Family Piknik

Family Piknik announce new date of September 12th with Charlotte De Witte, Mind Against b2b Recondite, ARTBAT, Worakls and Popof b2b Oxia plus many more. Here we speak to founder and resident DJ Tom Pooks about the changes to this summer spectacle…

How are you, how have you been dealing with this weird year?

Thanks for having me ! I’m good, even if we still need to wait, again and again, before seeing the end of this terrible crisis.

What made you decide to go ahead this year?

A festival like Family Piknik needs 10 months to be built properly each year. When the Covid-19 happened, with lockdown and sanitary crisis growing up week after week, we’ve started to understand it was a real threat for our activity. We had to wait, for long, and decide what to do, anticipating the fact that summer would be impossible. So mid-May, we’ve announced a new date in September, because we felt at this time that September would be a different dynamic. But look, as time goes by, things change way too slowly towards a new kind of normality. So now we cross our fingers and hope we’ll see a brighter perspective as soon as possible. This new event we’ve built as a plan B is our only chance to survive 2020. Also, we didn’t want this virus to beat our taste of life and our love for music. So we felt like our audience needed us to stay strong and optimistic, giving them a new event to look forward. We managed to re-schedule some of our headliners (Charlotte de Witte, Mind Against, Recondite, Worakls, Artbat, Popof, Oxia…) for this new event, which is something really unique as we’ll (hopefully) dance only a few meters away from the planes landing / taking off from Montpellier airport.

What measures will be in place to keep everyone safe

We still don’t know which protocol we’ll need to apply in September. So by now, we discuss with all the authorities, have many consultants too. We’ll do what is needed to do, but there’s one thing we won’t accept : preventing our attendees to dance. If by the end of August, we see that there’s no advances with authorities to let us make our event decently (and safely), then we’ll step back and it will be terrible for our structure.

What did you do during lockdown? Keep buys and create or relax?

The only positive thing with lockdown is that it gave me much time to be with my family and I felt quiet creative in the studio, too.

What music did you turn to keep you sane?

I kept on listening to the huge amount of promos we’re lucky to get. I started recording a weekly radio show and created many tracks in the studio. I also released an EP (‘Red Castle’) during the lockdown because I wanted to let the world know life goes on and nothing’s stronger than our love for the music.

What are have the biggest challenges getting this years festival to go ahead?

Between March and end of May, it was hard because we had to stop selling tickets, which means our event was slowly dying. Since end of May, the challenge is to start promoting our new event with this threat above our heads about the sanitary context. No one knows what happens in September, so we have to promote our new date facing with these uncertain times. A few months ago, we were sure that summer season would mark a return to normality. Now, we wish September really mean all of us back to normality. Statistics have been pretty good in France lately, so we are optimistic.

What is new for this year that people won’t have seen before?

We mixed our Boarding to Family Piknik event with our festival’s concept. So it’s a brand new hybrid concept we’ve built for this year, combining the key points of our Family Piknik main event (including pique-nique, huge time schedule from 11am to 4am, outdoor, open to all generations) with the chance to install our stage next to the planes, with a 360° view on Montpellier airport. So that’s gonna be a unique experience for sure. After all these complicated months, if sanitary situation has improved till then, it might even be one of the most mesmerizing editions ever ! People need to exult again, they need to feel the music, dance and embrace their freedom.

What has the label got coming up, and what is the A&R policy?

The label is only 2 years old and we are proud of the tremendous feedbacks we receive on our music. When we’ve launched it, Joy Kitikonti and myself were manly focused on our own collabs. But quickly, our third man Ludo started doing what he’s best at, which is looking for new talents and unsigned music. He also advised us to create a real family of artists rather than just being one more label in the already-saturated music industry’s market. So we’ve started building a strong family, with human connexions and a common vision about what we are as Family Piknik. We’ve signed french talents like Essence of TIME, Pontias, Abstraal, Mood Gorning, Albanø and B/O/M. We also welcomed long-time friends like Cebb, Delon, Sebass and Mike Spirit. And we also got a few international promising newcomers such as Russian Cadillac Express, Italian JA:CK or Ukrainian Ki Yera. We also try to invite great remixers on board for each of our release. We already had guys like Hernan Cattaneo, Quenum, Popof, Teenage Mutants, Marc Romboy, Cosmic Boys, Cioz, The Dualz, Theus Mago, Piem, Bock & Fuchs, Frankyeffe… They also confirm our label is getting more and more valuable within the underground landscape. We have huge releases in our pipeline, so please stay tuned!

TOM POOKS (Live Video - Béziers) Juin 2020