Close-up: Sam Killcoyne

It's all good, clean rocking fun at the teen impresario's under-18s-only festival
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The Independent Online

While most of his peers were fretting over GCSE coursework, 16-year-old Sam Killcoyne had higher things on his mind – such as organising a major music festival.

It all began a few years ago, when Killcoyne was desperate to see goth-rockers the Horrors play live. "I couldn't get into any of their gigs. It was ridiculous that this band were being missed by the people who loved them most." Thus, Underage Club was born – and it was such a success that Killcoyne launched his own one-day festival in East London's Victoria Park last year – a haven where 14- to 18-year-olds could run riot, without parents or drunken revellers cramping their style.

The line-up is as good as most "grown-up" festivals, with Dizzee Rascal, Mystery Jets, Foals and, of course, the Horrors all making appearances. "It's just fun," says Killcoyne. "There's no one there to tell you you're wrong, you can meet people your own age, discover music and not get hit on by a bunch of weirdos."

Of course, the festival is alcohol-free – and the importance of this is not lost on Killcoyne. "If you want to be dangerous, if you want to go and take drugs, that can come later in your life – if you really need them to have a good time."

Just don't call him an entrepreneur: he's not in it for the money: "The idea of being an entrepreneur seems quite devious. I just thought of a good idea, and built on it."

Killcoyne vows to keep the festival fresh by passing the baton to someone younger when he turns 18. Until then, he still has plenty to keep him busy: "I'd like Underage Festival to be humungous. People say we've gone commercial, but why should we limit it? Why shouldn't we have more fun?"

Underage Festival will be held on 8 August. For more information, visit