By: Sheena Lyonnais
TMS caught up with director of Virgin Festival Canada Andrew Bridge at last weekend’s event to chat about V-fest and how bands can get involved.
The second annual Canadian edition of Virgin Festival may be over, but preparations are already being made for next year’s event including booking talent, which is something Toronto bands looking for a break may want to consider.
“It takes at least a year to plan and execute and there are lots of intricacies and details to make sure everything happens the way that it should on the days of the events,” director of Virgin Festival Canada Andrew Bridge said. “First of all, getting the right talent. Making sure we’re the first people that get called when people are thinking about touring. We put the feelers out to make sure we get the right mix of both internationally established and Canadian and up and coming talent so that the festival experience is really unique.”
Bridge encourages bands to go to virginfestival.ca and contact the directors. This year’s lineup included an impressive roster of Toronto and GTA acts including Tokyo Police Club, the Dragonettes, Birds of Wales, the Most Serene Republic and the Constantines, and the festival is eager to showcase even more local talent.
“We’ll make sure we hook them up with the right people to get onto the consideration side. We’re big supporters of breaking up and coming talent and we want to encourage people to give us a ring and we’ll definitely consider them,” Bridge said.
But with making an impression comes precision, and forming rosters is no easy task.
“Picking talent is critical. We work with producers, agents, artists and we get people giving their views on which bands should perform and really work with a ton of people to get the lineup,” Bridge said. “We have festivals in the UK, Australia and the U.S. and we work with my counterparts around the world to see if there’s talent in those markets we can bring over as well.”
This is just one part of making the event a success, amping it up is another. After a successful first year, the Vfest team decided to beef up the show by adding a fourth stage and 20 extra bands. They also added more things for the 35,000 plus attendees to do such as dress up in the Motorola tent and play human chess.
Canada’s success with Virgin Fest has exceeded expectations. The festival has been going strong in the UK for twelve years but was only brought to North America for the first time last year.
“We were literally talking to [founder of Virgin records] Richard Branson and talked about the festival and we were like you know it would be really neat to do one in Canada and he said you know what, it would, make it happen. So we took the initiative and brought it to life and we expect it to keep going as long as we can,” Bridge said.
The team is already compiling next year’s lineup, so interested bands are encouraged to contact Virgin Festival as soon as possible.