ArcTanGent is the rock festival we didn’t know we needed. Playing math-rock, alt-rock and noise-rock, this niche festival is “delivering line-ups you won’t find anywhere else on Earth.”
Now in its 7th year, the festival has grown in popularity each year, with the 10,000-capacity event expected to be a sell-out this summer.
One-third of the festival owners, Goc O’Callaghan, spoke to us at Event Industry News to reveal what goes into creating and developing such a niche event and how they have almost doubled their sales in just one year.
Goc, along with her co-founders, James Scarlett and Simon Maltas, began working on ArcTanGent in 2011, a full two years before its first edition in 2013.
Keep the “punters” happy
Speaking about the planning process, Goc said, “The festival itself is quite easy. It’s the months of planning, when you’re in the hypothetical stage, that’s the hard part.”
When asked about the sudden boost in sales, Goc admitted she couldn’t pinpoint it to a specific reason: “We had some very positive press last year from some major music publications. We also won Best Small Festival in the UK Festival Awards which most definitely helped. Our headliner, Meshuggah was announced very soon after the festival in 2018 and is a big booking for us. Word-of-mouth also plays a key role in bringing new fans to us.”
Goc, James and Simon designed the festival around audience experience, with the festival needing no “frills” that other live music events have: “As long as the punters are happy and having a good time,” Goc commented, stating that their customers remain at the heart of what they do.
This may well be one of the key factors behind ArcTanGent winning best festival of the year at the UK Festival Awards 2018, which is no mean feat considering everything – from marketing to web design, ticket sales to production – is planned and organised in-house: “I even get stuck in hammering scaffold poles into the ground or helping erect the stages,” Goc laughed.
Citing this as a reason as to why the festival is so popular, Goc explained that audiences can tell the difference between a project that has been made with passion and just another bog-standard event: “To be passionate about something, you need to be involved in every part of it.”
ArcTanGent has, once again, partnered with BOSS to return the 20ft shipping container, complete with a viewing platform, stretch tent and seating area.
The brand activation will host breakfast sessions on Friday and Saturday mornings before allowing fans to test and experiment with a range of BOSS products, such as pedals. Bands will demonstrate the equipment so audiences can gain a better understanding of the products.
Sustainability is also something Goc and the team are incredibly conscious about and have joined the Association of Independent Festivals’ (AIF) pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic by 2021.
Locally-sourced meat, reusable cups and a reed bed filtering system for the toilet waste are also aspects of the festival that will improve its environmental impact. “Everyone also gets four colour-coded rubbish bags upon arrival so they can segregate their waste into recycling,” Goc said.
Not wanting to pull the plug on the festival too early, ArcTanGent hosts a ‘silent disco’ from 11pm-3am, at which fans can carry on dancing and raving to their favourite songs all without upsetting the neighbours. The Thursday night is a Silent Disco with the audience hearing bands perform live through their headphones.
All this, on top of writing a PhD thesis on ‘event concept design for memory creation’ and being vice chair for the AIF, means Goc certainly has her hands full!