SEPTEMBER | ME, MYSELF & I Matt Robinson Access catches up with one of the founders of London-based Matt’s BBQ Matts BBQ started out as a BBQ in my mum’s garden to celebrate my 18th birthday. Well, when I say BBQ, there was a BBQ on the go of course, but there were also some big speakers about 30 of my mates and it went on until about 4 in the morning! Since that birthday, word got around, the birthday parties got bigger, the complaints from our neighbours came in and my mum kicked us out after five years. We went to football clubs, parks and then dedicated festival sites, this year reaching over 7000 attendees. Half of my family are from Jamaica, and I visit there a couple of times a year. Jamaica has been the best partying of my life and I take most of my inspiration from there. Not in the terms of the music, but by way of the effort into production, they really go all out. Each year, we sit down and review who is doing well as a DJ in their genre of music. We aim to select the best in dancehall, hip-hop, house, garage Afro beats and Soca. Some of these genres are rarely represented at all in UK festivals, and they certainly don’t get a main stage spot. So we like to give genres like dancehall a main stage spot, even flying in acts from Jamaica to headline the main stage. We have worked with many suppliers and service providers that we have met via trade shows, these shows really help smaller festivals 58 similar to our size, meet the right contacts they need to grow. Our favourite contact we’ve made has been Redbox tickets, the guys there have been great and were a key part in enabling us to grow. They take away a lot of the stress we wouldn’t be able to cope with. The only bugbear about the event industry, is that sometimes you invest your whole life and money into something that sometimes feels like it could be effected by factors outside of your control. For example, if events have happened in a venue you are booked to use, and maybe they haven’t gone so well or the neighbours are really against events in that area, your event may be pulled or forced to reschedule or relocate and that is a continual worry, for I imagine any event organiser. Aim high! We have had such amazing support over the years from our party goers. It really is an event different from every other and the word is spreading. We have grown on average by 50% each year with no major sponsor and without any investors. It seems like we are making some waves now. I read in Access that Parklife Festival started with very small numbers and since its birth in 2010 has turned colossal. So that’s a good festival to draw inspiration from!