NHC MUSIC Chats To The Clamjamfry

NHC MUSIC are proud to welcome the minds behind the amazing boutique music and arts festival The Clamjamfry to the website for a chat about what goes into making such an eclectic meeting of music and arts. Remember that there are still some tickets available to purchase as well, this is one homegrown festival you do NOT want to miss....

Hi there folks, good to get you on the website for a chat about the remarkable Clamjamfry festival! I'm surprised you managed to have a chat to be honest, you must be a tad run off your feet! How goes things then, getting excited yet?

Thanks NHC, really good to be included on the NHC website. We're really excited about this years festival. Mad busy with organising licensing, transport, infrastructure and coordinating 25+ acts and everything else that comes along with a large event. We're lucky to have such a dedicated team on board with festival.

I need to ask right away (as I have been asked myself!) where did the name come from?

We had played about with a few names but never found one that quite fit. There used to be a ceilidh held on the festival site, called “The Clamjamfry.” When we looked into the name further, it turns out, a “Clamjamfry is an old Scottish word commonly associated with riotous crowds engaged in seemingly nonsensical activity.”

When we heard this we thought it would be the perfect name for a festival!

With everything going on from cinema, to arts, to Spoken Word, you guys really seem to be cramming as much excellent entertainment as you can into the one festival! Is it harder, would you say, to collate such an assortment of festivities at once, rather than just a music festival? Are you thinking about cramming even more ideas on to the next one? (You may need a bigger spot of land!)

It certainly is, even just deviating from electronic acts, spoken word to live acts can be a bit of challenge. However, we felt it important in the programming of the festival to include the elements of some of the larger festivals but on a more compact scale. We've done this by doubling up stages e.g The Fail Better tent will turn in to the Decades of Dub and Crucial Roots takeover after 10pm. It also helps to be surrounded by so many great promoters both within Glasgow and Ayrshire, all keen to chip in.

We don't think we'd change the festival site as we love it there and have a great relationship with the owners. For next year, we'd like to include more kids activities and workshops into the event and perhaps run the event over 2 days to give us more scope for acts. We'd also like to see some international acts being added to bill. We felt we needed to stop ourselves from including too much! It's a tricky task getting the balance of offering just enough variety and still having a consistent vibe throughout the event. For next year, we'll probably keep a similar capacity. Putting quality acts over however how many people we can fit in.

How long have you been thinking about putting such a festival then? Has this been playing on your mind for some time before you finally thought 'aye, let's do it!'

We've been putting on events for some time. Parties in remote locations, club nights. Not to mention some of our team being involved with the other great Scottish festivals. We've certainly been inspired by some of the other great smaller festivals held a over the last few years including Project A-Frame and Deoch n Dorus to mention a couple. It was probably about a year and a half ago we decided to bite the bullet and started putting the wheels into motion for the event.

The site itself has never really been used for a large outdoor event, but it's perfect for it. Nice big trees, surrounded by a river and enclosed by a hillside. We also felt that Irvine would benefit from an affordable festival like this.

With T in park going down the tubes we also this might be a particularly good time to launch a nice wee festival with a solid line-up offering people a bit of an alternative. Obviously there's people who go to numerous festivals over the summer (ourselves included!). But most people will only go to one or two and and it tends to be the bigger ones. We felt this might be a good time to introduce something new to people who might not be up for paying for a lot of money for a ticket but would still love to attend a festival this summer.

Tickets from only £25 also seems a relatively small price to pay, considering everything that is involved with the festival. Was it always an intention to double up a great looking line up with something that was more affordable than some of the other 'boutique' festivals operating in the UK?

First and foremost we’re a community interest company and really do put community benefit before profits. We offer free pitches to groups like the Glasgow Night Shelter, The Space and CND. We've also introduced heavily reduced kids tickets, which will be free all together next year. And are always open to donating tickets to people who may not be able to attend otherwise. We don't want money to be a barrier to anyone attending. The obvious downside to this is that raising funds can be a financial nightmare but we've been lucky enough to get some great sponsors on board with event, ones who don't necessarily want or need to rebrand the event. We also couldn't have done this without the help of other individuals lending us there expertise.

We want to create an event where people feel like they can bring the kids and bring the dug without it costing a fortune and needing to take the Friday and Monday off work. The festival is laid out in such a way that there's loads of space for camping and in a great location. We want it to feel like a cracking camping trip with some great acts playing a short walk down the road. All the best bits of the bigger established festivals but an a smaller, friendly, affordable scale.

One last question before we see you at the festival itself, who are you most looking forward to seeing?

Samson Sounds have always been a firm festival favourite of mine for the past couple of years. I think there's some great Scottish reggae about at the moment at Samson Sounds are certainly on that list. I'm also really looking forward to some of the acoustic acts particularly Robin Adams, Mike Nesbit and Flew the Arrow.

I'd also recommend that people check out Monkoora on the main stage as her set at the warm-up gig last month was something else. Your never quite sure how things like that will translate into a live set but she's fantastic. Ska legends Esperanza are always brilliant. I'd also quite like to catch The Stumbler's as I hear their set in Eden Festival's Rabbies Tavern back in June was fantastic.

I think I've spent a collective year in the Sub-Club basement so will definitely make time for when Subby favorites Sensu close the Shatterdome tent.

Then again I'll probably be stuck in the production office!

See you all at the festival,
Adam Hughes


Watermelon Events CIC