Cool Britannia Festival to return in 2019 with dates due to announced ‘very soon’
PUBLISHED: 00:08 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 00:28 20 September 2018
©2018 Kevin Richards - all rights reserved
Organisers have started planning next year’s Cool Britannia Festival with 2019 dates and early bird ticket details “coming soon”.
The inaugural 90s themed Britpop festival took place at Knebworth Park earlier this month with headline sets from Happy Mondays and Ocean Colour Scene.
Following a short break to recover from the event’s successful debut, Cool Britannia promoters have started work on 2019’s return.
The festival posted on its Facebook page: “The Cool Britannia team are now re-charged and back in the office after an epic festival, and that can only mean one thing... 2019 dates and early bird ticket info coming very soon – keep those eyes peeled!”
No line-up details have been announced yet for the festival’s second edition.
However, the man behind the hugely successful 1980s Rewind festivals is hoping to repeat the trick with a different decade at Knebworth.
Having now sold the Rewind brand, promoter David Heartfield has turned to the 1990s and music’s Britpop era.
Explaining the new festival’s origins, David Heartfield said: “We were involved with a series of festivals. We had Rewind, which was an 80s music festival.
“We had a few acts that weren’t completely 80s, some were 70s into 80s, and some were 80s into 90s.
“One or two of the acts that were more 90s orientated said ‘you ought to do this’ and we looked at it.”
He added: “I sold all our 80s festivals last year, so we decided, as a bit of fun, to have a go.”
As well as the two main stage headliners this year, the three-day boutique festival also featured performances from Embrace, Cast, Feeder, Space, Heather Small, Faithless star Maxi Jazz and Razorlight.
There were also DJ sets in the Ministry of Sound Big Top from the likes of Dave Pearce, Alex P, Brandon Block and Jazzie B among others.
At Knebworth many festival-goers were reliving the decade with their offspring at a family-friendly event with a relaxed, chilled atmosphere.
Speaking backstage on the first day of Cool Britannia 2018, David Heartfield said: “It’s brilliant.
“We’ve been very lucky with the weather, which always helps, and the audience are great and everyone seems to be enjoying it.”
A major factor in the event’s success is its location in Knebworth Park, the Hertfordshire home of huge outdoor shows by the likes of Queen, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and, of course, Britpop legends Oasis back in the summer of 1996.
David explained: “We looked around at where to put it [Cool Britannia] and Knebworth has got the history.
“The Oasis concerts were here in the 1990s, and Ocean Colour Scene were among the support acts.
“So it just seemed here’s a historic venue, and on this particular site it makes for a really nice boutique venue.”
The venue’s rock history also helps to attract bands, as David acknowledged.
“They like to be part of that... the ‘I’ve played Knebworth’.
“I’m sure it’s on artists’ bucket lists. No doubt it helps.”
The festival’s first year had a capacity of up to 15,000, as organisers tested the waters for such an event.
Judging by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the inaugural festival on social media afterwards, the new Cool Britannia brand has legs, with fans ready to lap up a bit of 90s nostalgia.
“Hopefully we will be back next year,” David Heartfield tells me backstage just as Dodgy launch into If You’re Thinking of Me on the main stage.
“Obviously with the site here you could go up to any number.
“But we wouldn’t go to enormous numbers because it’s not what we do.”
The reason for that, he explains, is that they want to preserve the event’s family-friendly vibe.
“If you get too large then there’s the traffic, the queuing, the queues for toilets, the queues for a beer...
“We will build it up, but not to a ridiculous size which loses its ‘intimate as you can get’ feel at an outdoor gig.”
To highlight the friendly nature of the crowd, the promoter cites one example from the festival’s opening afternoon.
“I loved it on the Friday when the crowds were coming in and over in the campsite there was a cricket match going on.
“The campers had got together and were having a game of cricket, which was brilliant.
“I thought it was fantastic.”
With music from the 90s enjoying a revival, and an appetite from fans for the era, organisers are already planning Cool Britannia’s 2019 return, although no dates or line-up details have been confirmed yet.
While an explosion of 80s festivals has almost exhausted that decade’s musical memories, there’s plenty of 90s groups for booker Jack Gray to approach to build on the success of Cool Britannia’s first year.
“It’s always difficult putting a bill together. It takes months to put it together,” explained Cool Britannia founder David Heartfield.
“It’s more about who’s available on the weekend that you’re doing it as much as anything else.
“And it takes a year or two to build a reputation.
“So I’m sure here [Knebworth] it will build over a number of years.”
It looks as though Cool Britannia is set to rule the waves again.