We catch up with Jack Kane, promotions and artist liaison at LWE ahead of Junction 2 festival and SIDEXSIDE.
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How did you start your career in party promotions?
I started off selling tickets for a night called Sumo and Baby Sumo during my first year at University in Portsmouth, and writing for the label Sounds of Sumo. I made a few more mates down there and we started a night called Concrete Music which was held each week on a Tuesday. We wanted to bring people more underground DJs to the city at a decent price and create a real party vibe!
The first event was a beach party, where we struggled to get the generator started and the wind kept on making the needle on the decks skip. The Tuesday’s were a real success and the night is still going strong over 8 years later. After that I got an internship at Bestival which loved, and where I luckily met Alice who is one of the directors at LWE.
Was it always something you wanted to do?
To be honest I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I was in 6th form. I enjoyed learning and had done well in my GCSEs, so I did English and History, which got me into writing. I always loved different types of music and at the time I was listening to whatever big artists came to the BIC in Bournemouth and local DJs.
I liked the idea of becoming a music journalist so I did Journalism at Portsmouth Uni and started editing the music section of the student paper. After that, I kind of fell into putting on parties, and pretty much stopped going to lectures as I become so engrained in putting on the events, that it took over everything else!
You’ve thrown loads of great parties but what’s the best or favourite one so far?
With LWE it has to be Junction 2. There was so much effort from the whole team and a lot of nerves and excitement in doing something never been done before. The location, crowd, music, vibe and feedback made it something special. Out of the Printworks shows so far it’s got to be the Junction 2 / Adam Beyer event as the atmosphere was electric in there. At Tobacco Dock, I think it’s probably the Acid Future that Seth Troxler brought in. The weather was great, the soundtrack was amazing and the décor made it feel like a great tribute and celebration of 90s raving.
LWE has now organised its first festival, Junction 2. What were the challenges of doing that for the first time?
There were many challenges from the lineup, to licensing, operations and ticket sales (we fell quite short). But overall the result was something that made all the effort worth it. Working on a site for the first time is always going to bring up some challenges, and it was a bit surprising to see how it went so smooth on the day.
How have things changed in the business since the fabric events?
I think there’s a real sense of optimism and togetherness in London at the moment. A few months ago it was a lot less positive, though. The fabric license going was the big story that highlighted a much wider issue of many great cultural venues going not only in London but across the country.
With Cable, Plastic People, The Sidings, Crucifix Lane making up a few of a pretty long list of music venues closing across the city. Now it seems that Printworks opening, fabric back open and the night Czar show that the city is open and ready to party. I feel like the electronic music community as a whole has shown how much they care about London’s nightlife particularly through the fabric issue.
How is the closure of traditional London venues impacting on your events?
I think for LWE it’s made the company continue to unearth venues that previously haven’t been used for electronic music events, with Tobacco Dock, then Junction 2 and now Printworks all examples of this. It also highlights the importance of working closely and together with the council, police, local community and other relevant groups. It’s also made us change the traditional dynamic of going out at 10 pm and finishing at 6 pm, with most of our events now being day parties that start at midday. This is down to the licenses that these venues and spaces have.
How do you see London’s nightlife scene evolving?
There is definitely a trend going towards large scale day events and I don’t think this shows any sign of slowing down. People arrive in masses for when doors open at midday at a lot of our parties. They're full of energy, really into the music, and in a better state than if they were arriving 12 hours later. I also think people are looking for a big experience and each event needs to have that “wow” factor. People want big lineups, off locations, crazy production, good drinks, sound operations, nice security. it’s important to keep people happy, and I think people will continue to expect more and more.
It’s important to keep people happy and I think people will continue to expect more and more. On the flip side of this, there is obviously the more underground movements across the city, from popups in Hackney or places in South and East; there’s a really strong DIY mentality across the board. Peckham has been bubbling for a while now and seems to have been able to keep a good vibe and community of people going out, making records and releasing music. London will continue to attract DJs, producers, promoters and ravers, but they might just have to live a little further out. I imagine more little hot spots will pop up… hopefully inside the M25.
What’s your dream lineup if you had no restrictions?
Jimmy Hendrix, Biggie, John Lennon and David Bowie… or maybe the Junction 2 lineup!
What can we expect from SIDEXSIDE at Tobacco Dock?
The three room hosts at SIDEXSIDE have travelled on very different journeys through electronic music. They have invited special guests to play side by side in a series of pairings that will excite, challenge and inspire. Jamie Jones will host The Great Gallery, Guy Gerber has the Car Park and Leon Vynehall is in The Little Gallery (which isn’t so little anymore!). With an entire night as their blank canvas, the DJs have time to push boundaries and dig deeper into their record collections. Expect forgotten classics, hidden treasures, and guilty pleasures.
You can find tickets for SIDEXSIDE here.
Author: Claudia Manca