Yungblud shares his vision for BludFest: 'It's going to incite something'

Yungblud shares his vision for BludFest: 'It's going to incite something'

Yungblud has lifted the lid on the 10-year plan for his own festival, Bludfest, and revealed there are already plans to export the brand overseas.

Billed as a righteous alternative to rising ticket prices and homogeneous line-ups, BludFest debuts at Milton Keynes Bowl on August 11 in partnership with AEG Presents UK

Headlined and curated by the chart-topping rocker, it boasts an eclectic supporting cast including Lil Yachty, Soft Play, The Damned, Nessa Barrett, Lola Young and Jazmin Bean, alongside a second stage featuring Noahfinnce, Jesse Jo Stark, Landon Barker, Hannah Grae and Aziya. Yungblud, real name Dom Harrison, has capped admission at £49.50 (excluding fees).

“I see the price of big artists at the minute and I think it’s bullshit," he said. "[The Cure’s] Robert Smith was a massive inspiration last year, because he called it out in America, and I was like, ‘Right, sick, I’m doing it.’ A lot of the fucking industry don’t really like us. A lot of the critics in the UK don’t really like me. My fanbase is all I’ve got and we get each other, so all I want to do is put them first. And I want to fucking play to them."

The Polydor-signed 26-year-old, who stars on the cover of the latest issue of Music Week, felt compelled to take matters into his own hands after becoming disillusioned with the status quo during a run of dates at 6,000/7,000-cap amphitheatres in the US last summer.

“Five hundred seats would be completely empty because they were $200 a ticket," he said. "I’d have 1,000 kids outside the venue who couldn’t afford to come in and I was like, ‘Something’s got to change here.’ People haven’t got a lot of money right now. Offer something that is a reality to their lifestyle.

"I want [BludFest] to be this constant thing that people can come to every year and for it to be affordable, to show that music is for everyone. At the minute, it’s not; it’s becoming inaccessible and that’s bullshit."

It’ll be a celebration of the past five years: from playing to 300 people in Dingwalls in Camden to Milton Keynes Bowl at nearly 30,000

Dom Harrison

Harrison revealed Warwick Castle was originally earmarked to host the festival, until the realisation dawned that a bigger stage was required. 

"We [chose Milton Keynes] Bowl because it can hold between 25,000 and 70,000, so the next 10 years are going to probably get us to that 70,000 mark," he said. "I’m really happy with the way tickets have gone; it’s going to be mobbed and the biggest show we’ve played. It’ll be a celebration of the past five years: from playing to 300 people in Dingwalls in Camden to Milton Keynes Bowl at nearly 30,000.”

Doncaster-born Harrison admitted he expected to ruffle feathers within the live business, describing the idea of BludFest as "poking the bear".

“It should piss promoters off," he said. "It should piss an industry off that has been taking the piss for a while. Everything I do pisses people off, so I was pretty geared up for it."

BludFest will feature a Make A Friend tent alongside free photo booths, as well as designated safe spaces and welfare areas. A Yungblud museum will showcase artefacts from across Harrison’s career while, in a further quirky addition, one of the festival bars is being remodelled to emulate his favourite pub, Camden’s The Hawley Arms, complete with its own branded burger. 

“My vibe is to uplift young artists, to bring people together, let them make memories and have a really good time," he added. "If people can’t see I’m trying to do it from a place of love, that’s when I’ve got a problem with them.

"I want to change things and this is me putting my money where my mouth is. I took a fucking risk and I could have burnt a lot of bridges, but I always wanted to do it respectfully."

We’re talking about taking it to America and Australia... It’s about positive change and giving power back to the artists

Dom Harrison

Moreover, Harrison said discussions have taken place about holding potential international editions of BludFest as soon as 2025.

“We’re talking about taking it to America and Australia," he said. "I’m going to try and reach out to The Smashing Pumpkins or The Cure for next year, then the plan is to take it to America in the middle of the year. That looks like it’s happening. 

“It’s definitely going to incite something," he continued. "I think it already has, and the fact that America wants it is pretty big. My agent, [CAA’s] Paul Franklin, has been incredible at facilitating every mad idea or telling me if it’s too mad. But I called him and he was like, ‘No, I don’t think it’s too mad, it’s exciting.’

"It’s about positive change and giving power back to the artists. If you look at Raye talking about songwriters, or me putting on my own festival, as long as enough people follow you into the fucking breach, then it will change.”

Subscribers can read the full interview with Harrison, along with his management team at Special Projects and promoter AEG Presents UK, here.

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