Tag Archives: Nibley Music Festival

Feature Friday: Why tomorrow’s Nibley Music Festival is the best hobby in the world

Feature Friday is a new post where I pop on my blog feature articles I have recently written for magazine-organizing1newspapers or magazines.

This week is a feature that appeared in last week’s Citizen and Echo Weekend Magazine. It’s an interview with Chris Gordon, the organiser of the amazing Nibley Music Festival in Gloucestershire, which is on tomorrow, Saturday 6th July. In it, Chris talks about the behind-the-scenes secrets of running a successful festival and how it is, hands down, the best hobby in the world. Oh yeah.

“Biggest isn’t the best” (Citizen/Echo Weekend, June 29th 2013)

Tens of thousands have descended on Worthy Farm for Glastonbury this weekend, but there is another boutique music festival making waves closer to home, as Nikki Owen found out…

It’s the day before my interview with Chris Gordon, one of the organisers extraordinaire of Nibley Music Festival. My husband is very, very excited. “Go on then,” I sigh, “what do you want me to ask him?” He nearly squeals. “The bands!’” he says immediately. “Ask him what it’s like to meet the bands. Ooo, and how they pick them. How do Nibley pick the bands.” He pauses. “I’d love to be a festival organiser. It must be so cool.”  He stares into space. I start to wonder if he should get out more.

Seven years ago, Nibley Music Festival was born after a group of friends with a love of live music got chatting in a pub. Come 2013 and Nibley has become not only a local phenomenon, but a national one, too – and is on the radar of major music agents. Held on the first Saturday of every July, Nibley showcases blistering bands (The Wonder Stuff,

Nibley Festival by day
Nibley Festival by day

them of 90s fame, are playing this year) with a family friendly atmosphere that is legendary (last year there was free laser quest, local culinary food and craft tents.).

You’d think organising a festival like Nibley is quite literally a full-time job, and surely a breeze, right? I ask straight-off. “What’s it like organising a festival?” Chris cracks the biggest smile. ‘’It’s the best hobby I’ve ever had.” Great. But then he starts to talk about how much he and the other Nibley committee members do, and that’s when the penny drops: the entire thing is run by volunteers. All of them with day jobs, families and lives, all mucking in, wiping mud from boards. Easy it ain’t. “Last year,” Chris says, “to protect the field, we carried every piece of equipment on by hand.” “What?” I say. “Even the stage?” Chris nods. “Even the stage.”

So it’s even more extraordinary to consider that, in 2011, event website Britevents voted Nibley one of the top ten music festivals in the UK along side the likes of Glastonbury and V Festival. In fact, so popular is Nibley that this year, tickets (all 4,000 of them) sold out within 42 minutes. ‘To sell out so quickly is unprecedented,” says Chris. “We have other festivals contacting us asking us how we do it.”

And what about bands contacting Nibley? “It’s great that we’re inundated with so many bands wanting to play Nibley,” says Chris. ‘We have an online form for them to fill in. It drops automatically into a spreadsheet so we can cope with the deluge. We’ve got very systemised in our back-room operations.” Ah, so that’s how it’s done. “But,” he adds, “when you actively seek out a band that you think are brilliant and they say yes – wow. I mean, I can’t tell you how excited we were getting King Charles.”

Singer, King Charles
Singer, King Charles

He’s referring to glam-folk singer, King Charles, who is so big he’s a support act to The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park this July.  We watch him on You Tube – he looks like a cross between Adam Ant and Freddie Mercury. With catchy music. “He’s massive!” Chris smiles.  I sheepishly say I have never heard of him before.  Chris then proceeds to reel off the You Tube hits Charles has received – i.e. millions. It’s a reminder just how well-regarded Nibley has become to attract such a major act.

We proceed to talk all things live music – Chris’s favourite thing – and before I know it, it’s come the end of the interview. I have to ask it. “What’s the most glamorous thing about running a festival?” Chris thinks. “It’s a great excuse to see loads of fantastic gigs.” And the least? “Carrying portaloos across a field.” Ah.

