Credo: Katrina Larkin
Co-founder of the Big Chill festival
Sunday 12 July 2009
I've met more people who claim to have been at the very first Big Chill 15 years ago than can possibly have been there. There were only 600 people, but it's passed into festival folklore.
It would have been more radical for me to become a banker than start my own festival. My parents were artists and I grew up with music in my blood – my dad used to tell me Eric Clapton was God.
There are no words that can sum up what goes on in that valley each time. Over the years we've been called a "crusty" event, a "Sloaney" event, and now a "boutique" festival. Labels don't bother me.
When I see people letting go and being daft, I know I've done my job. Since the team are sober, we see an awful lot of things that keep us laughing through winter.
Festivals have become very mainstream. These days it's "Where are you going on holiday? Which festivals are you going to?" It's a good thing if it means people are going out to the countryside every summer and celebrating together in the same way that we used to at harvest.
There are so many new festivals trying to be us, it's made us want to work harder to be more ourselves than ever and not let anybody take our crown.
We never had a business plan. The festival has got bigger, but it costs more, so the profit margins have actually dwindled. Luckily, we're not in it for the money.
'Festival spirit' really does exist. In our second year, I called [the Glastonbury founder] Michael Eavis for help. His wife answered and gave me loads of advice.
I am turning into a bit of a mother hen – the other day I was checking that all the boys in the office had eaten breakfast.
While I feel I am still contributing something, I'll stay, but after that I am quite happy to pass on the mantle. You can't let the circus performers get old.
The Big Chill runs from 6-9 August at Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire. For more details: www.bigchill.net
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