Thursday, 25 August 2016 08:47

How to start a music festival - with the Old Sawmill Garden Party Featured

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The Old Sawmill Garden Party The Old Sawmill Garden Party

This year sees the launch of the Old Sawmill Garden Party – a melting pot of off-the-wall ideas mixed with weird and wonderful acts, artists and entertainment. We caught up with 2 of the team to find out what's in store, and we were blown away...

Have you ever wondered what it takes to start a music festival? Well one man who knows for sure is Rob Henderson! After being inspired by the Halloween parties his mum threw in his youth, Rob reignited the events at his family home; the Old Sawmill in 2007. With the mantra to not take itself too seriously and a relentless focus on crazy themes, hugely immersive décor, and collaboration, the annual Halloween party grew year on year, until 300 people were showing up and Rob’s mum said enough was enough!

For the last few years the Old Sawmill team have been taking their events on the road, putting on shows and hosting rooms with the likes of Rumpus and IllumiNaughty, and running stages at festivals from Beat-Herder to Glastonbury. After meeting so many great artists and organisers along the way, Rob Henderson has teamed up with co-organiser Jonathan Neasham, and a host of brilliant collaborators from the festival scene, to bring one hell of a show to the North of England.

We gate-crashed one of the team’s meetings in the build up to the festival to catch up with Rob and also ‘head jester’ and venue owner Luke Haritou and were completely blown away by their amazing passion, hilarious stories and spot-on ethos, this one’s not to be missed…

 

 

5 things we learnt about organising a festival:

Teamwork makes the dream work...

The Old Sawmill Garden Party is a complete collaboration of amazing music, artists and installations; "a lot of events are competitive rather than collaborative, it takes all the fun out of the music and the event. We want to be completely different" - and it's this ethos that has lead to the team growing bigger and bigger, with the combined goal of putting on the best possible show.

 

There's no limit to imagination...

Many of the Old Sawmill Garden Party's best ideas; from angle-grinding nuns to the most amazing decor and cinematic stages, were generated far too late at night and after one too many drinks... "we just got drunk one night and thought it would be a good idea. Normal people wake up in the morning and think 'it's a bit stupid really' we just think 'no let's actually do it!'" - and it's this awesome mentality that has lead to events up and down the country which are anything but the usual.

 

 

It's much more than music...

Getting amazing musicians is just the start; "we've always been big on decor. People buzzing off things is what we strive for, we'll have our DJs but that's only part of it..." and this has lead to fully immersive themes, experiences and even the talk of flavoured smoke machines and incense...

 

 

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes...

The stages and decor are going to play a huge part of the Old Sawmill Garden Party, and it's something the team have handled on their own; "we've built stuff especially for the festival. We've build a 2 storey house as the front of a tent, so you don't walk straight into the tent, you go through some double swinging doors, into a ballroom with a bar first..." and whilst clearly a lot of effort and time has gone in to it, it's this part of it which clearly bonds the team "it's all a joy though, we stepped back and looked at [what we were building] and just asked 'what are we doing?' I don't know, but it's exciting!".

 

Nudity is always funny...

Ok... you're going to have to listen to the podcast to hear about this, but some very bold promises were made!

 

The first ever Old Sawmill Garden Party takes place 16th - 18th September - tickets are still available and loads more information can be found on the website!

We'll see you there!

Last modified on Wednesday, 31 August 2016 16:27

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