Gottwood Festival 2015: An Interview with the Arts Director

Gottwood is a 4 day intimate, interactive arts and music festival taking place on 11th -14th June in Wales. A carefully selected lineup of the finest electronic music talent around is underway, including regular veterans such as Craig Richards, Ben UFO, and Move D, amongst others. You really can’t begin to talk about Gottwood without mentioning its gorgeous location. Nestled deep in the Carreglwyd Forest in the Isle of Anglesey, off the northwest coast of Wales, Gottwood is probably the most beautiful festival in the UK, with a very beautiful landscape, Welsh woodlands, and a beach a few minutes away. The area has even been described by Lonely Planet as the ‘Greatest Region On The Earth 2012’.

It’s in the 6th year, but nothing has changed for Gottwood. It’s still a small festival with no corporate overtones (or undertones [or anything]), balanced arts, culture, music, and happy faces all over. The lineup includes Seven Davis Jr., Midland, FaltyDL, Zip, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Move D, Leon Vynehall and a rare b2b from Craig Richards and Ben UFO.

Full line up can be seen in the image below:

Gottwood bizarre culture review preview


Gottwood takes pride in being an independent, boutique, free spirited, and very intimate arts and music festival. Arts plays a big role in defining this festival and we spoke to the arts director of Gottwood about the aesthetic theme for the festival.

Please give us a quick overview of your role at the Gottwood Festival.

I help the Gottwood team manage the art related content that appears at the festival and then get involved with the site build and actually make it all happen!


You have a very cool job! How did you get involved with Gottwood and Art Direction? 

Thanks! I helped out for the last 2 or 3 years and as the guys who run the festival took on more responsibility I asked if there was a role there for me to help on a more permanent basis and there was!


What does your ideal festival setup look like?

50,000 people in a beautiful urban arena surrounded by fairgrounds and corporate adverts listening to the latest Hot Creations signing that totally beats a 5k capacity festival as far away as you can get from civilization hidden in the middle of a forest ; )


How do you go about deciding on an aesthetic theme for the festival?

Tom and Digby, who own the festival, steer us on this. They like to be very involved in the design aspects and we go from there. This year we have moved away from an overall theme to separate themes for each stage – I couldn’t possibly give any more away!

 Bizarre  culture gottwood festival

Please tell us about two of Gottwood’s art pieces – one past and one future. Explain how and why they stand out for you. 

The Gottwood caravan has become very iconic. The guys who own the festival took it upon themselves to find a caravan  (we have never been told where it came from) and turn it into a DJ booth themselves. When it arrived on site everyone was slightly dubious but when the illustration started happening every realized how amazing it was!

This year we have some amazing laser installations to showcase and also some new tree houses… we can’t wait to start building!


What does festival art mean to you?

It has to be different, it has to be original, and it has to evoke a feeling when people interact with it. People aren’t there to study art like they are at an art gallery so it has to really grab you.

On the other hand, at a festival you have the added benefit of people being in a more open minded state of mind (?!?!?!) – you can get people to do things they wouldn’t usually do, like touch, feel, or take part in an installation.


In what ways do you seek to impact or inspire people?

Gottwood’s mission statement is to take people back to their childhood memories, no social media, no technology – just having fun outdoors with some surreal things going on around you.

 Bizarre  culture gottwood festival

What are your greatest challenges as an arts director for Gottwood festival?

Making sure that what you select actually turns into what you had in mind. You are always working with people you haven’t met before and sometimes it does fall to pieces. Most of the time, though, it works well. The other thing with a festival of this size is working to a very tight budget – it’s not always easy!


What musical artists are you looking forward to and why?

Zip, Zip, Zip, Zip, Zip

 Bizarre  culture gottwood festival

What is your favourite Gottwood moment so far?

Being in a sinking boat in the middle of the lake trying to float the big ‘Number 5’ installation from last year! Very amusing, kind of!


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