Festival director of Connected Festival, Rohan Mulvaney, talks to Stand Out about the inaugural Kent festival:
You have launched Connected Festival – what can you tell us about the new event?
The event is envisaged to be the largest production and celebration of Drum and Bass and Garage, with a drop of house in the mix. It will be dominated by a 25-year celebration of Drum and Bass from the early 90’s to present day. The venue is London Ashford International Airport, also known as Lydd Airport and is located right on the south east corner of Kent. The ambition is to resurrect the venue and bring back the spark of the rave culture with a quality production.
What factors lay behind your decision to launch Connected Festival?
In simple terms, anything can be achieved with application of a good heart and mind followed by using the right business tools for such a large project. The concept of holding an event at the airport does require some confidence, as there are multiple factors to consider – the size of the venue is huge, the expectation from the customer is huge and the cost to produce is huge.
In my day job, I lead on major engineering and infrastructure projects so I’m not afraid of the challenge, tie that together with an experienced promotion and production team and a bunch of industry professionals and we have an easy decision.
What will stand out about Connected Festival?
We have lots planned alongside amazing production and light shows. We have the original artists from the first events here at the airport. We also want to bring back some crazy stuff from different angles of performing arts from break dancers to fire eaters, all representing Connected as a brand to be remembered.
To date, what’s been the biggest business lesson you have learned and how will this stand you in good stead for Connected?
I guess the biggest lesson is timing. The amount of design and consultation is incredible for an event of this site and nature. In hindsight, I would have taken a year to plan for this and set the promotion of at least three months before we did, but this has just made the team work harder and stronger and build character.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
We have a team of friends who have all touched this industry in some way, shape or form and the common thread is we love the music. Together, we have a passion and skill set which is a winner. From an inspirational perspective, I think to see the success of the Let it Roll event organisation has been huge – they are hugely successful but they have built their success over 10 years. As a new business, we are achieving their six-year model in 12 months, but we do have a few experienced years on the clock collectively.
What’s next? Future plans?
I shall just see this event through and then sit down with the team and review the whole project. I have ideas and ambition to create a great Connected brand but we just need to revise the business plan and build future opportunities based on the lessons learned. As long as we stay current and we continue to have the fire, drive and ambition we will continue. But we also appreciate that the market is stretched and we will need to stay sharp and strong and listen to the customer.