Malcolm Haynes talks to eFestivals

Big Chill exclusive interview

published: Tue 12th Jul 2011

around the festival site (1)

Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th August 2011
Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 1RL, England MAP
£165 for the weekend
daily capacity: 30000
last updated: Thu 1st Sep 2011

Malcolm Haynes stage booker at The Big Chill, spoke exclusively to eFestivals about this year's event.

around the festival site (1)
Hi Malcolm, what's your role in putting Big Chill together?
I programme the Revellers Tent, and the Starburst Stage.

How are plans for this year going?
Very well as far as I know. I haven't been to the site yet this year, but I hear that everything is coming together nicely.

Of the acts you have at Big Chill which are you most looking forward to seeing?
Most of them to be honest. I suppose Mulatu Astatke I'm really looking forward to, the Ethiopian jazz-style player. I think that's quite an exciting booking. Obviously the headliners Calvin Harris, Chipmunk, and Sharon Jones. Quantic and his Combo (Barbaro) will be really interesting, because it's been a while since he's been over. Plus Katy B, Devlin, everybody really.

Then there's also some great stuff on the other stages. Nenah Cherry, Kanye West, Jessie J, Warpaint, it's all coming together.

How do you decide if there's a clash on, who you are going to see?
A few months ago I sat down with all the programmers and we were quite careful about the programming. Certainly between the Deer Park Stage and The Revellers, two of the biggest ones, what you will find is that whatever you want to see, you'll be able to see it. We've been very careful, obviously you do get overlaps, but we have been quite conscious not to make obvious clashes where you will miss one or the other. This way you will be able to see the start of someone's set or the end of someone's set, especially as it's such a long way between the two stages. We've paid more attention to it this year. There were a few clashes last year, and we've conferred between the two stages to ensure we've got the timings right this year.

Has there been anyone on the line-up since you got involved that have really impressed you with how well they've been received?
I've only been involved since last year, so that's a bit of a difficult question. I put quite a lot on last year, to test the water I guess, to see what people would be receptive to and what they wouldn't be. There were no real surprises. I think it was quite heart warming the way that Terry Callier was received, and Natty. He was the first thing on, on the Sunday, and The Revellers Tent was absolutely full up to listen to nice soulful roots music, which was really nice, and had a good acoustic feel to it.

It must be pleasing to see the first act of the day draw in such a big crowd. Yes, there are some bands, if the sun is out, where people like nothing better than to sit down, have their coffee, listen to the band and read the Sunday papers.

Had you been to the Big Chill before Mean Fiddler took it over?
To be honest, no I hadn't. I hadn't been for 10 years. It was just something that I just never went, there was always something else on, and I used to do a fair bit of trading at festivals with Juice Bars. So, I was always doing stuff somewhere else.

Do you know if there any big surprises still to come for this year's Big Chill?
I don't actually. I've got one or two slots yet to fill with the right thing. I suppose they could be seen as special guests. But, I think we're pretty much there.

Are there any changes to the layout of the festival?
I think there has been quite a bit of a change to the layout actually. I think Festival Republic have tried to make it a more interesting walk around the arenas. There's boulevard, the street, I don't know what it's called, which has different bars off it, that's going to be a bit of a surprise, and the Cubes (Concept) is moving, and Starburst is moving down near the lake. So you will get a really amazing effects on the water from the Cubes as well.

I think it's trying to make the site a little bit more compact. It's Festival Republic's second year now. The first year was a case of let's put it on and make some change to the camping field and things like that, which I think were great. The majority of camping is the other side of Revellers so that ensured the late night spot got a double look each day, and brought people down into the rest of it.

There has been some changes, yes, but I don't know all of them. The Revellers has changed around a bit, we've got The People's Ear Stage, and The Big Chill Radio has now got a stage, and that's got a really interesting line-up of live, DJs, and producers on there.

There's been a few changes to the markets, it's a case of tweaking it really, and seeing how that's accepted by the public this year.

How do you go about getting feedback from the public?
There's various ways. There's immeadiate feedback from the area co-ordinators, and the general people on the ground. Then you've got your forums as well, and the various websites where you can listen to people's feedback, and take on board some of the things that they say.

What was your most memorable moment of last year?
I thought Magnetic Man was amazing.But I think it has to be Terry Callier, his set was genuinely moving. For someone who has been in the business for so long, and have a second leaf to his career, and is more accepted now as a pensioner, than he was in his 20s. A really special moment I think, I think his music is so beautiful, and he sings songs from the heart about life.

Are there any plans to move the date Big Chill is held on?
I don't think so. There was talk about perhaps moving it the first year it was on. It's not a great time to fall in the diary, what with other festivals and routing for international acts. But, I think the date has got to stay because people know that the first weekend in August is The Big Chill, it's easy to remember.

How are you hearing that festivals are faring this year?
There's a few festivals that I was surprised to see advertising, who don't normally advertise, and I'm not going to say who. I think, with the exception of Glastonbury which is an absolute phenomenon and sells out, other festivals do struggle. Latitude has nearly sold out, and Reading and Leeds will be. I think the economic times are taking a toll, and it's a little bit harder to get that pound out of that audience. I think the weather too is a big factor.

People are leaving it a little bit longer to buy tickets. But, they shouldn't leave it too long in the case of The Big Chill though, because personally I think the line-up is amazing. Kanye West is an exclusive, you won't see him anywhere else. It's definitely worth jumping on board for that one.

The dates for The Big Chill 2011 are confirmed as from Thursday 4th until Sunday 7th August at the site which has four lakes, thick woods and an arboretum at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire.

Tickets are priced at £165 per adult with a maximum of 4 tickets able to be bought per household, teen tickets (13 to 15 years old) are priced at £85, and kid (12 and under) tickets are priced at £5. Day tickets are priced at £75 for Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and two day tickets are also available.

To buy tickets from Seetickets - click here.

To buy tickets from Ticketline - click here.

To buy tickets from Gigantic - click here.

To buy tickets from Ticketmaster - click here.

interview by: Scott Williams

Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th August 2011
Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 1RL, England MAP
£165 for the weekend
daily capacity: 30000
last updated: Thu 1st Sep 2011

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