We’re turning the lens on some of the brilliant and highly-skilled professionals behind the scenes at Standon Calling festival.
Turning a festival dream into a reality each year, you simply wouldn’t have the festival you know and love without them.
First up, we get to know the production guru and all round festival superwoman – Clare.
My name is Clare Goodchild, and I am the Event Director of Standon Calling Festival. In a nutshell, my role is to oversee all the operational elements of the festival; things like security, medical, traffic, crowd management, campsites, health and safety, licences. I am usually hiding away behind the scenes, but I lead a team of people who work to make sure that the audience are kept safe and well whilst they are on site.
I have been in the festival industry for 15 years now, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
I am a real event geek through and through. My passion is making a festival run smoothly for the audience and the staff. I am the kind of person who spends my spare time thinking about where signs go so that you can find the toilets in-between acts, how many security patrols will help you feel safe, or how big the crowd will be at each stage. When these things go right, I am in my element.
Done right, my job incorporates all the things that the audience don’t even think about – they all appear to happen naturally. But we have a big team behind the scenes. We plan for 9 months of the year, and with that planning you are bound to hit challenges; even if it is just how to keep the show fresh and exciting after 15 years. However, along with the challenges come learning and growth. I don’t think I would be in the industry if I didn’t feel like I was learning something new every day. It definitely keeps the job interesting, and it definitely keeps you on your toes!
As someone who works during the live show, I often don’t have a chance to enjoy it in the same way as the audience. But there are usually a few moments that make me realise how much I love festivals. The first one is when we test all the lights, the night before we open to the public. The whole show is ready to go, clean tidy, looking amazing… then you turn the lights on to test it. At that moment you get to see all your work in its full glory and realise what a crazy feat it is to create this small town, just for a couple of days. It’s always a special moment.
The second one usually comes randomly during the show weekend. There will be one moment that sneaks up on me, but makes me grin with pride. It might be the audience singing along to a headliner, a kid dancing in the rain, or some mates showing off their home-made fancy dress costumes. But it is in those moments that I get goose bumps and realise that festivals are sacred pockets of joy, fun, freedom, and expression. For some people, they might be the only chance all year that they get to really let go of the real world; and how can you not love that?!
For me it is the atmosphere – both before and after the audience arrive.
Before the audience arrive, we spend about 2 weeks building the festival with the most amazing team. Most of them have worked on the show for a long time, and there are really strong team bonds. Not just that, but there is real expert knowledge and an awareness that we can deliver something special when we all work together. And then there are the locals, walking their dogs, catching up with us or sharing a pint in the pub. Standon has real support in the community, and it’s really nice to see those friendly faces.
But after those two weeks building the festival, the audience arrive, and the atmosphere is taken up a few notches! My favourite thing is walking around and seeing all the different groups of people that attend the show and how everyone comes together. When you see people smiling and dancing (even in a thunderstorm) you know that you are at a good festival.
And of course, how can I forget… the dogs. As a dog lover, they are the icing on the cake. I mean, where else but Standon Calling can you party all weekend, WITH YOUR DOG?!