April’s Festival Futures conference – hosted by the Association of Independent Festivals – saw Ben Robinson, director of From the Fields, tell delegates that the only way to predict the future is to invent it. The thought was presented to the delegates as Ben showcased the range of events that From the Fields now operates.
Having helped launch Kendal Calling 10 years ago, Ben explained that the first event was not as daunting as some people may have thought.
“The jump from a venue to a tent in a field is not really that big”, said Ben. “The first year saw just the one stage, a bar tent, and some local artists. In 2006 there were 900 people and no camping. We slowly grew it from two days’ worth of outdoor gigs to what people would call a proper festival.”
The steady growth of the festival has seen Ben and the rest of the From the Fields team launch other live events, including the innovative ‘Live from Jodrell Bank’ concert series. This event sees concerts performed in front of the Jodrell Bank observatory, with the production heavily coordinated to reflect the way the site is used to observe deep space.
“The festival market place is very competitive, so being able to stand out and do something different requires a different approach”, said Ben. “The beauty of the independent festival sector is that most of them have been started by people who have a genuine passion for live music events. Over that last five years we’ve evolved to be able to mix creativity with business, which is allowing us to create a sustainable model for our events.”