Image credit: India Fleming
The Band (Early Years)
I spent a large portion of my formative years touring the world with Warner-signed, alt-indie band Coasts. Having played prestigious events such as Coachella, Glastonbury and Reading and with a top 20 album and a live-lounge performance under our belts the band split in October 2018 and I moved into the world of event management, promotions and festivals..
I started getting into booking shows by throwing DIY events in the crypt of a church on the southside of Bristol. It was a great time to be a creative in the city, we had the guys from Crack mag come down and our first event was just a shameless way of promoting my own band (Coasts) and featured a little known punk band called Idles. We had local artists projecting work onto the walls and sold cans of red-stripe over a fold-out table. The energy was great and although it all got shut down pretty quickly, my love for presenting rogue, DIY events with eclectic line-ups had been born. Fast-forward 10 years and 6 or 7 world tours with Coasts, and I returned to the city of my birth, home to Alan Partridge; Norwich, and began managing the bookings for a new independent venue in the city centre (Voodoo Daddy's Showroom). We built a booking infrastructure, installed audio gear and staging and started throwing the most exciting, eclectic shows in the city... It's been a fun journey.
Image 1: Wild Paths Festival featuring Laura Misch
Image 2: Wild Paths Festival featuring Jose Gonzales
Wild Paths was conceived over a regular pub session with a handful of venue-directors and promoters. We'd meet at The Playhouse to discuss the local scene, bookings and bands we were excited about and generally plot a creative transformation in the city. In 2019 it was clear there was a hunger for a platform to present the wealth of emergent regional talent and unite the city in a multi-venue, multi-genre celebration. So with a good dollop of diplomacy and the support of some good friends Wild Paths Festival made its maiden voyage in October of that year. Featuring 23 venues, showcasing over 230 acts and presenting 2 days of industry events and conferences Wild Paths has always aimed to elevate the status of the city and it's creative community. The festival and the WP team provide a stage for some of the most exciting new artists, whilst challenging outdated attitudes in the industry and educating a few aspiring young artists along the way.
Norwich is where I was born and raised and so I think my passion to champion all the amazing local talent that resides here has a lot to do with that, but there's also just a huge amount of really unique and daring young bands creating distinctive music that needs to be heard. There's a nice network of musicians in the city and a lot of them play in each other's bands, which helps to create this sort of clique and sound that is distinctly Norwich-sounding.
A Festival In a Pandemic...
Wild Fields (our new sister festival) was the result of the WP teams insatiable hunger to achieve some sort of musical celebration amidst the fairly beige backdrop of 2020. It was pulled together during a 6 week reprieve to the stringent lockdown regulations and featured 3 stages, around 40 acts and 320 socially-distanced pods spread across a tree-lined showground. It was an opportunistic, rogue endeavour and entirely unprecedented but the team (and our partners at Summertime Social) pulled it off and the festival received some amazing coverage from the likes of NME, DIY and regional TV channels.
We actually found that a number of the more mature attendees said they really enjoyed having their own cordoned off P.O.D. ('personalised dancing space'). They really appreciated the extra space and safety from drunk revellers threatening to spill warm beer on their legs.
Wild Paths are looking forward to presenting The VV Experience at the Gentlemans Walk Stage on Sunday 15th August as part of the Head Out Not Home live music series