An Interview with Adam Curtis

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THE MUMBLE : Hi Adam, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?

ADAM : Hello! I was born in Laurencekirk up in Aberdeenshire, but moved to the Haugh of Urr in Galloway when I was 4 – so mostly Gallovidian but with a soft spot for AFC and big Duncan Shearer! I moved down to the North West of England to help fund my festival organising habit in 2011 and now stay in the shelf above Ramsbottom, also known as Upper Ramsbottom which is of much hilarity to my pals being an Aberdonian an all! Eyeing a move back to the Haugh and Galloway in the next couple of years as I have a wee one on the way (due at Eden Festival as it happens) and you canny beat Galloway life.

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THE MUMBLE : Eden Festival is your baby, are you surprised by its success, or do you feel it as the fulfillment of a vision?

ADAM : Eden started as a zone at the Wickerman 15/16 years ago, but we are still quite a long way off what we want to do with Eden – about half way – so were still battling every year just to keep it alive and keep it traversing to the point we are aiming for. There is an element of developing the design of Eden Festival to match the site – so there are areas we want to incorporate that are very interesting and will help develop the sense of adventure at the event. One way we are going about doing the festival is to hand-build it as a team of voluntary locals, this allows us to allocate a build budget every year for build items that are then there permanently, year on year, meaning we can grow the design of the festival without the festival becoming a hire of the shelf job. Will we ever get there and will we be content when we do – who knows – but its a thrilling ride!

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images.jpgTHE MUMBLE :  Concerning your relationship with the Wicker Man Festival, there was a schism of the ways. There’s no Wickerman this year, do you feel that you are now the flagbearers for the Galloway festival scene?

ADAM : Not really – I’ve never put a relation between size and quality or reputation. I am sad to see Wickerman go as I was the Chairman of the group, Stewartry Music Initiative, that started the festival in 2002, and I hope there is still life in the embers yet… but the Galloway festival scene is great as a patchwork of events that operate independently and stand proudly without a flagbearer. I think its important we stand together on some issues though, now and over the coming years as Police Scotland threatens to stamp out festivals both large and small.

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THE MUMBLE : What does Adam Curtis like to do when he’s not organising kick-ass festivals?

ADAM : As little as possible with as much alcohol as possible! Well that’s not all true – we’ve got a few exciting projects in the pipeline for when I get back to Galloway – we want to start a vintage pub tour, starting and finishing at the brewery in Castle Douglas – to help keep the pubs alive and deliver Galloway ale around Galloway. There is also a new project coming on called Dance Hall Productions, in which we want to deliver ceilidhs and barn dances around Galloways venues. Me and my pals Monk and Big Dave like a wee adventure every 3 or 4 years – we’ve been over Europe a couple of times on our bikes for charity and are now looking to kayak the length of Croatia through its 1000s of islands.

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THE MUMBLE : Last year Eden was at capacity, will you be expanding it to create more spaces?

ADAM : We had been looking to cap the capacity this year at 8000 again but due to soaring agency and operating costs we are forced to increase our capacity this year to 9000 to ensure our survival. Although we had 8000 in attendance last year, only 4000 were paying adults or teens – the rest are Under 12s (800 free) or crew and artists (3200). We are hoping this figure will hit 5000 paying this year. An increase in capacity does come with good news though as this year we are introducing an exciting new arena – The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. This will play host to our biggest stage build yet – The Great Mountain Stage – as well as the Mott n Fiddle Inn, with some river views and Japanese Tea Houses dotted around.

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THE MUMBLE : Also last year, the police were heavy-handed to say the least – has there been any effort made to address that situation for 2017?

ADAM :  We work round the clock, out with our day jobs as much as we can, to address the policing issue that is sweeping Galloway. That comes at a major cost with lawyers, safety officers, advisors, security specialists etc. There is a belief within D&G police that extra police officers means a better well-managed event. As we observed last year it does not and has led to a diminished view of the police presence at the event which was until last year quite harmonious. We are doing everything we can though and hope to get the levels this year back to those previously enjoyed at Eden.

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THE MUMBLE : What are your thought’s on this year’s line-up – who are the stand-out acts for yourself?

ADAM : We have really gone for it this year with the line up and I’m very excited about seeing them (although I never get to!). A bit of a weak at the knees act is Agnes Obel – im a massive fan and she is just breaking through with several platinum selling albums to her name – definitely one to watch for the future. Also its amazing to get acts like Cat Power, 2ManyDJs and Gogol Bordello performing in Dumfries and Galloway and I’m sure Boney M are going to be a funky Sunday headliner on the main stage, after the Colonel has been on with the gang.

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THE MUMBLE :  Can you tell us more about Eden in Croatia

ADAM : We’re due a new project after our 9th year of Eden Festival, as well as 15 years of free parties, Castle Parties, Pickled in the Paddocks and the youth project Varanasi Nights. So we decided to set sail to Croatia! I got in tow with the fella who used to programme Electric Elephant at the Tisno site in Croatia and set about organising a Balearic House style festival with a big slice of Eden Festival in the programming. We are calling Edens new sister festival – The Lost Disco – based on the Lost Disco at Eden Festival which has become our most popular stage.

Held on the 17th – 21st August there will be 4 stages, along with 2 boat parties per day (with dj, dance floor and cocktail bar) over 5 days of partying on the shores of the glimmering Adriatic Sea. Everyone heading out and staying in villa’s in the town only 10mins walk from site or simply staying on site in the campsite and apartments. We’ve also arranged buses to go adventuring over the Alps for those who dont want to fly – were going en mass. There’s enough energy going round about the Croatia party just now to power Scotland and we cant wait to get out there! Check out www.thelostdisco.co.uk for more info (sorry about yon shameless plug right there!)

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