With Beyond the Valley so close we can almost taste it, it’s becoming high time to start planning outfits, checking if your tent still has poles and stocking up on all the goods you’ll need to make the most of the killer festival.
If you’re somehow still on the fence about scoring yourself a ticket, let this be your decider. With just two weeks on the calendar until the festival kicks off, we sat down with three of the legends responsible for making Beyond the Valley happen; Nick Marson the head of production, George Hatzigeorgiou of Riot House on the publicity and Nick Greco, the festival director.
A lot more goes into organising a festival than you think. How do we know? We asked the fellas responsible for making Beyond the Valley happen.
HAPPY: What was your favourite festival before you started working on BTV?
NICK G: Definitely Meredith/Golden Plains, the location, the vibe, the lineup, the amenities – always perfect. I’m actually going this weekend for about the sixth time I think!
NICK M: The Big Day Out was definitely my favourite festival. I was involved with it right from day one so was great to help to build it from a small one city festival into the mammoth juggernaut that it became.
GEORGE: I guess it’s going back a bit now, but my favourite festival always used to be Big Day Out. Apart from the myriad of amazing acts that I got to see over the years, working in the industry meant it was always a great chance catch up with peers and colleagues. Once any media commitments for the acts were completed you could let your hair down (I still had hair then), and really enjoy yourself. BDO definitely put bills together that covered a wide genre pool, you could always find something you really wanted to see. Honourable mention definitely has to go to Meredith, they have the vibe factor totally nailed, it’s pretty much impossible not to have a good time at Meredith, impossible!
HAPPY: How did those experiences shape your festival vision?
NICK G: I think having strong amenities as the focus is something we’ve worked on to emulate for our vision, we always have the punter in mind with everything we do. We have always aimed to be very experienced focused and that’s something that has come through very strongly this year with all the additions we have on site such as our interactive art structures or our inflatable wedding chapel.
GEORGE: Well, when it comes to my function at Beyond the Valley, which is looking after publicity, BDO was a great example of how to make sure a festival has great visibility in the media marketplace, and how important that is when building a brand. It was also a great example of how to look after media on site, we endeavour to follow that example to make it as easy, and as fun as possible for our media contributors , their experience is the one you’ll read about, so we want that to be positive!
HAPPY: With a brand new festival being announced every month in Australia, how does BTV stay ahead of the game?
NICK G: For us it’s about staying true to our vision and ensuring the punter experience is always a focal point. BTV has it’s feet firmly in the festival scene and the time of year we’re placed in means there always a large array of artists wanting to play for us so we’re able to stay ahead of the pack with our lineup too.
GEORGE: I think Beyond The Valley remains relevant by listening to what its punters want. The boys are very tuned to the comments on their social media, whether it’s criticism or praise, they take everything on board. There is no way to stay more on point than to give your audience everything they want. Along with that I think the heavy dance focus on the line-ups help differentiate it from its peers, not to mention the mega lux camping options.
HAPPY: Is there anything that goes on behind the scenes that would surprise the punters?
NICK M: I think the punters would be amazed at the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to get this or any festival to happen. There are various teams working on all different aspects of the event, some start on next year’s event before this one has even happened.
NICK G: I think for anyone who hasn’t put on a festival before there is heaps that would surprise them, when we first started every day something we hadn’t expected popped up.
GEORGE: I think the amount of work and planning that goes into a festival might surprise a few people. On all levels, there are so many moving parts, work pretty much starts as soon as the last one is over, it doesn’t stop!
HAPPY: Any surprises you’re still waiting to unveil?
NICK G: Always! We actually have a surprise international guest playing for us on Dec 28 on our Central Park stage. The 28th is our ‘early settlers’ day which has a fun community vibe and we thought we’d throw in a huge lineup surprise as a little treat.
NICK M: This year there are lots of surprises in store for the punters. I don’t want to say too much because we definitely want to keep the element of surprise but we have significantly increased all aspects of the production this year. Wait until you see the stages – all three are amazing.
GEORGE: Apart from the new site improvements and additions, when it comes to BTV there are always surprises! Last year it was Daryl Braithwaite singing Horses with Client Liaison, who knows what this year has in store!
HAPPY: How are you going to change the formula up for next year?
NICK M: The lineup is my baby, and we have some huge lineup plans that will bring BTV into an exciting direction for 2017! Pretty close on our headliner for next year and it’s definitely going to turn a few heads.