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As one of the leading lights in the UK’s booming festival scene, having bagged ‘Best Grassroots Festival’ at the UK Festival Awards and ‘Best Festival’ at the Association of Independent Music Awards, GIGsoup were stoked to be invited down to LeeFest to see just how this small, rebellious festival has managed to build such a name for itself through music, the arts and of course, partying….
Having huge names such as Jake Bugg, Kate Tempest, Wild Beasts, and Mr Scruff already playing to the crowd at the ‘Neverland’ and its themed three kingdoms, The Neverwoods, Skull Ridge and Mermaid’s Lagoon, GIGsoup arrived on the Saturday to a festival with such a tangible atmosphere, ready for a day full of big names and exciting new acts.
We were lucky enough to grab a quick word with the magical mind behind all of the madness at LeeFest with the lovely, errrr Lee, Lee Denny…..
Donning a military hussar’s jacket, gold hi-tops and a more than majestic collar of fluorescent feathers, Lee’s humble and welcoming reception of us was far from the rock ‘n’ roll exuberance of his “Lost Boys” inspired outfit. Here is how the chat went…
GIGsoup ‘Lee, it’s an absolute pleasure to meet you, thanks so much for having us come down. We cannot believe how carefully planned and well thought-out this festival is, that you yourself dreamt up!”
Lee ‘Hi guys! Great to have you here, thanks a lot for coming along! Believe me, a lot of hard work has gone in to this!’
GS ‘It has been a massive summer of UK festivals – perhaps the biggest yet. How, as a festival organiser, do you go about competing with other festivals?’
Lee ‘Well, we’re lucky enough to be in our 11th year of existence now. We have a lot of the same people coming back each year and that’s what its all about. Once you build that reputation and people have fun, then they will come back and tell others to come with them’
GS ‘And in terms of securing acts to come and play….there are some impressive names on the line-up this year, how do you get these names when there are so many other festivals?’
Lee ‘I think every festival is kind of courteous and wary of what one another is up to. Obviously, the competition is there and there ca be a bit of a scramble for names but you also keep in mind what other festivals may be after’
GS ‘It’s a jungle out there! So, as you said, your 11th year bringing us LeeFest now. Where do you see, or where would you ideally like Lee Fest to go in the future?’
Lee ‘I think we thrive off of that small festival vibe, so I would never want it to get too big. I think a crowd near 10,000 would be ideal. It is hard for festivals in terms of funding so you have to find the right balance between the size of the festival and the bands you get to play, so money plays a big part!’
GS ‘We will definitely stay tuned for what goes on in the future…We guess you’ve had a pretty hectic run-up to the festival and during it. What’s next for yourself, Lee?’
Lee ‘Yeah – it’s pretty full on! The last couple of days have been crazy, although today I’ve been able to relax more and have some fun, so it’s all good! After the festival- its back to the office to sort out post-festival stuff, then I think off to Ibiza!’
GS ‘Ibiza?! Not much of a break then?!’
Lee ‘[laughs] I know- not really! At least there will be sun!’
Later, GigSoup delved in to some of the acts on hand….here are the picks of the day:
Silky Indie Pop tunes at their finest. The Brighton outfit danced and the Lee Fest crowd bopped in appreciation as the sun came down on a brilliant day. New songs Glue and Cry Baby went down better than the beer on tap, and their biggest song Swim rounded off a set from a band that seem to come into their own when playing live. If you’re a fan of this outfit already – the love will grow even more if you seem them onstage – check them out this Autumn on their upcoming tour. The Glue EP lands 15th August.
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Slaves have been to more festivals than GIGsoup have this summer. The punk duo have been on almost every bill in sight, and they have shaken crowds up with their raw attitude and rough charisma. Lead singer Isaac Holman, whilst saluting his home county, “the beautiful garden of England”, he told the crowd of the difficulties of assembling the band, when he eventually realised just he and guitarist Laurie Vincent would work out fine. When people criticised his drumming style and the kit he was using, he would bang it even harder and carry on storming to stardom…..a crowd pleasing and vicious song that screamed “fuck the high-hat!” soon played out after. Slaves may not be the band to play at family dinner time, but they are 100% perfect for a mosh and a big “up yours” to the boring things in life.
Some US dates and a tour of Europe is up next for these boys.