festivals

WATCH: Not Sure Which Festival To Head To This Summer? This Should Help You Decide…

The festivals 2015 line-up is so amazing it makes choosing the right festival all the more difficult. That's why we asked the coolest ladies from our five favourite British festivals to help you decide...

Forget the tabloid-grabbing headliners, the next big hipster things or the cool new way to do glamping; the real stars of the British festival season are the women behind-the-scenes. From the lady behind Latitude’s luminous line-up to the girl who keeps Jamie Oliver in check, it’s time to meet the unsung heroes from festivals 2015 – and decide which festival is right for you.

Event Producer Georgie March, 24, has worked on the Creative Content Team at Secret Garden Party for three years.

This year, she’s introducing ‘mermaid’ swimming’ at the lake, after sourcing some swimable mermaid tails. ‘The theme is “Childish Things”,’ she explains. ‘And my friend is finding us 1980s wedding dresses so we can dress like Madonna in ‘Like A Virgin’. Every child imagines their wedding, don’t they? Although I’m not sure how practical that will be…’

Festival pick-me-up? ‘Cover the bags under your eyes with gold or silver glitter. It’s a permanent feature throughout my weekend because I’m usually very tired!’

Secret Garden Party comes to Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire, 23-26 July. www.secretgardenparty.com

Natasha Haddad, 33, is responsible for booking all the music acts at Latitude festival. She’s previously worked at Wilderness, Lovebox and The Great Escape.

Four stages, 35,000 people; there’s clearly a lot more to Natasha’s role than just booking her favourite bands, although, happily, she admits that is the perk of the job (The Maccabees in 2013 being her highlight, Modest Mouse and Nick Cave are on her wish list.) Everything from traffic delays to thunderstorms comes under her job description. ‘We were on red alert to shut down the festival during Damon Albarn’s set (in 2014) and he wasn’t even aware of it – the storm was just happening behind him!’

Festival must-have? ‘Earplugs. I’ll be back in my caravan by half 12am. It’s so bad! But I do genuinely try and see every act, so after the last stage has closed, it’s like, “ok, bedtime”.’

Latitude comes to Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk, 16-19 July. www.latitudefestival.com.

Jen Noble, 31, has been the Event Organiser for Jamie Oliver and Alex James’ The Big Feastival since it launched in 2012.

Having previously worked on London’s Camden Crawl festival in Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty’s day, Jen is used to having a hands-on approach – and with these boys, it pays off. ‘They’re both so creative and passionate, it’s surprisingly easy,’ she shrugs. ‘And I think once you’ve pushed and pulled them into doing fashion shoots, made sure they’re on stage at the right time or got them out of bed in the morning, you’ve kind crossed that line!’

Festival fixer? ‘Lucas Papaw Ointment for my skin. But to be honest I rely more on a good pair of sunglasses. Even if it’s not sunny, there’s always an early enough start to merit a pair of sunglasses. And a good hat for bad hair situations.’

The Big Feastival comes to Alex James’ farm in Kingham, The Cotswolds, 28-30 August.

Grace Craigan, 30, is the festival co-ordinator for Cornwall’s uber creative Port Eliot Festival.

‘I’ve just been thinking, “I really fancy a midnight stargaze. I think I’ll look for a local astronomy group who can take people to go and stare at the stars.’ Festival co-ordinators don’t get more creative, or passionate, than Port Eliot’s Grace. Five years ago, she was working in a restaurant, now she’s programming a whole weekend of workshops, from knicker-making to curing meat, and if she has her way, telescopes will quite possibly be added to the agenda. Oh, and did we mention her and her band, Matthew & Me are on the music bill alongside Marika Hackman and The Unthanks?

Festival style saviour? ‘If I’m feeling frumpy or weather-beaten, we have an incredible wardrobe department that does makeovers and attracts names like Piers Atkinson and Louise Gray. But I’ll layer up crazy patterns all year around. People are always like, “does she think she’s at a festival?”

Port Eliot Festival comes to St Germans, Cornwall 30 July to 2 August

Sinead Mills, 28, and Sarah Richardson, 30, set up their PR company, Bleached Communications two years ago and handle the press for the Green Man festival.

In a landscape where female headliners are few and far between it’s super exciting that St Vincent (AKA Annie Clark and Cara D’s rumoured other half) is top of the bill alongside Hot Chip and Super Furry Animals.

‘It’s an ongoing debate which came to a head when Reading and Leeds emphasised how few female headliners there are,’ says Sinead. Adds Sarah: ‘I do think it’s changing, like the music scene in general. There’s loads of interesting women coming through now like Courtney Barnett and Kate Tempest.’

Festival hangover cure? ‘Ginger. Last year I ate it raw, chopped up and that rejuvenated me every single morning. The powers of ginger are incredible.’

The Green Man comes to Brecon Beacons, Wales 20-23 August.

See the full feature in the July issue of Marie Claire, out now.

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