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Geoff Oakes interview

We met Geoff Oakes of <a href="http://www.renaissanceuk.com/index_ok.php">Renaissance</a> to discuss his latest venture - the boutique festival Wild In the Country, taking place on Saturday 30th June - and Renaissance celebrating their 15th birthday in 2007...

How does it feel to have made it to 15 years of Renaissance?

"It doesn't seem like 15 years and it's gone really quickly! Upon reflection there have been some incredible times, but I wanted Wild in the Country to be about looking forward rather than back, which I hope is reflected in the line-up."

You've secured a particularly strong line-up for Wild In the Country. Who are some your personal highlights that you're looking forward to?

"Because of the boutique nature of the event we had no space for 'filler' acts, so pretty much everyone is a must-see. I'm really looking forward to hearing Ricardo Villalobos close the Wild arena. Underworld will probably be debuting new material for the first time in the U.K., so that's a bit of an exclusive to look forward to. But, to be honest, Hot Chip, Francois K, Sasha and Digweed, Tiga, 2 Many DJs, Tiefschwarz, Eric Prydz, Matthew Jonson, Erol Alkan and Luciano are all on my radar, so I'm going to be rushing around trying to catch a bit of everyone. We have the same sound system suppliers who did the Radio 1 big weekend in Preston, which Pete Tong declared to be the best system he'd ever played on, so we're definitely going to hear everyone at their best."

What can you tell me about the location of Wild In the Country?

"Logistically it's a perfect location - 30 miles from central London with direct trains running from Kings Cross every half hour to Stevenage, which is just two miles from Knebworth, and we have shuttle buses from Luton and Stevenage rail stations. The venue itself has such a presence, with a prestigious history of staging landmark music events (Queen, Oasis, Robbie Williams, Pink Floyd), and it forms a stunning backdrop to the event. We've gone to great lengths to make Wild in the Country a really bespoke festival experience where every detail has been thought through to create a boutique feel, and the location just seals the deal."

What's next for Renaissance?

"The label is really strong at the moment, with an exciting release schedule ahead for singles and compilations. On average, we also stage approximately 150 events per year worldwide, and we have the now compulsory seven dates at Pacha, Ibiza this summer and will soon be announcing our new London home to replace The Cross at the end of the year. Wild in the Country is now an annual event in the U.K. and two European 'Wild' festivals are already in discussion for next year. Looking further ahead I hope that Renaissance will continue to be seen as a highly respected music brand worldwide for years to come. Then I can open a chain of Renaissance sandwich bars and retire a happy man!"