The festival season is nearly upon us and so it’s time to trawl through the listings and figure out where to focus our al-fresco partying this year. Living in London you can’t go wrong with a day festival. There’s plenty to chose from here in the city and it’s a great way to get your festival fix without the mess, effort and insomnia of camping (maybe we’re getting old?!).
This year there is a new kid in town brought to you by the guys behind XOYO, The Nest, Dimensions and Outlook – Sunfall Festival. But this one’s different; your ticket gives you access to the outdoor day festival and one of their night sessions – the best of both worlds. Sunfall will be bringing together acts such as Jamie xx, Moodymann, Ben Klock and Kamasi Washington to South London’s Brockwell Park on Saturday 9th July. An eclectic line up to represent London’s eclectic scene.
Ahead of Sunfall’s launch, we caught up with Noah Ball from Outlook/Dimensions festival to get the inside scoop on his brand new project…
Hey Noah. First of all, thanks for taking the time to chat to us, we appreciate you must be pretty busy now we’re fast approaching the festival season and the launch of Sunfall.
Lets start from the beginning… Both you and Andy [Columbo Group] are well versed in the art of putting on parties and festivals, so it feels that you’re the perfect duo to take on London with a brand new festival. How did you guys come together? Is it the first time you’ve joined forces to put on an event?
This is the first event we’ve worked together on, but it’s been a very natural fit between us, we really enjoy working together. Outlook & Dimensions offices are based in London so we’ve known the guys from Columbo for a number of years, they’ve done amazing work with their venues and we really respect their music policies and how they operate. When the opportunity to work together on this project arose we couldn’t think of a better partnership to have.
I read somewhere that you wanted to launch a festival that was unique and true to the underground scene. This is clearly represented by the eclectic collection of acts and all manner of genres making an appearance – jazz, electronica, house, hip hop, dubstep, techno, soul, drum & bass and disco.. You’ve only got to look at the headliners to see that vision – Jamie XX, Moodyman, Ben Klock and Kamasi Washington. That’s a bold step. What was it that inspired you to take this approach?
I think that this was a very natural development, you only have to look at the scope of music that is represented at Phonox & XOYO, Outlook & Dimensions to see that this event is an embodiment of the best music from all of those sides. Our approach to festival bookings to is present artists whose music we love, whose records we are buying. For me, good programming, good synergy in an event isn’t about booking the most obvious ticket sellers but creating an interesting patchwork of music. Music enthusiasts are just as likely or even more likely to enjoy an array of different styles of music as they are a bunch of obvious “big hitters”.
You recently announced that you will be hosting an independent record fair at Sunfall which is a pretty exciting and an alternative addition to the festival. Where did this idea come from and how did you go about selecting the labels?
At a one day event across a handful of stages there simply aren’t enough hours for us to be able to provide a platform to all the labels and artists that we would wish to represent (although we have tried!), so being able to provide a load of independent labels with space where they can promote their releases and sell their music to an audience of music lovers was something we were keen to do. We worked together with Morell (Rhythm Section) in inviting labels to attend, he has been running a number of south london record fairs recently and so we wanted to support that.
As well as a strong daytime festival, Sunfall allows revelers the chance to carry on the party at a selection of eight South London venues where you’ve curated some special after party magic, again each with an individual sound and all included in the day & night ticket. You’ve certainly gone all guns blazing on 9th July – Sunfall is taking over South London! What made you decide to roll out a series of night events as well as the day time festival?
Most city centre festivals tend to roll out their “feature presentation”, and then a bunch of afterparties may be announced closer to the date as an afterthought almost. We wanted to make sure that the day and night time activities were both equally represented from the start and work with some of the best london nightclubs for experiencing night time dancing such as Corsica, Phonox, Canavans, Bussey etc.
As well as Sunfall you must be pretty flat out with Dimensions and Outlook this year. You must be pretty chuffed with the success of both festivals – when you first set up Outlook did you ever expect Croatia to become the clubbing mecca that it has become now?
We’ve been working out there for nearly 10 years now and it has most certainly changed quite a lot in that time, but yes when we first started Outlook we did envisage that it was going to become a popular destination. It’s such a beautiful country. We are lucky to be able to hold our festivals in what I believe to be one of the best sites on the planet, there aren’t many places where you can experience such amazing quality sound in a 2000 yr old amphitheatre and an abandoned fort built in the eighteen hundreds.
What are your plans for the rest of this summer? Any time for relaxing? Checking out any other festivals?
The day after Sunfall I’ll be dragging myself out of bed to go and see Stevie Wonder in Hyde Park and then the following weekend back in Brockwell Park for the Lambeth Country Show. Apart from that just getting ready for Outlook & Dimensions at the end of August.
And to close things off, the question we ask everybody – if you were techno kittens for the day what would you get up to?
I’d spend the day avoiding cucumbers.
Thanks guys, can’t wait for Sunfall! Tickets are on sale now, here.