Splendour Festival 2023: What goes into throwing Nottingham’s biggest party?

To celebrate 15 years of one of the Midland’s biggest music event, Nottingham World speaks to DHP’s Joe Patten about what it takes to organise the festival
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The festival, which will take place on Saturday, July 22 to Sunday, July 23 , has a proud history of bringing international artists to Wollaton Hall, with previous line ups featuring acts like Kaiser Chiefs, Jake Bugg, Becky Hill, and Pet Shop Boys. The festival brought 23,000 music fans per day to the iconic Nottingham park.

To celebrate the festival’s anniversary, we spoke to Festival Booker Joe Patten who helps organise Splendour festival. Joe started his work with the DHP family 11 years ago when he was working as a bartender at the Bodega.

He became more involved in gigs and knew he wanted to work in the head office, eventually getting an assistant job and moving into a few different roles. He said: “It kinda clicked that there was so much more going on than gigs at Rock City or the Bodega. It ignited a bit of a fire in me to want to be more involved.”

This year’s line up has some big names on the set list with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Madness, and The Kooks all performing.

Joe explained that organising the festival begins over a year before the festival starts and that they have already started organising the line up for Splendour 2024. He said: “There’s probably a list of about 10 acts that we try or ask nearly every year. Noel Gallagher was one, I think we’ve tried him for the past at least seven years.”

Speaking about his favourite acts, Joe said: “It’s when it’s surprising that it’s really good. I remember seeing The Human League and they were really really good, like staggering. All Saints, I was a kid when they were massive, and they were just amazing, same with Rag and Bone Man. It’s when the crowd are really into it as well.”

Looking back on the past years of the festival, Joe said that 2022 was his favourite so far. Being the first show after the COVID pandemic and the first time Splendour was split over two days, it was a significant event which helped get the music industry back on track.

The 2022 festival was the first big event that a lot of people went to since COVID, including Joe’s own mum who attends Splendour every year. Being involved in the event has given Joe an insight into the band’s lives too. He recounted one of the funnier encounters he had had while setting up for the festival.

“I remember one year, I was working for the marketing team and The Darkness pulled up in their tour bus,” he said, “They’re a really amazing live act, very energetic and they were still wearing catsuits at the time.

“They all had a mug of tea and were reading the Saturday paper outside their tour bus in flip-flops and swimming shorts. You just think oh yeah that’s kinda what I do on a Saturday morning. That’s very normal but in six or seven hours time they’ll be entertaining everyone and making everyone go mad for their music.”