Event organisers LWE on how to launch a festival

Taking the best of Brighton‘s creative energy, lust for life and generosity of spirit, Boundary Brighton is a new festival, nestled between the crest of the Downs and the City with the sea below.

The organisers have gone all out and put together a festival that feels boutique and bespoke and coupled it with a ridiculously big line up fit for a much larger stage. We caught up with the LWE team to find out what goes into launching a new festival.

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What was the inspiration behind launching Boundary Brighton? Why Brighton, and why now?

I moved from London to Brighton 2 years ago. It is such a fantastic, vibrant city with so much to offer but with the demise of Shakedown it felt like there is the opportunity to launch something new to celebrate the end of the summer and to bring together all that is great about Brighton’s thriving music and creative scene.

Talk us through the day-in-the-life of a festival organiser?

Lots of planning, organising and watching ticket counts. It’s really not very exciting or glamorous. Even show day isn’t what people think it is. We are very hands on as promoters as we also produce a lot of our own shows so we spend the event operating – this involves running the door and ingress, working with security, problem solving and then implementing a smooth egress, which is always the most tricky part of any event. We never get to stand on the stage with the acts watching the fun unfold, we’re lucky if we have time to even eat! But the most rewarding bit is post show, seeing the reactions online.

What challenges have you faced so far?

Being newbies to Brighton and outsiders as promoters one of the key challenges, amongst many, was to create an event that is reflective and respectful of the place it is in, but at the same time introducing all that we have learnt and supported through our own events as LWE. As part of this process and before we embarked on launching Boundary we met with local venues, promoters and traders to see how they felt about a new event happening at Stanmer Park, if they wanted to be involved and what they felt would be right for Brighton. We had an overwhelmingly positive response, so we decided to go for it.

You’ve been working tirelessly. What advice do you have for anyone thinking of launching their own festival?

Think very, very carefully about what the concept, the content, the location, be prepared to lose money and look at it as a long-term project. It’s been a very tricky season this year for festivals, ticket sales are down everywhere and the weather definitely hasn’t been kind.

How important is it that you create a boutique feel?

Boutique isn’t so important but different is! There are so many festivals in the UK and many of them follow a very simple format – they take over a field, put up some big top tents and a very little else – they have very little individual identity aside from the initial artwork. We want to bring Brighton an event that is as colourful and exciting as Brighton itself but has the wider appeal to attract students and music fans from the surrounding areas.

The line up features some dance music heavyweights. How did you go about selecting the artists?

We decided we wanted a varied line up, mainly based in electronic music, as that is the scene we come from. There is a little something for everyone from every genre of dance music. Although I wouldn’t say it’s middle of the road, we have still pulled together something really interesting and eclectic.

Who do you think will be the highlight on this year’s programme?

Obviously come back king, Craig David, superstylin’ stalwarts Groove Armada, the super colourful and crazy Elrow (all the way from Barcelona) with equally interesting Seth Troxler at the helm of their ship (although it’s a bus this time I think) and Submotion Orchestra make some of the most interesting and exciting music from the UK today: a kaleidoscope of electronic bass music, entrancing vocals, ambient, jazz and dub that sits somewhere on an axis between Bonobo and London Grammar.

Tell us more about the club partners involved?

Each of the stages are hosted by one of Brighton’s leading electronic music venues, each with different production and musical direction. If you enjoy the sounds of Barcelona and Ibiza mixed with a large dose of insanity, outrageous performers, confetti filled air and crowd surfing chickens – you’ll love the fiesta taking place at The Arch stage.

Patterns, better known for it’s intimate dance floor and impeccable sound system, are providing an underground, edge with deeper, leftfield sounds in the surroundings of the LWE Warehouse. If a big stage and big sounds is more your style, then the Concorde 2 stage will have your hands in the air all day, with a beautiful façade and a personal feel not normally found on a main stage.

What can we expect from the 4 different stages?

I think the above covers the 3 main stages. Then we have what we are calling ‘The Bandstand’ as our 4th stage, perched on a hill overlooking the rest of the festival but with a very naughty line up that will be really fun. I was about to describe it as the fun stage, then I remembered Elrow. Basically it’s going to be a fun day out!

We know the UK festival market is crowded. Is there room for another metropolitan festival?

There is always room for something as long as it has a clear, defined identity and delivers something different to the rest. We recently launched our Junction 2 festival in London where the market is more crowded then anywhere else in the UK. It was tough launching but with a unique location (under the M4!!!) and a clear message and USP it worked and we have built a solid platform for next year.

How are you planning to ensure the festival is synonymous with Brighton?

As many of the food traders as possible will be based in Brighton, we have a few surprise acts for the day that are Brighton based and we have used as many Brighton people in the build and running of the festival as possible.

Any unannounced surprises you can give us a clue about?

It’s not all about the music…