Festivals are now four season affairs. Everyone knows you can get a slice of party in the sun soaked snow whilst the big greenfield giants slumber on mercifully. And one of hottest up and coming parties is the Rise Festival, combining a week long flurry of fun with underground sounds.
Kicking off the action just before Christmas on 10th December, the Rise Festival is one of the first events on the ski music festival season. Still a relative newcomer to the scene, it’s already turning a few heads and developing a growing reputation for good production values.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Rise head honcho Ben Simpson to ask him a few questions about the inspiration behind the festival, the story so far and what might lie in store for fans at this year’s event.
The festival scene is becoming ever more competitive. With a number of established ski festivals now running annually what’s your strategy for standing out from the crowd – and how do you get people coming back?
The way people travel generally is changing, it isn’t just ski festivals it is music tourism as a whole which is amazing to be a part of. We tend not to worry about anything else out there – we throw an incredible party but Rise is all about the adventure – there’s no other alpine festivals with stages at 4000m+ with parties you need to snowshoe to get to!
What’s your secret to motivation on those cold dark mornings when the festival is still weeks away and your diary is full of calls to suppliers, admin tasks and organisation?
Lot’s of coffee! No it’s really seeing our numbers growing each year and people coming back, that people love what we do is motivation enough.
Tell us a little about how you got into the festival game. What was your inspiration and why did you dive into the world of music and events?
We’ve been event promoters in the UK for a long time, we love it – but we were all itchy for something else we went on a trip out to the Alps together and realised the opportunity to put on a festival with a great line up but with adventure at its core was huge so we launched Rise.
Can we tell us what new features will be at Rise in 2016?
Loads! We’ve introduced some new adventure and well-being elements this year – with Rise and Shine Yoga in the mountains and an adventure where you get to snowshoe into the wilderness and cook a wild dinner! We’re also bringing an Xmas German beer market this year, hosted by the guys at Dance Off which we’re really looking forward to – as responsible event organisers we usually spend most of our time telling people to get off the tables – that won’t be the case here!
Rise is somewhat legendary in scale. How do party heads manage to keep going for all 8 days with parties till early morning and snow-sports in the day time, when regular festival folk would simply rest and recuperate? And which do you reckon requires more strength, Rise or Glastonbury?
Rise 100%, it is a bit of a monster with a week with lifts opening at 8am, yoga at 11am partying kicking off at 3pm and going till 4am! We’re always amazed at how much our crowd pack into a week and the stamina they’ve got! I personally pick my battles and tend to sneak in an early night or two.
For someone who has never been to Rise before and is keen to try out all the fun, where should I start, what are the must see events and what’s the best way to pace myself?
Everyone should come to one of our famous secret adventure parties, that’s a must do. We take over a cabin up the mountain, we walk up together there’s always a secret set or something special going on in the most amazing setting.
Are there plans for making Rise bigger or do you want to keep the feel fairly intimate?
We’ve doubled in size every year since 2014, so the growth to date has been pretty unprecedented. We’d like to keep growing but our main priority is putting on the best party in the Alps.
With so many great artists and acts on the line up this year, who are you personally looking forward to seeing and if you could wave a wand a wish a load of success on one of the new breed coming up through the ranks, who would that be?
There’s no one on the line up we’re not hyped to see in the Alps with us this year, if I had to choose one? I’m delighted to have Kano opening the festival for us this year following his mercury prize nomination and being a fan ourselves for a long time.
After a massive summer festival season I’m also really looking forward to seeing My Nu Leng we’re expecting big things from them this year.
Like the sound of the Rise Festival? If you want to get your party thing on at night and catch some crazy sporting action during the day it’s definitely a good mix of fun and entertainment. The event takes place at Les Deux Alpes from 10th-17th December 2016.
Book your tickets and accommodation here
Photos: Courtesy of Rise Festival