We caught up with Ian Crowther of The Way Of Music curator of Rockawaybeach.co.uk to get the lowdown on the festival which kicks off next weekend 9-11th October in Bognor Regis.
Rockaway Beach is a boutique festival for lovers of live music, showcasing an eclectic mix of the best established, emerging and breakthrough alternative artists. On the bill amongst so many others are Johnny Marr and Skinny Girl Diet, pictured below.
Loud! Noises!: Did you have a general theme or concept that inspired this event?
Ian: The inspiration for Rockaway Beach comes from the excitement of hearing great music for the first time. I wanted to bring together a selection of today’s leading alternative artists to showcase new music.
Loud! Noises!: You have put together a great eclectic mix of established and artists and breakthrough acts, it is great to see festivals supporting the smaller acts as well as established. How do you go about finding the best emerging breakthrough acts of the year?
Ian: I go to experience a lot of live music, always seeking out something special. Ever since I can remember, I was that guy who found new music and wanted to press it into the hands of his friends. Curating a festival is just like making mix tapes but on a bigger scale. Of course I receive suggestions all the time of who I might like to check out. Gum Takes Tooth are a great example of that. This is a different kind of weekend, focussed very much on artists producing new music. Even those that are really well established, such as Spiritualized, The Membranes and Echo & The Bunnymen, are still putting out amazing new music. As well we have a great selection of exceptionally talented artists that have broken through recently like Nadine Shah, Ghostpoet, and Public Service Broadcasting.
Loud! Noises!: How did the event come about and what unique qualities will the festival have?
Ian: I still go to festivals, but gigs for me are a better live music experience. So at Rockaway Beach we want to deliver the best of both – a festival community of music-lovers congregating on a single site, together with the great sound experience and vibrant atmosphere you get at an indoor venue.
Loud! Noises!: So the festival will have a real community vibe which is great for the audience to really engage with the artists.
Ian: Yes, Rockaway Beach will be an intimate festival allowing audience and artist to get close and share their love of music. Butlin’s Bognor Regis was the first choice location as all show venues are indoor with exceptional sound quality. On-site accommodation and access to great food and drink means that we can give festival-goers the best weekend experience whatever the weather.
Loud! Noises!: Personally what are your passions and influences musically, how much are these influences brought into play in curating Roackaway Beach?
Ian: Do you remember the first time you heard The Ramones, The Smiths, or Young Fathers? Music can change your life… and live music is the best. My journey started with The Wedding Present at St George’s Hall in Bradford, included time in Cambridge for Th’ Faith Healers at The Boat Race and PJ Harvey at The Junction, next stop London where I caught artists like Asian Dub Foundation and St Etienne, then onto Glasgow for Arab Strap at King Tut’s, The Streets at The Barrowlands, The Delgados at The Mitchell Theatre, and Linton Kwesi Johnstone at The Renfew Ferry… All these experiences and many more inspired me to turn Rockaway Beach from a dream into a reality.
Loud! Noises!: Are there any standout artists you are looking forward to in particular?
Ian: Now that is a really difficult one… it is so hard to choose when every artist has been hand-picked because they bring something special to the festival… There are artists on the bill that I have loved since my youth, such Band of Holy Joy, Johnny Marr and The Monochrome Set. Young Fathers were one of the firsts groups I booked for Rockaway Beach, having been a fan since their first mixtape, and seeing them live is something else. They are for me one of the most exciting artists around. I am really excited to have some exceptionally talented artists that are emerging this year, such as Daudi Matsiko, Zyna Hel, Blaenavon, Misty Miller, and St. Sleep’s highly anticipated first live show. There is an amazing buzz about these guys. James Holden’s set is something else, he is so well known for his work as a music producer and DJ. His live work is relatively new, and I know the audience is going to be astounded. Finally, being based in Glasgow, loving its vibrant live music scene, I am proud that the first Rockaway Beach includes amazing live artists such as RM Hubbert, Errors, St Deluxe, Emma Pollock, Miaoux Miaoux, John Knox Sex Club.
Loud! Noises!: There are also a good few international artists coming over for the festival which is great.
Ian: International artists always bring something unique to a festival. I am pleased to welcome Jennie Vee from NYC, Pinkshinyultrablast from St Petersburg, Emmecosta from Gothenburg, and Shocking Pinks all the way from Wellington, New Zealand to Rockaway Beach. Also I met The Jaguar Club after their gig in a small club on the lower East Side of Manhattan in February and really excited that they agreed to come over and play Rockaway Beach.
Loud! Noises!: This all sounds great! Being possibly the first of a series, where do you see it progressing from here and have you had a great deal of interest?
Ian: I’ve been thrilled by the amount of support Rockaway Beach has received from the music industry and music fans everywhere. We are already making plans for RB2016, so standby for some early announcements!