… March, April & May: PopFest Preview: Birmingham PopFest


How many interviews have you read with bands you love? Now, think back: How often do you read an interview with someone involved behind the scenes? Summer is quickly approaching and with it comes various festivals and weekenders, each organized by people who want to share their love for indiepop with the rest of us. Some of these festivals are brand new, 2014 being their first year in existence. Others have been ongoing traditions for fans spanning several years.

At its very beginning, February Records promoted DIY pop shows and was responsible for setting up three years of the Elm City Popfest, which sadly is no longer in existence. We have an idea about what these festivals entail and we thought the people organizing these events not only deserved to discuss them outside of their own self-promotion, but could also shed a light on what they have personally experienced.

So, we reached out to everyone we could possibly think of that was involved with organizing an event in 2014: Wales Goes Pop, the Popfests in Madrid, Berlin, Copenhagen, San Francisco, Birmingham, Baltimore, and New York City, Indietracks, Indiefjord, the All-dayers or Weekenders such as those coming from Oddbox, Nottingham, and Light it Up, even the indiepop showcase at SXSW.

Who knows? Perhaps they’ll inspire you to start organizing something, too.

Birmingham, which has the second-largest population in England, seems like an ideal location for one of these brand new festivals. Birmingham Popfest, which will take place April 25-27 at The Actress and Bishop, highlights 14 bands from France, Sweden, and the UK.

One of the organizers involved in bringing Birmingham Popfest to you this year, Gavin Priest, answered a few questions for us.

1. Can you give us a history of Birmingham Popfest (dates, organizers involved, etc.)? How and why did you come to be involved? Why did you choose to set up this event?

Its a new Indie Pop festival running from April 25th to April 27th in Birmingham, UK. It’s based on similar Indie pop events that run all over the world. We are passionate music fans, we love indiepop and thought why not give it a go. A great excuse to see some of our favourite bands in our hometown!

2. What is the process of choosing bands like? Do you contact them or do they have to request to play? Are there any rules as to who can or cannot play?
No we don’t have any rules, just that the bands/artists have an indie pop feel. We have been inundated with bands wanting to play, (we reply to them all by the way!) but we would really hate to set up an application process, I can’t understand how that works. Our bill is a mixture of bands we have met whilst playing in our own band The Proctors at other popfests, and groups we weren’t aware of who have come highly recommended to us by people with great taste! The bands are positioned on the bill by merit (popularity, releases etc)

3. What has experience taught you when it comes to organizing Birmingham Popfest?
Go with the flow, and stay loose 🙂

4. When does organization start? Is there a timeline you follow? How soon after the festival ends do you begin to plan the next one? Or, if this is the first of such event, when will you start planning for next year?

There is no timeline, we are pretty disorganised, but the love of the music will see us through. Next year if it happens is dependent upon what happens this year! As things stand we have a strong feeling this will happen again though 🙂

5. Do you have any inside tips for festival goers?
Go with the flow, and stay loose 🙂

6. What are some of the best and worst moments of any Popfest that you can remember?
Probably one band having the plug pulled on them at a popfest I attended. Going to make sure that won’t happen here! 🙂 Great highlights have been playing at Madrid, Berlin and New York Popfests!

Thank you, Gavin!
If you’re interested in attending, it’s not too late! Visit the Birmingham Popfest website for more information regarding the line-up and purchasing tickets.

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