ldner #209: tom baker

Our LDNER this week has a very busy weekend coming up because it’s the 2017 edition of Field Day this Saturday and he’s the man behind the whole operation. Yes since 2007 Tom Baker has been putting on our fave festival in Vicky Park, so we caught up with him to find out just how much work goes on behind the scenes…

Where do you live in London and what do you like about the area?

I live in Dalston, bordering Stoke Newington, and have done for the last 12 years. When I first moved to this area it wasn’t like it is now, with new housing developments and trendy coffee shops and restaurants popping up almost monthly, and house prices off the scale. It’s gradually becoming more and more gentrified. However, there is still a great mix of cultures with Ridley Road Market still thriving and a large Turkish community. I love all the green spaces with Hackney Downs (which I am lucky enough to walk across daily to the office), Clissold Park, Hackney Marshes and Springfield Park not far either.

How much work really goes into setting up a festival?

Well I think about it all the time! But as for workload it’s very much all year round. Obviously it’s more intense at times, the main busy periods are when we make the offers to the artists around September to November, and at the same time we are very much focused on how to announce, devising marketing campaigns and confirming the identity and artwork. Then it’s constant from January promoting the event until about May when it’s a mix of juggling promotion, guest list requests and various on-site technical questions in the run up to the actual weekend.

Field Day has been going for ten years, what’s been your highlight from the past decade?

It’s hard too say, as there have been so many moments. Watching Caribou play the first ever Field Day in 2007 and then to have them headline in 2015 was a special moment. Field Day has always been about mixing genres of music and not about one style or one sound, so it has been a real honour to have the likes of Toumani Diabate close a stage and Thomas Mapfumo play the main outside Eat Your Own Ears stage.

Are there any artists you really want to play the festival but haven’t managed to book so far?

Kate Bush, Radiohead and Talking Heads – these would be incredible!!

What are you listening to at the moment?

I’m totally addicted to the new Slowdive album ‘Slowdive’, I have always been a huge fan so its very exciting to have them play Field Day and also release such a gloriously lush album before Field Day. It’s their first in 22 years, so obviously a lot of expectation and pressure, but it sounds fresh and exciting as well as having the unique Slowdive sound.

Describe your perfect day in London.

I guess would be a Sunday. The sun is shining, blue skies, flat white and pancakes at home, then walk to and around Springfield Park / Hackney Mashes with Hazen and May and have egg and bacon sandwiches at the small cafe down by the Boat Club on the canal for lunch. Back home for mid-afternoon to listen to some classics (Neil Young, Miles Davies, Chick Corea, Thelonious Monk – I do tend to listen to mostly jazz at the weekends), perhaps mow the grass and then go for pizza and a Field Day Five Points at Sodo Pizza Café in Clapton.


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