The JoeFest Story
Every year, a community of friends, party-goers and music lovers gathers in the beautiful surrounds of Lincolnshire’s Stourton Estates for a brilliant weekend of live music.
We’re really excited to be able to announce that JoeFest 2018 will take place from 10th – 12th August, and there will be more stages, more artists and more entertainment.
But, perhaps most importantly, more people will be able to attend JoeFest than ever before – and this is really important to us.
Having started out as an 18th birthday party in our back garden, JoeFest has gone from strength to strength thanks to the huge number of people who have given up an enormous amount of time and effort to help make it what it is today.
This is the story of how, in a small corner of Lincolnshire, the people put together a festival.
JoeFest 2015 – The Back Garden Birthday Party
The first ever JoeFest really couldn’t be more different to the festival today.
Whereas JoeFest 2018 will be the first to have a capacity of 1,000 people, that’s quite a few more than we could fit in Joe’s back garden for his 18th birthday party.
Instead of a purpose-built bar in a marquee, staffed by a huge team of volunteers, we put our mate Phil in charge of the drinks and sent him on a trolley dash round Tesco. Our neighbours all pitched in to lend us tables and chairs, Dad was put on BBQ duty and Joe’s friend Joey’s dad Paul managed to get hold of some sound equipment.
If we’re being honest, we weren’t exactly going to give Glastonbury’s Michael Eavis any sleepless nights, but if was enormous fun.
Whilst JoeFest 2015 might have lacked big stages, overnight camping and fancy decorations, it more than made up for that in plenty of other ways.
For everyone there, whether they were about to head off to university or back in Lincoln for the summer; a performer or someone who had helped with the decorations; whether they were wearing their best Hawaiian shirt or just dressed for a lazy summer evening, it was a chance to get away from the stresses of school, work or whatever they’d normally do and enjoy an evening of good food, good drink and great company.
As you’re probably aware, a lot has changed since then. But this, really, is what JoeFest is still all about.
JoeFest 2016 – Alex Dalton’s Farm
It turned out that the original JoeFest was so much fun that we were going to have to do it again, and so in 2016 our little gathering of friends took its first step towards becoming a proper festival.
Unfortunately all the partying of the year before had taken its toll on Joe’s Mum’s raspberry bushes, so holding JoeFest in the back garden was no longer an option. Thankfully, it turned out that Alex Dalton, guitarist in 2015’s headliners The Pylons, lived on a farm.
So, in the summer of 2016, a couple of hundred people gathered inside a marquee we’d borrowed from a nearby scout group for another evening of merriment.
The size of the venue wasn’t the only change to JoeFest that year: The great JoeFest tradition of naming things after people was kicked off, courtesy of the Nelson Mandela Main Stage and the David Bowie Memorial Toilets.
The bands that turned up to play the festival were also starting to get a bit more serious. The year before, most of the acts had been groups of mates who’d turned up with their guitars. This time, some more established acts came to join the party, and it was also the first JoeFest since The Pylons had played the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury.
JoeFest was still a long way from being a ‘proper’ festival, but by the second year the party had got quite a lot bigger.
JoeFest 2017 – Open To The Public
In 2017 we took a huge step as JoeFest became a proper, public festival for the first time.
Not only that, but we were able to provide a platform for even more up-and-coming local artists with the introduction of a second stage, performing to our biggest JoeFest audience yet in our new home at Stourton Estates.
The festival was also the first to run across several days, with the addition of Friday’s opening night.
Obviously a huge amount has changed since a few dozen friends gathered in Joe’s back garden, but in many ways JoeFest 2017 wasn’t that much different to our first festival.
For starters, it was once again the result of a huge amount of hard work by a large number of friends, all of whom gave up their time for free to help make our annual summer party such a success.
Every year higher profile names are added to the festival line-up but, just like at Joe’s 18th birthday party, when they weren’t on stage you could still find our headliners, Krrum, wondering around Stourton Estates alongside the rest of us. The fenced-off backstage area at JoeFest tends not to get used as much as at other festivals, really.
And whether they were school friends in 2015 who’d always fancied performing in front of a crowd, or artists on the radar of our friends at BBC Introducing three years later, JoeFest still maintains a strong commitment to supporting the work of up-and-coming artists from Lincolnshire, and further afield.
So, whether you just fancy coming along to enjoy JoeFest on the day, or whether you’re keen to get stuck in and help us put on a show, you’re warmly invited to join our JoeFest community, and we look forward to seeing you in 2018.
If you’re keen to learn more about getting involved in JoeFest, make sure you say hello in our Friends of JoeFest Facebook group.