about those who might not be happy for one reason or another. We’ve learnt a lot over the years and it’s important to us to always better what we have done the year before in terms of productions and as a show. This year we are really going for the show experience with our chosen headliners we aim to get the experience as close to the real thing as possible not just with the fantastic acts but the production that will compliment the performances. We are studying hours of concert footage for lighting and stage setups etc, to be fair it’s a nice job to come into most mornings.”
How many bands will be performing over the 2 days?
“There will be pushing 40!”
Why is it important to you to have it a family friendly festival?
“It’s amazing to see toddlers rocking out and getting into the groove with their parents, it’s a really nice way to spend quality time with your family surely, it was for me when my parents took me to Festivals. It’s really important to pass music on, I was lucky enough to be educated on Hendrix and the likes, it keeps music alive ! It’s great to be able to provide a really nice safe environment where families can relax and share the whole experience and those memories last forever and become more important as you get older and is a bit different for a change. We wouldn’t have it any other way if it doesn’t feel right to us and it’s not something we enjoy then we’d rather not do it, there’s enough problems in the world we don’t want to add to them lol we want a Festival where you forget about them and enjoy being with family and friends that’s all that is important at the end of the day.”
What change, if any, are there from previous editions of the festival this time around?
“Tim is in charge of the overall production and site layout and does an amazing job every year with the team. A mammoth task goes on behind the scenes to deliver what we do with Festwich and this year we are stepping it up. As you know we are 4 yrs old and are build another stage to produce The Big 4, we are really excited ! Tim also has a few tricks up his sleeve and one he revealed the other day is a blinding idea, we are just working out the logistics to see how we can fit it in, all we be revealed soon!”
We get inundated with band requests to play, are there any ways original bands can get the chance to play the Manchester rocks stage?
“Rebellion Bar Manchester are getting involved with the Festival this year and they will be hosting the Big 4 stage with Manchester Rocks, on the run up to the Festival Rebellion are going to be running a couple of events at their bar for bands to win the chance to play at Festwich. More details will be announced via our website soon.”
Will there be lots of food and drink options on site?
“For sure, we have added new options every year as we listen to what people want!”
Can people get tickets?
“Ticket info will be on our website”
You always support a charity over the course of the festival, who will it be this year?
“We will be working with Christies again this year.”
Finally, why should people come?
“It’s simply a fantastic weekend and does need to be experienced, it’s a great fun free Festival, come and just have a good time and enjoy the most amount of anthems!”