What a decade its been for the Audio Farm collective On the eve of this year’s festival – which will be the last for a while – The Mumble managed a wee blether with one of the directors…
Hello Ste, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Ste: North Wales, Audio Farm Crew originate from North Wales
Where, when & how did the idea for Audio Farm originate?
Ste: Manchester in 2008. The 6 founding members who are all still directors moved to Manchester with 15 others from N Wales in the Summer of 2008. We met the rest of our crew and started talking about putting on a club event that different to the rest. A fun, non corporate event with good ethics and lots or decor and fun. Audio Farm was born and first event was Jan 2009.
How, when & why did you get involved?
Ste: For the love of music.
Who are the beneficiaries of the charity funds you guys generate?
Green Paw Project.
Ste: Audio Farm Festival 2018 is a Non Profit, non-corporate, fundraising roots festival in which all profits go towards UK registered charity, Green Paw Project (UK Charity Registration Number 1166316). 100% of the shares of One Tribe Festival Ltd are owned by Green Paw Project, therefore the directors and organisers receive no profits. As we are a non-profit fundraising charity event, all ticket money income has no Vat implications, meaning 100% of ticket money goes towards the running of the event with all remaining profits going to Green Paw Project. For more information on Green Paw Project and how the money raised for this this festival and all past and future events and festival visit www.greenpawproject.org.
How different is the vibe at Audio Farm on all levels, compared to that of a corporate festival?
Ste: Very different. We have wonderful varied crowd of all ages. From babies to the old ravers. Our event is about putting on a top show, with quality world music, high end production, vegan food, lots of healing and workshops. The objective is to plant seeds of positive change. Whilst also making money for charity. We are stand against the rising corporation of festivals that is ruining the industry by buying festivals out, making them soulless, herding people in like sheep and making the top cats rich. Exactly the opposite of what festivals should. We are a roots festival with its original ethics.
How is the festival’s working relationship with Worcestershire County Council?
Ste: Shropshire County Council. Yes all good there. No issue at all.
Is Audio Farm child friendly / dog-friendly / disabl’d-friendly, etc?
Ste: Yes it is. Audio Farm is a reminder that we’re one big family on this planet, so it’s important that there’s exciting, interesting and fun things to do and see for all members of any family. The Kids Area is open from 7am until 7pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The area is a special little enclave for our junior festival goers with a bumper selection of fun workshops, circus classes, games, activities, shows, face painting, environmentally friendly glitter painting, slacklines, actors, clowns and even children’s yoga and children’s trance dances. Everything especially tailored for the young and enquiring mind.Yes its very accessible for disabled also.
Ste: What does Ste Chesters like to do when he’s not organising kick-ass festivals?
Ste: I would like to include us as collective here, as Audio Farm is about a core crew and 7 directors. Not just myself. We spend our time (obviuosly) going to festivals, building other festivals, putting on wellbeing events and also work hard towards the goal of Green Paw Projects Mission Malawi. (For more info https://www.onetribefestival.org/greenpawproject/). We are also big travellers too. We are all very lucky to have each other as a collective of friends. Audio Farm is all about the collective. “You are are only as good as the team around you”.
How has the festival evolved over the past decade or so?
Ste: Our ethics and ideas have always been the same since the first festival in 2013. We have just grown from 300 to 1500 people with bigger production, bigger artists, more family friendly, more emphasis on positive change and healing, and we are now a fully vegan festival which we were originally vegetarian festival.
How do you decide upon the acts?
Ste: Between us a collective. We aim to mix the legends with the new across many generas of music. Also we book some of the best energetic festival bands around, and aim to showcase bands from Europe like Olive Tree Dance.
What have you guys got for us this year?
Ste: A new concept with the focus being on the celebration of of the sun in a beautiful new site. Magic will happen!
To someone who has never been to Audio Farm, what have they got to expect?
Ste: Audio Farm Festival reopens the gates in 2018 under the original alias, keeping to its evolving nomadic roots at a new site, whilst One Tribe Festival takes a fallow year. 2017 saw One Tribe Festival blossom like a magical flower from its Audio Farm tree, from a seed that was planted at the first festival in 2013. So from the crew that brought you One Tribe, expect more of the same magic, music, people, energy, love, laughter and beauty, but in a more intimate space at Audio Farm Festival 2018. The journey continues in a new and exciting venue at Shropshire’s Hopton Court. Nestled in the heart of breathtaking borderland countryside, the watercolour beauty of this Georgian country estate has uniquely stunning parklands, walled gardens, ponds and a beautiful out buildings, where Audio Farm will transform the site into a microcosm of light, sights, sounds and new experiences, etched together into a mesmeric harmony lasting over 4 days. Audio Farm Festivals innovative stages play host to a wealth of hand-picked bands, artists and DJ’s, playing a glittering array of music from all corners of our known universe. From sun kissed House beats on the Sundance Stage and clinical Techno pulses in Home of the Drum, to sporadic breaks and rattling subs in the Depths of Bass, and the psychedelic beats of The Trip. The Mandala Stage and The Nest is a galaxy of eclectic bands, world musicians, vocal acrobats and solo sirens that will take you to places both familiar and new, all interwoven with a rich tapestry of drumming collectives, circus performers and fire dancers, colouring the day and illuminating the night. The Festival is a wealth of experiences, stimulating all the human senses and opening the portals to a world of possibilities in an explosion of imagination. A safe space to expand skill sets with progressive workshops and talks, where talented and knowledgeable healers offer alternative treatments to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul through holistic disciplines, massage, guided meditation, gong baths, yoga and shamanic journeys. Independent throughout, Audio Farm Festival is proudly a non-profit, non-corporate organism that funds the work of The Green Paw Project with its profits. A charity that resolutely works to save and improve the lives of helpless and vulnerable animals in third world countries. So join the tribe again at Audio Farm Festival this summer and create indelible memories where footprints fade.
So this will be the last Audio Farm for a while, what’s the back story ?
Ste: We are undecided where our future lies within the festival industry and will be putting our minds together to work out our direction and where to best place our collective energies. So this could potentially be the last ever Festival that Audio Farm curates. It would therefore be amazing to see all of the Audio Farm family who have been part of the festivals since 2013 to be a part of this one, you have made it what it is today and we’re so grateful for each and every one of you.