Sacha, one time promoter of Sankey’s Soap in Manchester, has gone on to make a jam-packed, enterprising career for himself at the helm of The Warehouse Project, Parklife, Kendal Calling, Hideout Festival, Jodrell Bank Live, Primary Security and Unknown Croatia.
Our reporter Sonj was fortunate enough to catch him on what must be a rare spare five minutes to answer some questions for Louder Than War ahead of the massive Parklife Festival weekend, at Heaton Park in Manchester, where 50,000 revellers per day will congregate to enjoy the most kickingest party in all the land.
LouderThanWar: Having held the previous three Parklife Weekenders in Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield, what brought about the decision to move it to Heaton Park this year? Has this new location inspired a change in the festival format?
Platt Fields was great, but the problem was…it wasn’t big enough!! Heaton actually wasn’t our first choice but the powers at be in Manchester City Council persuaded us that it was the right move. And you know what…they were right!!
The only real change is the fact that we’ve been able to scale everything up with the extra space. We’ve even got a Log Flume, which I’m personally excited about!!
LTW: This past year has been one where your team have definitely embraced a challenge and raised the bar on many levels, both with the Warehouse Project 2012 season moving to a new 5000 capacity venue in Old Trafford and now Parklife at Heaton Park. What’s that process of growth and expansion been like from a personal and a logistical point of view?
Logistically, we always have our hands held by Ear to the Ground, our production company. It’s been that way since we started. Infact, weirdly, Jon Drape, who is the MD of Ear to the Ground, signed the contract for my first ever night, held at The Hacienda.
Personally, it’s been a bloody white knuckle ride. We’ve taken a few risks this year, which thankfully have paid off. If there’s one thing we hate in the office it’s boredom, and staying still. What’s the point? If it’s the same old, same old, week in, week out you might as well get someone else to run it, and go and find a hobby.
LTW: You have impressive links with high calibre promoters and artists who seem to readily engage with your events, how easy has it been to forge these relationships? Which contacts are you the most proud of and is there anyone still on the team’s wish list?
Yes, it’s taken many many years of brown-nosing! Sam, my business partner, deals with the artist side. I tend to deal more with the “official” side of things. Of course there is still a wish list; I have one in particular – who knows if it will ever happen.
LTW: After months of planning and organising, Parklife 2013 is currently being set up ready for the weekend, how do you cope with the multitude of considerations and expectations that must undoubtedly go into these final stages?
I normally just go for a long jog and by the time I’m back everything’s sorted! That’s the good thing about having a great team around you. Without having a strong team to build the foundations it’s never going to work.
LTW: What does a typical day at Parklife involve for you and are you planning on watching any specific acts this year?
Shitting myself, shouting, avoiding portaloo areas, and tons and tons of cleansing wipes (I have a germ issue). And try to hide if a “shaking hand” moment is on the horizon. I can’t wait to see Johnny Marr – again – and Jurassic 5!
LTW: I get the impression that The Warehouse Project as a brand is constantly evolving so how exactly are you going to top this year, Sacha?!?
It’s evolving very quickly – possibly too quickly. 2013 is already fully planned and practically ready to push the button on.
To top it off I want to see Mr Louder Than War there…actually dancing. I’ve only ever seen him once at WHP, back at Store St…come on John!! You’ll be old before you know it!
Thanks, Sacha! I agree, I think Mr Robb should definitely catch a bit of Skrillex, if only for ‘research’ purposes!
All words by Sonj. You can find more by Sonj on Louder Than War in her author’s archive.