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Are you coming to Play Fest?

PUBLISHED: 08:54 27 May 2011

Play Fest

Play Fest

Archant

The popularity of live music festivals continues to grow in Norfolk as thousands of gig-goers are expected to flock to the inaugural Play Fest this weekend to see an impressive line-up that boasts national and local talent. STEPHANIE BROOKS spoke to the organisers.

It boasts a line-up that wouldn’t look out of place on the stages of any music festival this summer.

Yet the inaugural Play Fest, which will attract 2,000 revellers this weekend, was only dreamt up by two Norwich music promoters six months ago.

The two-day event, based in the grounds of New Eccles Hall School at Quidenham, near Attleborough, has an impressive line-up of bands, DJs and performers, including The Futureheads, Darwin Deez, Frank Turner and Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly.

The brains behind the mini-festival, Olly Rigden and Olly Sear (pictured right with Arthur Harris, whose company Airtech is supplying inflatables to Play Fest) are hoping to make the fledgling event an annual staple of the UK’s summer music calendar.

It would further place Norfolk on the radar of live music fans from across the region.

Both organisers, who are also cousins, have backgrounds as promoters on the Norwich music scene, but they were keen to do something on a larger scale. They have put together their extravaganza in just six months.

Olly Rigden, 29, who grew-up in Tacolneston, said: “We’ve put music events on in Norwich and decided at Christmas over a drink how cool it would be to do our own festival. We have a great team on board who have been working really hard and now it’s here.

“I’m nervous, I’m excited. I can’t explain how I feel. It’s surreal for us.”

They said feedback from other festival organisers had been “phenomenal” and reaction from the public had swelled following Play Fest’s initial announcement in February.

Olly Sear, 26, originally from Wymondham, added: “A lot of festivals at the moment around here start off with about 500 people and a few local bands in a field but we thought we’d skip that part and just go for it.

“It’s a massive rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish. We’re on site every day seeing it being built from the ground up. Words cannot describe it.”

Both have already pledged that Play Fest will return again next year.

But Play Fest is not the only event to secure some of the music industry’s big names with King’s Lynn’s Festival Too — one of the largest free festivals in Europe — boasting The Feeling, songstress Sophie Ellis-Bextor and The Hoosiers among its line-up, while the new Norfolk Spectacular will provide fans with award-winning acts such as Tinie Tempah, N-Dubz and Chipmunk, proving the area’s appetite for large-scale music events continues to grow.

While the Latitude Festival returns to Henham Park, Southwold for its sixth year in July, attracting 12,000 people and will host artists such as Paolo Nutini and Suede.

Dion Clements, spokesman for Norfolk Spectacular, which will take place on September 3 and 4 at the Norfolk Showground, said: “I don’t think these festivals have been handled in Norfolk before and I think it’s possibly been, until now, slightly overlooked. It is suitable for these types of events – there are some fantastic arenas and locations.

“I think there is appetite within Norfolk. People are keen to go away for a weekend. Festivals combine hedonism, a bit of getting back to nature and fantastic live music.”

Back at Play Fest, the grounds of Eccles Hall School may look an unlikely venue, but its tree-lined grass field will play host to headliners Frank Turner (Sat) and The Futureheads (Sun) that have national followings.

That’s only half the story though as together with the names there will be dozens of local bands, including Norwich bands Lost Levels, Dumbfoundus, Dirty Tricks, Killamonjambo, Feral Mouth, Empire, The Cads, The Barlights, These Ghosts, We Can’t Dance and many, many more.

There will also be a dance arena featuring Radio 1’s Grooverider, Ray Keith and the always reliable Norwich reggae posse Rebel Lion.

■ Play Fest takes place on may 28/29, tickets £65 for a full weekend ticket or £37.50 for a one day ticket. More details at: www.playfest.co.uk

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