Glastonbury, Download, Boardmasters: iconic UK music festivals that require little promotion, with the symbolic Somerset festival alone selling out in 25 minutes last year.
In an industry that rakes in £1.1 billion a year, and attracts 3.7 million festival attendees annually like clockwork, how can you crash such a crowded party?
Print offers a powerful toolkit for smaller promoters: amplifying their voice and helping them to get their message out to the masses. Print connects people to your purpose and it’s a great way to expand your audience, as Katy Emmett from Mighty Events Ltd has discovered.
Introducing Mighty Dub Fest
Volkswagen campervans, live music, fabulous food and brilliant brews. Mighty Dub Fest certainly sounds like a recipe for a whole lot of fun.
Make no mistake, this thriving festival is the result of a lot of hard work and hard-won business experience.
In fact, Mighty Dub Fest has grown so much, that it had to change venues three times during its fledgling years, eventually becoming the North-East’s largest VW festival.
Run by Katy Emmett and her dad Bruce, Mighty Dub Fest has been going for 12 years now. Established in 2010, co-organiser Katy, was just 11 when VW campers first started to flock to Northumberland.
Now 24, Katy takes great pride in running this marquee event in the VW fanatic’s calendar. The festival now attracts north of 5000 people who bring camper vans, beetles and more along for the ride.
Since 2015, Mighty Dub Fest has made its home in the stunning surroundings of Alnwick Castle Pastures, made famous as the location of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter movies. We got in touch with Katy to find out more about how the magic happens.
A festival steeped in history
Something of a collector’s item today, why are VW’s so popular and what makes a festival surrounding them so appealing?
The first official Volkswagen van, the VW T2, was put into production in 1949. Throughout the 1950s, the T2 was originally used for ambulances, fire engines, and ice-cream vans before it became known as a campervan.
Their classic, charming design has retained its appeal throughout the decades, in a way that few other motor vehicles have managed.
Synonymous with the hippie generation, VW’s have a rich history intertwined with camping and music.
Magic isn’t just synonymous with the festival’s sleeping arrangements, there’s also an enormous sprinkle of magic in its location.
Alnwick Castle was home to Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and co during the filming of the first two Harry Potter films, The Philosopher’s Stone, and The Chamber of Secrets.
The second-largest inhabited castle in England, second only to Windsor Castle, Alnwick has stood since 1096, so it’s likely that an army of VW’s is not the rowdiest crowd that’s ever massed outside its walls!
A growing family
A festival for all ages, Katy makes sure everyone is entertained. Magic shows for kids, a silent disco for the family, and late-night bingo.
Katy estimates that 99% of their festival-goers camp on-site, with approximately 80% staying in VW campers. Whether they’re in vans or tents, everyone on-site gets to enjoy a view of the ancient Alnwick Castle.
Growing the popularity of Mighty Dub Fest is not the only goal Katy and Bruce are working towards. Their success has resulted in them forming their own company, Mighty Events, which now has seven other festivals under its wing.
Mighty Events’ latest venture is called Happy 80’s and takes place from the 19th to the 21st of August at West Benridge Farm, Morpeth. With the popularity of 80’s fancy dress in evidence at Mighty Dub Fest, Katy and Bruce knew that an 80s theme could sustain its own yearly event.
This new venture will see 80’s tribute acts performing live alongside great food concessions and an on-site bar. So, once you’ve had your fill of gears, grease and grubbiness at Mighty Dub Fest, Happy 80’s offers an altogether glitzier alternative that will get you footloose and dirty dancing in the fields.
Vans behaving badly
As you can probably imagine, running a VW festival comes with its own unique set of challenges that the likes of Glastonbury might not have to deal with. VW campers are drenched in history and have become something of a collector’s item.
But as the decades roll by, reliability concerns start to creep in. As Katy herself readily admits, her own custom painted T4 campervan has had its fair share of “issues.”
A pandemic pitstop
Having been shaken up by the last two years of turmoil, Mighty Dub Fest is on track to have its smoothest running weekend since 2019.
Unsurprisingly, the largest VW festival in the North-East had to cancel the party in 2020, much like every UK festival.
Threatened with the potential of being cancelled two years running, Katy decided to push the event back a month. In the end, the 2021 edition took place from the 30th of July to the 1st of August, and it was their most successful festival to date!
Katy added: ‘It was our biggest event ever! It was the first event a lot of people had the chance to get excited for in ages and we had the largest amount of people we’ve ever had; it was a great weekend.’
With the cloud of Covid no longer looming over this summer’s events, Mighty Dub Fest 2022 is scheduled for the 17th – 19th of June.
Printed to party
Mighty Dub Fest invested in a range of print to promote last year’s festival and has repeated the winning formula for this year’s up and coming event. Flyers and Leaflets, Stickers, Labels, Window Stickers, Business Cards, Stapled Brochures, and Vinyl Banners, are all in the marketing mix once again. As a result, tickets for 2022’s festival are set to be the most sought-after ever thanks to this comprehensive campaign.
Katy added: ‘It’s a thing for VW festivals to have their own unique sticker to hand out to their campers so people can say ‘been there, done that!’’
Bumper stickers need to be able to withstand the temperamental English weather, whether that’s bombardment from UV rays or driving rain. Our Waterproof Stickers are an ideal candidate for a car sticker with transparent backed options for windows and opaque for bumpers.
Mighty Dub Fest is now the largest VW festival in the North-East of England and with some vans carrying stickers from the 2012 edition of the festival, it’s clear people can’t get tired of what’s on offer.
Dubbing into the future
Katy is looking to purchase some more Solopress goodies in the future, with her eyes locked on Mighty Events Branded Gazebos and Printed Tablecloths to add extra coverage for what is already fast becoming a well-loved and widely recognized brand.
To see the whole range of music, events, kids’ entertainment and all the festival food you could dream of, take a look at the incredible line-up planned for Mighty Dub Fest 2022 – and there is still so much more that’s yet to be announced!
We can’t wait to see how print can help Katy and Mighty Dub Fest this year for what looks like a weekend that will drive you wild and leave you exhausted by the end.