As festivals all over the UK sell out on hopes of a Covid-free summer and many yearn to travel, Medya Gungor hears from the organisers of Westival in South West Wales about their plans
Following the government’s announcement that its aim is zero limits on social contact from 21 June, festival and event organisers have been enjoying record ticket sales as UK ravers plan to go large this summer to ensure they make up for all the lost time.
Cross the Tracks, Mighty Hoopla and Wide Awake, are scheduled for Brockwell Park on 3, 4 and 5 September.
Hoopla says it has already sold all 25,000 of its tickets. Early bird tickets for Wide Awake are sold out.
Cross the Tracks says 80% of its tickets are gone and that it has taken them offline to make sure local residents and NHS workers can take precedence for what is left.
In just one week, Ticketmaster saw a 600% rise in website traffic from 2m users and a survey by concert search engine Live Nation reported that 64% of fans plan on attending even more live music events than they did before.
Unsurprisingly, this saw huge events like Reading, Leeds and Boomtown sell out instantly, with smaller festivals such as Field Day, Eastern Electrics and El Dorado announcing the same success.
Another name on our radar setting the tone for emerging underground festivals is Westival – established by its distinctive, community-spirited culture that combines the intimacy of a popping house party with the untouched, raw elements of the southern Pembrokeshire coast.
With an inclusive-yet-exclusive capacity of 1,500 people, the event has hosted Welsh debuts for artists such as Detroit’s Marcellus Pittman and CC:Disco with impressive line-ups that have boasted Lovebirds, Peach, Jamie Tiller and Orpheu The Wizard.
Also sold out, but with resale ticket options, it is due to take place on 22 to 26 July this year
After attending the festival in 2019, I recently caught up with Westival founder Joe Worley, aka Mr West, who warmly welcomed Brixton’s residents to this year’s event.
“When we did a postering campaign back in 2019, we chose different areas of London we thought Westival would be best suited to,” he says.
“Our range of music includes African music and Afro-beats, and as Brixton is the home of the Afro-Caribbean network, we thought this resonated with its community.”
With only 40% of tickets in 2019 purchased by locals and even smaller proportion this summer, we discussed the festival’s unique qualities that contribute to its growing fan base across the UK.
“I think it’s the mix of genres,” Joe says, “The Garden Stage might be playing house and disco whilst The Stretch has more of an eclectic vibe.
“The Dome, which is new this year, is more garage, breaks and jungle.”
I recall how the diversity of genres in open, under-crowded spaces was another reason for the event being so harmonious.
“That’s exactly what we’re going for” Joe agrees, “there’s different areas for every sound and you might not know every DJ on the line-up, but certain points of your day take you to different stages depending on what you’re feeling”.
I asked how the idea for such a festival came about. Joe explains that what started years ago as a private birthday party escalated every year onwards, with 2021 being the biggest jump so far.
Keen DJs themselves, he and his fellow organisers understand the need to give a platform to upcoming, unheard-of artists.
“We just want Westival to grow organically as we keep bringing emerging talent to Pembrokeshire because we know how important this is,” he says cheerily.
Breathing an ethos which encourages expressive, genre-defining sets that support new artists, show there is no question that a love for community is paramount for this event.
If you’re down for grooving to the likes of Dan Shake, Eris Drew and Shanti Celeste as the sun sets over a rolling hillside this July, you’d better keep your eyes peeled on Resident Adviser’s ticket resale page.
Follow @westival.wales to stay in touch with the latest updates.