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A chat with Rob da Bank

The Bestival boss on judging the Trident Perpetual Festival and life as a festival promoter

With a Radio One show, club night and label, Sunday Best, and festivals Camp Bestival and Bestival (three times winner of the Best Medium Festival at the UK Festival Awards) to his name, Rob da Bank knows a thing of two about having a good time to music. So who better to be a judge on the Trident Perpetual Festival competition which will see one lucky winner jetting off to 30 festivals over 30 weeks this summer?

As an out and out festival lover, how much would you like the Trident Perpetual Festival prize for yourself?
I was looking at it a minute ago thinking that’s a tasty prize. Sponsored competitions are often a bit naff but I don’t think anyone who likes music could turn their nose up at this. If I was a bit younger I’d be out there myself! I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to get at least one or two of the new European festivals and some of the UK ones I haven’t been too. There’s still shed loads I haven’t managed to make it to. There 420 or 450 in the UK itself so it would take you a year. It’s like one of those crazy game shows.

What qualities will you look for in the final ten?
I think they’ve got to be fairly hardcore! You can’t be namby-pamby complaining after you get off your third flight. You also need to be able to keep the lid on it a bit when you’re there. Travelling is one thing, then you get there and have fun and you’re suffering on the flight home and you have to do it the next weekend. So the key is pacing your self, doing everything in moderation and being the staunch, non-complaining type.

Are there any plans to follow your book ‘Rob da Bank's A-Z of Festivals: My Life of Mud, Music & Mayhem in 26 Letters’?
We wrote that two years ago and already there are a load more festivals we could add, both in the UK and internationally. There aren’t any plans for another book at the moment. It was a bit of fun and it was chance to show off Jose’s artwork.

Is being a family man what led to you starting Camp Bestival? And how do you find the energy to run it and Bestival?
It’s a selfish thing to set up a festival for own kids but that was the kind of reasoning for Camp Bestival! It’s worked because the last two years we’ve been with our kids and able to relax. At Bestival it’s always a bit too racy. Luckily a lot of other parents have felt the same. We took a risk with an already over-saturated market but we proved there was a gap for a family show.

It does have its challenges but I get to work from home so I don’t have to go into an office. I can’t complain, I have the best job in the world apart from this festival job! Sometimes it does get a bit stressful but then I think of all the crappier jobs I could be doing and I never really feel sorry for myself!

What’s new for Bestival this year?
We’ve got a firework spectacular to go with the fantasy theme – its going to be a fantastic extravaganza if you excuse the pun. Then we’ve got a whole new area where the band stand is called Tomorrow’s World. That’s all about the future and green stuff. Its how the world could look tomorrow and how festivals of the future could be. There’ll be buildings made out of grass, recycling and just a really strong eco message going out. We’ve got Silent Disco which we’ve never had at Bestival before. The Afterburner stage is doubling in size and incorporating a live element which we’re really chuffed about and then a shed-load of new artists we’ve never had before. I’m very excited about seeing Rolf Harris! That’s obviously the jokier end of the bill but then I’m chuffed to have LCD Soundsystem, The XX, Dizzee Rascal, Hot Chip, The Flaming Lips and Chase and Status. We always have a balance of old and new with some strong electronic stuff.

For a chance to win free festival tickets weekly from 15th April visit Trident Perpetual Festival.