Circuit Sweet Interview, Feature

Down On The Farm Local Festival Special 2014 – Exclusive Interview

April 10, 2014

DOTF2_POSTER 2014-page-001

Last month we featured the details of a great local festival, quickly becoming one of the biggest events in Herefordshire. Down On The Farm Festival is back for its third year. The three-day Down on the Farm music festival is set to take place across the weekend of Friday 25th to Sunday 27th July 2014.
With what started as a one day event back in 2012 has since expanded, the support has grown and it won’t be long before such festival will be competing against notorious local event Nozstock. Both festivals equally awesome. Last year the festival expanded to three days, with more acts and more involvement with the local community.  The owner of Gwatkin Cider, Denis Gwatkin having played in several bands since his teenage years felt it was a natural progression to give other bands the chance to perform at an organized event and that blossomed into the friendly, laid back festival as we find it at present. The festivals aim is to give local up and coming acts the opportunity to play on stage alongside more established names from the live music circuit. All this without the muddy nightmares of the major festivals – both stage arenas are under cover.

This year’s bill is led by the superbly entertaining chart toppers Dr & The Medics and also the fantastic tribute actHats off to Led Zeppelin. These headline acts alongside a wide variety of high quality bands will keep the crowds entertained over the whole weekend from Friday to Sunday. New for this year is an exciting second arena – “The Hereford Live Acoustic Stage”- showcasing a variety of acoustic bands and solo artists throughout the event.

Down On The Farm is situated in the beautiful surroundings of Herefordshire’s Golden Valley.

If you follow us on Facebook, we have been actively promoting this great event in hope to inspire more local lovelies to grab a ticket and show their support. In a special festival feature we have the privilege in spending some time with Rich Lovell, who is the stage manager for this years Down On The Farm. Here we find out more about what’s on offer over the 3 days, more details about the line-up and a general low down on the passionate force behind the event.

Firstly thank you for spending time with Circuit Sweet.

No problem, thanks for inviting me

We want to know the ins and outs of this local festival- so before we get to find out more. Introduce yourself and your involvement in Down on The Farm Festival

My name is Rich, I have been busy looking for and booking bands for the main stage and I will be stage manager for the three days, but I am just one of a small team who are working hard to make this a great event again

The festival is now in it’s third year, but casting back to it’s first year-how did the festival first begin and how has it since evolved?

Denis Gwatkin, who owns the festival site, and I are part of a band called Abysmal, we have played a few gigs at the farm to friends and the idea for a festival gathered steam from that.

How would you describe what this local treasure provides over the course of 3 days?

Great music at a decent price, with food and a bar to match that approach – in the beautiful setting of the Golden Valley – and hey, it’s on a cider farm. Add all of that to free camping and our insistence that it stays a friendly event – it has to be one of the most enjoyable things I have been involved in.

The line-up over the weekend of 25th – 27th July boasts a variety of tribute acts, original acts and an exceptional plethora of local talent- how did the line-up come about?

“Plethora” – such a good word! We had an idea for the headline acts for a while – Abysmal have played a gig with Dr & the Medics and they were such an enthralling live act we just had to book them. But we have always wanted to ensure we have a good proportion of local acts playing – giving them a chance to play on a bill with a respected, experienced, chart-topping band. Hereford is the same as anywhere – it has a lot of talented musicians, but the difference is they don’t always get an opportunity to show that and to grow futher. We hope that this, along with what Hereford Live are doing will change things for the county. But don’t think this is just a festival for Hereford – there are many acts, and we want such acts, from all over the UK.

Is there a band you just can’t wait to see perform live

Outside of the Hereford bands (don’t want to upset them!) I’d say Headsticks, a folk rock band from Stoke – they have the same attitude as us – it’s all about friendships & music – and they make good music.

This year you’ve teamed up with the hardworking guys at Hereford Live to provide a special Hereford Live Acoustic Stage- please tell us more about this partnership and what the stage is set to hold

I am part of Hereford Live, but I think, being a bit of a Punk/Metal-head, knowledge of the acoustic acts would not be my strongest point! They offered to get involved – both Down on the Farm and Hereford Live are trying to do the same thing for the local music scene so it makes absolute sense for them to be a part of this. There are some great acts – some very experienced, some who will be playing their first festival and that’s how it should be. We have Rick Monk, Bren Haze, Ria Parfitt (singer from Artstar), and Steve Gummersome to name a few. In all there will be around 15 acts on the Hereford Live stage and I am really excited about it.

If you could describe the festival in just ONE word to entice more to support the event, what would be that word.

Abbeydorable (We are in Abbeydore and I should be beaten with a battle-hardened sheep for coming up with an answer like that!)

How did you find the reception to the artists and the event in previous years?

The first year it was a very local event – family and friends, but last year we moved to three days with a good range of bands, a high quality PA and sound engineer and a bit of advertising and it really surprised us how well it went. The atmosphere was so friendly – there was a lot of feedback about that – and it helps that we are NOT here to rip people off with sky-high food and drink prices or hidden costs. People watched, and the bands played, with smiles on their faces. Having both stages undercover means the weather can throw what it likes at us (and last year it did!), but we can all still enjoy the event without standing knee deep in mud.

Is there anything new this year that you are excited to promote/ or anything that makes 2014 stand out?

I think the Hereford Live stage will be a great addition – because it offers people something different from the main stage.

This is such a fantastic event that emphasizes all things local why is this important to you?

I have only recently discovered the wonder of playing in a band live on a stage and it is such an exillerating experience that we want to give others the chance to have a go. Most festivals are so big that acts that have not had a great deal of exposure or promotion don’t get a look in. The Hereford Live showcase events have shown that there is a great deal of talent out there (not just in Hereford) and there are some real music lovers – put the two together and you have Down on the Farm.

Other than the incredible talent on offer over the 3 days what else will the festival be offering to the attendees?

We have great locally produced food, free camping with a weekend ticket, full bars and, well, it’s on the Gwatkin Cider Farm – so there will their amazing real cider & perry – award winners. If you dare, you can try to get through every variety over the weekend – a challenge if ever there was one. There will be some stalls and the bands are invited to sell their cds or shirts if they so wish.

If bands or any helpers wanted to get involved next year whats the best way to go about contacting the festival?

We have a website: And an email address: We are also on Twitter @DDDownOnTheFarm and Facebook

Tell us what this event means to you.

It’s a real labour of love for all of us involved. We are a small team and we just want to make it a great experience for us, the ticketholders and bands alike. No egos

And finally any last words

We hope to see you all there.

Rich it was an absolute pleasure, thank you for spending time with us and we are so honoured to be featuring such a great event, the hard work is paying off.

So what are you guys waiting for? Get your tickets now whilst you still can. Discover some exceptional talent and get ready for one remarkable festival this season.

Details of tickets and bands can be found at

All tickets include parking. Weekend tickets include free on site camping.

Information about Hereford Live can be found at

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