Grinagog Festival: eight things that brought Continental Drifts to Torquay
Grinagog festival is the new festival heading to Torquay, Devon on 7 – 9 April.
It has 15 stages with a wide range of acts, including over 200 DJ’s, bands and solo artists. It’s a mud-free-guarantee festival, replacing the ever-unglorious gloop will be sun, sand, sea and palm trees.
From the main stage, punk-rapper Ratboy will be bringing his crazed and energetic performance to Devon for everyone to get sweaty to. Other acts include the drum and bass act of Serial Killaz as well as reggae music from Jah Shaka and the folk sensation of Sam Lee’s The Nest Collective UnampliFire.
As well as all the music to immerse yourself in, there are also pool parties, roller discos, paddle boarding, short films screenings, street performers, art installations, award-winning food, and much more.
This multi-genre, multi-cultural new music festival has been organised by Chris Tofu, an experienced DJ and organiser and one of the many brains of Continental Drifts!
The Festival Flyer got a few minutes time with one of the busiest men in the festival industry
For readers who are unaware of what you do, could you explain a little bit about your company and how it began?
Continental Drifts began life in deepest Hackney over 20 years ago, specialising in taking brilliant new and different culture across the world, from full circus to some of today’s great musical names. We’ve built whole areas from dust in literally hundreds of festivals from the giants like Shangri La Glastonbury (20 years in the one field) to booking at International events such as Sydney Fest – right down to producing some of London’s most renowned community events.
From what I know about you guys, you were a group of friends with a passion – how did that develop in to what is now Continental Drifts?
At the time the landscape in East London and the UK were considerably different, there were hundreds of acts uncovered. We collected all the greatest festival bands and truly bizarre performers. All our skills came together for an incredible journey that daily takes new twists.
How difficult did you find setting up your own company?
The UK is the easiest place on the planet to set up a company, but growing and sustaining is a real art. It’s not all in the business plan, definitely knowing your direction helps.
Is there a particular genre of music you are all interested in or are you always trying to develop your knowledge and passion for the music industry?
The amount of styles we have dealt with is absolutely mind-blowing. There have been over a thousand acts from Siberian Throat Singers to Muse, and every other musical stop in the world along the route. We’re really obsessed with how vintage sounds mesh with the 21st Century.
We call it Vintage Remix and we were the first in the UK to create nights remixing 1920’s to 1940’s music – these were the legendary Electro Swing Club and White Mink. Since then we’ve been non-stop researching and creating some amazing stages around this new genre from Gospel remix, to jumping Nu Soul and beyond.
This is the future.
What has been your highlight/favourite memory since setting up Continental Drifts?
The amount of times we’ve said it couldn’t get better, it’s almost a cliché, there are hundreds of moments. I guess Shangri La, at Glastonbury has a moment every year where you wonder what will ever beat that moment, on the other hand 100,000 people at one of our early free fests like Volcano Fest, to our own little fest London Remixed, we do so much.
Who has been the most successful band/artist you’ve booked on a smaller stage that have made it worldwide?
We booked bands like Muse and Florence and The Machine, on their way up. But it’s whoever made the most vibe and atmosphere that the cocktail of time, place and music creates.
You’re currently in the process of finalising the innovative new festival, Grinagog festival, how long have you worked for this and how excited are you for it?
Grinagog is a massive gig for us, because unlike normal festivals, our palette includes a whole town, with beautiful beaches and palm trees and venues from 11th century Manors to hi-spec new venues, and over 200 acts. It’s like a dream come true, and we hope this will last 100 years. We’ve booked a wide line up with some top chart acts like Rat boy but also legends Jan Shaka, poet Akala, Boomtown favourites Congo Natty and Slamboree, electro swing giants Electric Swing Circus, Sam Lees Unamplifire (the best UK Folk), family days… there’s so much.
How important is it for you to bring different genres of music and different people from around the world together?
Our motto is Remix the World, and in fact all music and couture is made of hundreds of elements of culture going back to the beginning of time! We love all styles of music from around the world, because each one knows how to move audiences. We’ve never sought massive acts; it’s being off the main stage which we love and where the real magic happens.
Grinagog festival is a weekend long, guaranteed fun-filled festival. Tickets are on sale with a weekend ticket selling at £35. You’d be mad to miss out.
The future has begun.