Q: Tell us about the Global Beats Festival, how did the festival originally come together?
A: I was invited by Wilton’s Music Hall to put on a week-long musical event during the Olympics last year, which I gladly accepted!
Q: The festival is one of the most unique celebrations of cultural exchange I’ve seen, was that the original aim of Global Beats?
A: Yes indeed. The aim of the festival was to showcase our international musical family living and working here in London.
Q: How was the process of curation? Difficult/easy? What did you base your decisions on?
A: I’ve been running my monthly Little Blue Ball events for many years now, which means having a close relationship with many international artists and bands. I’ve also met many acts through gigs, festivals and being part of the London music scene for so long. In curating, my vision was to try to cover the whole world when considering a ‘world music’ festival, hence artists from the USA to Japan, Senegal to Portugal, Colombia to Algeria, etc.
Q: What one element unites all of these diverse acts and pulls them together?
A: Except from all having a bit of London influence, I’d say that they are all playing uplifting, positive music, with the sole aim of bringing happiness to the people!
Q: Do you feel that London is a particularly good place to hold a festival like this, given its multicultural nature?
A: For sure! London is probably the most multicultural city in the world! As they say ‘the whole world lives in London’.
Q: How was it working with Wilton’s Music Hall?
A: Really great!! Frances and Filippo who run the place are amazing people and working with them was a joy. True visionaries!
Q: What acts are you particularly looking forward to at this year’s Global Beats Festival?
A: It’s a really hard question to answer, as all the acts I booked are headline acts, and of top quality! Being the host also, I’m thrilled to watch every single act throughout the festival! I love the fact that the Festival is so diverse, with acts playing Blues, Cumbia, Afrobeat, Reggae, Bossa Nova, Soukous, Hi Life, Samba, Electro-Swing, Rai, and many more musical styles from around the world.
Q: Tell us a bit about Planetman and the Internationalz, and how they fit in with the Festival as the ‘global’ representative.
A: It’s been 12 years since I formed Planetman & The Internationalz here in London. My name, Planetman, is there to remind me that all people are my people, and everywhere is my homeland, and so I’ve dedicated my life and my music to promote world unity. Please go to our website http://www.planetman.net for a feel of our musical vibration.
Q: Where do you see Global Beats going in the future? Is there room for further expansion?
A: It’s been a success story so far, and I wish that it continues to serve as an example of the true awesomeness of being a multicultural society, and may it spread its wings all around the world. Thank you for your support!
Global Beats Festival will be held at Wilton’s Music Hall from 14 – 17 August 2013. Tickets available from: www.wiltons.org.uk Tel: 020 7702 2789.
By Thomas Storey