“There’s something about a small festival that creates a really nice, intimate vibe. Year-on-year you go back and there are so many familiar faces there that it becomes like a family,” reflects Goc O’Callaghan, festival director for the UK’s premier post-everything experience, ArcTanGent.
Now entering its fourth year, the Somerset-based “left-field and progressive” event has continued to receive plaudits for its ability to attract big names, and has picked up commendations from the UK Festival Awards, among others. O’Callaghan is delighted by the sense of intimacy and camaraderie that she attributes to the reduced size of the yearly meeting: “Everyone is really geeky – I mean that in a positive way. It’s like they’ve found their secret club.”
With at least 70 bands planned for this year’s bill, including tech metal pioneers SikTh, there’s no shortage of work to go around. O’Callaghan, James Scarlett and Simon Maltas comprise the three-person engine that powers this 5,000 capacity event, working on everything “down to the nuts and bolts”. This granular level of involvement, she insists, is what distances ArcTanGent from the rest and is how the event has continued to attract top line-ups.
I’m building myself a three-day party with music I love.
Yet despite the large amount of effort that goes into the planning and execution of ArcTanGent – the team are already looking ahead to 2017 – O’Callaghan refuses to concede that it’s overwhelming. “Running a festival is essentially the most selfish thing you can do,” she says, “because every year I’m building myself a three-day party with music I absolutely love.”
All this work has paid off in spades. “It’s definitely growing,” O’Callaghan enthuses. “One thing we hadn’t forecast when we started the festival was that people would be travelling from all over the world to attend – it’s a real compliment.”
It all leaves O’Callaghan feeling bullish about the future. “Plans for year 10 are already being discussed, which might be jumping the gun a little, but big ideas take lots of planning so you can never start them too soon!”
Visit ArcTanGent Festival’s website for more.