And so ends the interview. It’s amazing, really, to think that Nibley is run entirely by a committee of volunteers. Added to that, all the money raised goes to local good causes.  “We would really welcome some new committee members,” says Chris, as I leave. “All they need are commitment and a passion for live music.” I nod and make a note to tell my husband. It’s like Chris said – running a music festival – it’s the best hobby in the world.

Nibley Music Festival takes place on 6th July 2013. For more details, and to contact if you’re interested in being a festival organiser, visit www.nibleyfestival.co.uk

Diary of a hopeful author: Would you want your old life back?

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

I went to a music festival at the weekend. I know! Get me! It was the amazing Nibley Music Festival and we all had a whale of a time. Many a band played on the stages, some of which were new and local, others which were older and well, not local. One of these bands was The Christians. Do you know them? They were big, in the UK at least, in the 1990s and sung songs like Ideal World and Hooverville. (If you don’t know them I’ve stuck a link below so you can watch them on You Tube.) Anyway, there we all were right by the main stage watching them when it got to in between songs and the lead singer spoke. He talked about how things were back in the 90s when they were really big – and then he said something that made me stop in my dancing tracks. ‘We want our lives back,’ he said. That phrase stayed in my head for the rest of the day – even when I was boogying to Dodgy and laughing my little head off, not that I’d had a festival drink, you understand (red wine).  

Afterwards, as we trooped on home, our legs weary, our ears ringing to within an inch of their lives, I got to thinking about what he had said. What makes someone say that they want their life back? The life The Christians had when they were big must have been amazing – fame, fans, um, fine food …(sorry, was going for an alliterating three fs there…) What must have happened to them along the way to make them want it all back a decade or two down the line? Take a look at our own lives and how does this relate? Do we all want our old lives back? Bachelor days, student days, child-free days, successful days? Aren’t there times in our lives when we all think: I’d just like to re live that time again just once? The whole thing made me think about my writing. When I was younger, writing wasn’t my goal – I was too distracted by other things and my career choice was marketing and I was going to conquer it! (think power suits…I know…I had big hair, too).  Don’t get me wrong, I always wrote a little – poems, plays, bit and bobs – because I did like to write. But it was only as I got older did I realise that it was my passion, that I had to do it, had to go for it. And I guess that’s my point: I never had it, the success, so I can’t wish for it back. Does that make me lucky? Are we lucky if we come to something later than earlier in life? Or is it just a case of whichever way the cookie crumbles?

I do wonder sometimes if my life would be the way it is now if I had gone into writing when I was younger. I might not have met my hubbie, not had my kids – who knows? This week, my book, The Boy Who Played Guitar, officially came out in paperback and when I held the actual copy in my hands on Monday I couldn’t actually speak (miracles do happen…). Tears sprung to my eyes. I have been working at writing allsorts now for 15 years in between everything else – in between getting married, working and commuting to London, having two babies, more work. But do you know what? Even though it was hard all that writing with minimum success, I wouldn’t change anything (okay, except for my feet, I’d change those – they are truly appalling. Who knew nails could get that thick? Sorry.)

We’re off on holiday next week (hoorah!) and while we’re away, the hubbie and I are going to talk (drink French wine) through the launch party for my book (just the phrase launch party makes me want to run around screaming) and finalise marketing things for it (plus synching it with the Kindle version – not quite happened yet, dear Amazon…) Who knew all this would happen? Who knew I’d make great friends with lovely Twitter and blog people along the way who are always 100% supportive (like Make Shift Mummy and Citizen of Ville Joie)? And I’m pushing 40! With some (lots) eye wrinkles!

So if someone said to me do you want your life back, I’d say, nah, you’re alright, I’ve already got one, thanks. Yup, our lives now may not be the ones we had mapped out for ourselves or had lived 20 odd years or so back, but do you know what? They’re pretty okay, actually. So, if you were asked the same question – do you want your old life back – what would your answer be?

Links: Nibley Music Festival

To get The Boy Who Played Guitar in paperback (only if you want to…), here are the links: UK Amazon   USA Amazon Europe search link    PS A bit cheeky of me, but if you do kindly read it, could you stick a review on Amazon or your blog? Enormous thanks!

Out on Thursday “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest newspaper column to my blog. This week it’s all about equality and how women should be Bishops…**