New London festival Waterworks launches in 2020

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Ben UFO, Sherelle, Eris Drew and more will head to a green, untapped site in East London this August.

London is getting a new festival this summer.

Waterworks, which launches on Saturday, August 22nd, comes from a team that includes the founders of London party Percolate and Croatia’s Love International Festival.

It’ll take place at Lee Valley Waterworks, a green, untapped site in East London, with Ben UFO, Sherelle, Craig Richards, FAUZIA, Novelist, Bruce, Jane Fitz, Iration Steppas, DJ Storm, Objekt, Call Super, Saoirse, Eris Drew, Andrew Weatherall and more on the bill.

We spoke with the festival team to find out more.

Tell us about the venue and how you found it.

The site is beautiful, green, with a tree-lined river running alongside it and enclosed space near Clapton and Walthamstow next to a nature reserve. After years of searching for the right location for an outdoor festival, including many hours on Google Maps and satellite views, we stumbled across the Waterworks. We worked with the really helpful local authority to get permission to use the park. We all went to see it in the middle of last year, just as the wildflower meadows sprung into life and it was love at first sight. The idea for the festival came about very quickly after that.

The lineup is broad. Why? What was the curation process?

We wanted to put on a festival that was more reflective of different strands and flavours of dance music, especially those with strong ties to London and the UK, while pushing the envelope a bit compared to what else was going on around the city. We wanted to weave a tapestry of musical elements that make up the rich heritage of London—joining the dots between scenes rather than being too restrictive. The core thing we wanted to do was to put on artists that we believe in and that our mates would be excited to come and dance along to.

London has lots of electronic music festivals. What will Waterworks do differently?

Yes, there certainly are! And some great ones at that. We really feel that something like this isn’t already happening in London currently. Aside from focusing on a broad range of dance music, we did not want our festival to be dominated by headliners and all the hassle that goes with that. We didn’t want to heavily dictate terms to those playing with exclusivities that would stop them from playing club gigs in the city as we feel that can stifle the scene and growth of fresh talent. We wanted a bit more of a focus on some of the local, younger, up-and-coming artists that we feel are doing something special. By having five stages of a relatively small capacity, we can allow ourselves to be a little riskier in the programming.

We are also investing a lot of time researching how to get the best out of the spaces for sound, working with multiple soundsystem companies. This allows us to tailor the equipment and sound design to the space rather than having the same kit set up across the site. We will be aiming to get even coverage at a high level and clarity across the board—this is a significant investment, but one that we feel is going to pay back massively for the crowd and acts. We are really excited to work with some of the best in the business to think outside the box to create something that we believe will be unrivalled for this size of show in London.

Watch a teaser clip, and take in the full lineup.

 


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