Glasto might be taking a year off, but a whole pack of new festivals are ready to take its place – and heading up the crowd is Dalston’s Land Of Kings, now in its fourth year. Wonderland spoke to its directors, Connie Harrison and Nick Griffiths, about their homegrown festival – which kicks off on Friday – , which has lined up everyone from legendary house producer Maurice Fulton to noise-rock trio Factory Floor.
When and why did you start Land Of Kings?
Connie Harrison: The idea came about in 2008 whist having dinner with my better half in Stone Cave restaurant on Kingsland Road. I was so excited I ran outside and called Nick and said “blah blah blah and I think we should call it Land Of The Kings”. Nick was like “yeah, but maybe drop the ‘the’ – Land Of Kings is better.”
Nick Griffiths: London can be pretty faceless at times. I think people respond to things that have a sense of community and ties disparate scenes and people together, especially in Hackney.
Did you model LOK on any particular festivals?
NG: We inevitably get put in the same bracket as other multi-venue city festivals but I’d like people to see it as more like a camping one, where it’s as much about discovering the random stuff and finding yourself somewhere a bit unexpected as it is about catching the names you know in places you’ve been to before.
CH: I will say that with Land of Kings the ticket price is a fraction of the price and then you can walk home to your own bed after.
So what can a newcomer expect from LOK?
NG: Our crowd want a bit more than the usual night out in Dalston. We try to bring a bit of festival magic to the proceedings with art, film, food bits as well as the staples of music and booze. So you might be checking out bands in The Shacklewell one minute, having a one-to-one performance in a Victorian school hall the next and then checking out a rooftop screening of local short films.
Are there any bands or events you’re desperate to catch?
CH: Classic Album Sundays will be great. Factory Floor. To the Lazer Cave. And most of all, I’d like to have a psychotic episode induced care of “Diet coke is illegal in the Philippines” by Bestcleo.
NG: Tough one but to pick a few: Kwes, Trevor Jackson, Maria Minerva, Night Angles, Bicep, Trophy Wife on a music tip. Plus we’ve got a premiere of Red Bull Music Academy’s” Let us be Golden” which documents life as a struggling musician in London, with a live performance by Eglo Live Band.
Do you have an all-time favourite festival memory?
CH: Cripes. Too many favourites. Amazing birthday moments at Glastonbury as it usually falls on my birthday. Bestival’s first year. Producing Fat Tuesday tent at the Big Chill and attracting a crowd of 7,000 people, causing a health and safety nightmare.
NG: DJing at Secret Garden a few years ago. It was very late and I’d probably had too much to drink but played to a packed (if tiny) tent of about 50 people. I thought it must have been raining outside as water kept dripping on the decks and my head. I soon realized it was communal tent sweat – nice. It didn’t help that I was wearing a bear suit.
Land of Kings takes place on Friday 4- Saturday 5 May. For tickets and info, go to www.landofkings.co.uk
Words: Zing Tsjeng
Photos: BANGBANGPHOTO 2011