We’ve caught up with Two Moors Festival artistic director Penny Adie to find out how it’s all going, with just ten days until the festival gets underway.
2MF: There’s just over one week to go before the festival kicks off. What’s left to be done?
PA: Lots. We’re now focusing on loads of PR and advertising. We will also have to deal with proof-reading the programme. Liz Pile is going flat out with on the ground arrangements for the artists and volunteers. Accommodation, transport from/to station; schedule for piano tuning (Colin Webber) and piano movers (Britannia Lanes) all need sorting out. Liz will also deal with text translations for any songs, Das Lied von der Erde for instance and the final recital.
2MF: How have preparations gone so far? Have there been any panicky moments when you thought it wouldn’t all come off?
PA: There are always difficult moments when you realise that something vital has been omitted. It’s allways tricky when an artist changes transport arrangements at the last minute. Also, from my point of view, when an artist is ill. Once a singer had completely lost his voice andI had to find a replacement at less than 24 hours notice. It’s not easy with specialised repertoire.
2MF: What goes into putting on a music festival? Do people have any idea what it actually takes?
PA: People have no idea what goes on. A keen supporter rang once saying he had been to a concert where he saw a fine singer and thought he would be good for the festival as all artists come for nothing. We hastily put him in the picture that artists’ fees are £50,000. Many during the actual festival say, “once it’s over, you can put your feet up for the next ten months”. This happens all the time.
2MF: Any organisational disasters or has it all be plain sailing this time?
PA: Money is always a problem. It’s nail-biting when you’ve no idea if you’re going to break even. There have been little things but nothing major – so far. I suppose the tricky one is finding sufficient volunteers to man both the cathedral concert as well as the BBC live broadcast on the same night.
2MF: What will the next ten days be like for you and John?
PA: Hellishly busy. John is processing tickets, galore and dealing with the many brochure requests from Classic FM – the response has been fantastic. I am dealing with the layout of the programme and press releases and getting them interested. It’s hard work. Regional press and radio are always interested. BBC Radio 3 are interviewing Anna Tilbrook and Marcus Farnsworth on October 3rd. They will be doing some Parlour Songs relating to the concert on the 14th. I’m also working on BBC Spotlight for the Tiverton Parkway concerts.
2MF: Will this be the best festival yet?
PA: Ticket sales are well up on last year, which is great. We’re almost at last year’s total already. Fanfares on the 10th at lunchtime), the four harps on the 20th, all Tiverton Parkway dates and John Williams on the 20th have sold out. The first and last night are going well, as is the piano recital on the 19th. There are still plenty of tickets for the Cathedral and the Military Wives evenings.
2MF: What are you most looking forward to on the programme this year?
PA: The piano recital but then that’s my favourite instrument and I just love to hear the Boesendorfer played properly.
2MF: What do you love most about running a music festival?
PA: Its an opportunity to be as creative as possible. The trouble is that ideas wake me up at 3am. I have the nice job. Poor John has to find the money to pay for it.Here’s a good example of a creative idea coming up – I was asked by one of the Busch Ensemble (as we walked into the station to catch their train) how I hit on the idea for the Bach concerts. It’s quite simple, as I heard the lovely acoustics made by people trundling their suitcases over the floor tiles.
2MF: What can we expect next year?
PA: It’s a secret!