Rob Da Bank – Festival Supremo… Bestival And Radio 1 Star

Rob, an illustrious career – first question, how did it feel stepping into what was really, John Peel’s Radio 1’s seat?
“Well a weird time. That was never a thought that had ever entered my head. I thought then and now that I stepped in by default, he was and will always be the the best broadcaster of all time. End of. Just an inspiration to so many DJs. I felt like a caretaker for long.”

Tell us about the new book coming out that you are bringing out… basically the best festival organisor in the world saying how it is…’The A-Z Of Festivals’…
“It’s perhaps a biographical/factual/entertaining and very well researched look on the world of festivals. My wife Josie has been amazing illustrating and coming up with incredible ideas – I’m very proud.”

Your night ‘Sunday Best’, it started in a South London tea room venue which just kicked the crap out of it… what where your main memories and DJs from back then?
“20 people turning out for day one. £1.99 on the door admission, then Groove Armada, Andrew Weatherall and Basement Jaxx turning up with their boxes to spin for fun. Next thing I know I’m running Bestival for 40,000 people.”

The Bestival Festival. Just genius. As a fellow club promoter I admire you so much as have taken it to another level… where/how did the fancy dress angle come from… my sister Gabrielle thinks the sun shines out of your arse as she has about 50 dressing up boxes?
“Got to think sideways Dan, always got to have fun, always think of a different angle. The first year we had 200 people come dressed up, now 80% wear our themes – and they all make it themselves. I suppose it’s like a grown up Gatecrasher vibe!”

What is the craziest outfit you have seen there?
“This beautiful Indian girl made an outfit which made her look like an Indian Take Away – tin foil and a sign over head – brilliant.

So your new Festival in 2008, Camp Bestival  what is all that about?
“Well I have two children now, the days of 24 hour partying is long gone and I just felt the time was right to maybe enjoy an event in the company of like minded people, hence Camp Bestival…”

Cool, so who is your favourite…
DJ – “DJ Harvey (I would myself but I’m shit)
Best Album – The Smiths ‘The Queen is Dead’
Best Single –  The Cure ‘Love Cats’

Bestest Bestival themed fancy dress you’ve done?
“Hmm, I suppose thirty 30,000 people feet last year at the ‘Under the Sea’ was great until the heavens opened – maybe quite apt though looking back…”

Which live artist have you most enjoyed at ANY gig over the years?
Arcade Fire at The Astoria in London, not my favourite band but it was before they blew up and were just stupendous.

Who is the funniest DJ you work with at Radio 1?
“Tim Westwood, hands down. Hilarious.”

One of the most credible and respected DJs in the world – what artists were you listening to growing up?
“Oh all sorts – The Beatles, Bethoven, Mamas and Papas… anything really…”

And finally, who are you really looking forward to seeing at your event ‘Bestival’ this year?
“Kraftwerk.”

Rob da Bank talk at the Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall 8pm, Friday 24th April
So if you are in London town this Friday April 24th, head on down to The Purcell Room at The Queen Elizabeth Hall to catch Rob giving a personal account of the glory years of festivals alongside Basement Jaxx and Dizzee Rascal agent Peter Elliot and acclaimed writer/broadcaster Miranda Sawyer. They will be talking about how festivals can continue to innovate and will the digital revolution ever end the appeal of ‘being there’ at the live event. Will be interesting for you music headz…
southbankcentre.co.uk/ether

A – Z of Festivals Book:
Music festivals are an essential part of the British summertime. Legendary DJ and founder of Bestival, Rob da Bank gives a personal account of the glory years in his new book, A-Z of Festivals. crossing the globe from Coachella to Malawi’s Lake of Stars, via Notting Hill. He discussed where music festival go next alongside Peter Elliot, agent for Basement Jaxx and Dizzee Rascal and writer and broadcaster Miranda Sawyer. How can festivals continue to innovate, and will the digital revolution ever erode the appeal of ‘being there’ at the live event?