Following on from the great times the Festivals For All reviewers had at last year’s bash, FFA were keen to speak to Willowman festival director Steve Williams to get a few insights on the latest 2014 line-up announcements and all things Willowman.
Read what our guys thought of Willowman 2013 HERE.
FFA: Following on from the success of last year’s Steam Punk theme – what have you got in store for us in 2014?
No defined theme as such this year but we have developed a bit of a ska, funk, reggae theme – No labels but it will be very much “Music To Dance to!”
We’re delighted to have The Wailers, with strong links back to Marley through his original band members like bass player Aston “Family Man” Barrett, plus of course Craig Charles with his funk and soul show. In fact we are planning to host a ‘Fro & Flairs’ party on Friday night to really kick off Craig’s set!
FFA: Willowman is famous for its diverse line-ups and you’ve always some cracking artists on the bill from right across the musical spectrum – I guess it’s the same this year?
Of course. We’ve everything from ex Alabama 3 stalwarts Mountain of Love, to Ruts DC, RDF, Ian McNabb, through to the likes of Biggles Wartime Band, and Bessie & The Zinc Buckets - who are a rockabilly band from the North East. They are a great party band. They even do some great rocked up versions of Abba classics – but rockabilly style! Its excellent stuff!
FFA: You’ve picked a winner with Mountain of Love who are starting to make a big name for themselves?
Yeah – that Alabama 3 pedigree shines through. Different and classy.
(Here’s what FFA thought of the band from one 2013’s festivals: “Mountain of Love … what can we say. Hands up we’d never heard of them before but arguably one of the sets of the festival. A thrilling amalgam of genre defying styles including pys-funk and techno intertwined with heavy bluesy beats. They are some of the founder members of Ababama 3 and that class showed. Shame it was just too hot to dance or the field would have been absolutely kicking. Great band – catch them before they are massive.” )
FFA: Any particular favourites?
Well, in general there is the usual Willowman mix of quirky, esoteric stuff – for instance we’ve got Pikey Beatz, a great high energy festival band, back by popular demand.
New Electric Ride are really taking off too, particularly in Europe. There is a strong 60’s psychedelic feel to their sound. Something really different.
FFA: Apart from Mr Charles, you’ve a strong DJ line-up too?
That’s right. For instance we’ve a great DJ from Manchester, known as Mr MASS – we’re expecting great things. He’ll be doing the Thursday night shabeen blues party; so expect a fantastic rude boy & rocksteady night! Throw in the likes of Dan Fantoni over the weekend and the place will be kicking. I can promise that the Mad Hatters Dance Tent selection of DJ’s will have a much more varied theme than previous years. It should please everyone!
FFA: Our reviewers thought the move to the new location at the Hillside Rural Activities Park in Knayton was a huge success in 2013. Are you pleased with it?
Yes, the location is excellent, flat, and with great transport links. The site design allows us to have a completely different feel to locations around the arena and we are beefing up the T’Other Field with loads of kid’s activities as well as plenty of chill-out and acoustic stuff.
FFA: Once again the ticket pricing set the standard on the value for money front?
We’re still selling tickets for £55! A family ticket for £180 for 2+2 is great value too. We genuinely try to not rip people off; our live-in vehicles are only charged £20, and caravans a bargain £30. We offer inclusive parking as well. It’s all about value for money.
Remember we’ll have the Willow Wobbly Bar again – a quality real ale bar at decent Yorkshire pricing!
FFA: How do you manage to consistently keep the pricing keen?
Put it this way – I’ve not made any money out of it yet! (laughs)
FFA: Finally – what are you hoping for this year’s festival?
Simple - The aim for a real nice sort of vibe again this year!
Read the latest line-up announcement HERE.
Willowman Festival 2014 - Hillside Rural Activities Park, Knayton, Thirsk. North Yorkshire. YO7 4AN
Starts: Thu 19th to Sun 22nd June 2014
Tickets: Adult camping tickets from £55
More Details of the festival and ticketing HERE.
Article by Barrie Dimond