The first time British festival brand Global Gathering put on live acts for their two-day UK-based event, in 2005, they hired the Happy Mondays. “The band weren’t due to play until 11pm but Shaun Ryder and the rest of them arrived at 9am when the crew were loading in,” remembers James Aldgate, CEO for the Angel Group who put on the Global Gathering events.
“As soon as they got on site they asked for their drinks rider and they’d done the lot by 10.30am. Needless to say it was a bit mental but they performed okay in the end. It made for an interesting day though.”
There’s been a smorgasbord of solid gold moments in the nine-year history of Global Gathering, the annual festival held in Stratford-Upon-Avon every summer and born out of the union of the pair behind Birmingham nightclub Code (James and Neil Moffat) and the promoters of its flagship club-night Godskitchen.
Now, nearly a decade since the first ever Global Gathering, the festival happens worldwide, with around 40 festivals taking place across eight different countries every year.
The UK event is still the biggest with over 50,000 people attending across the two days. The secret to their success, says Aldgate, is that him and his team behind the event always look to get feedback from the people who come to their events; basically you lot.
“We do ask for feedback and we listen and respond, making sure we fine-tune everything for the next event,” says 34-year-old James.
“That goes for everything from suggestions about better entry queuing organization and camping facilities to who people would like to see playing live and DJing at the events.”
One thing you definitely can’t argue about when it comes to Global Gathering is the quality of the artist line-ups. “I think our biggest moment was in 2006 when we got Daft Punk to play,” says James, who gave up DJing a couple of years ago to focus on the Global Gathering brand. “They hadn’t performed in the UK for ten years and we had around 18,000 people under canvas watching the show. It was amazing.”
According to Aldgate, this year’s event — set for the 29th - 30th July — will pack just as many punches as previous years. “There’s so many festivals out there now and only the fittest survive so we’re always keeping ourselves on our toes,” says James. “We’ve got some big names planned for this year’s UK event, so roll on summer.”
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