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Amplified festival – the interview

We spoke to Chelle Shaw, part of the Amplified festival media team to get her thoughts on the festival and her colleagues…

So Miss Shaw, can you introduce yourself and tell us what your role at Amplified is?

I’m Chelle, more commonly known as Red, press tent manager, the fluffy bunny that looks after visiting media, and helps the bands find their interviewers. Bands or their management will hear from me just before the festival so I can book them in for in house interviews with our lovely interview team and offer them portraits with our Den of Doom.

Is that a nice way of saying you’re responsible for shouting at the press and photographers?

No one has made me shout so far, there’s been a few Paddington bear hard stares though.

Can you comment on the rumour that the corpse of a particularly annoying member of the press has been buried somwwhere under the site since last year’s event?

I can neither confirm or deny this rumour but I can say I would never bury a body on site as it could be hazardous to the sheep that live there the rest of the year. However our head photographer did have a new patio fitted after Amplified last year, I wouldn’t like to speculate what could or could not be beneath it.

What’s the festival capacity?

5,000.

How big is the arena? (i.e are there miles to walk between stages?)

It’s a rather nice size, the stages are a couple of minutes walk away from each other, there’s space to sit and eat or just catch up with friends and if you need to walk back to your tent we are talking five minutes or so. The view surrounding the site is beyond beautiful.

How many stages are there and do the bands clash with other stages?

We have three stages: Red Stripe Main Stage, VMA second stage and the ever popular G’s Bar Stage. The Red Stripe and VMA stages are staggered, Gary the boss man does this to ensure that everyone can see all the bands they’ve paid to see. It does take extra organisation as you can imagine but it’s worth it for the fans.
G’s bar runs all day so there’s always a good alternative to what’s on offer on the main stages. And yes we do allow people to dance on the bar, we like to have fun.

At some festivals the stages are ridiculously high. What are they like at Amplied – in other words can a shortarse see ok?

Not going to lie, we are a team of short arses so the stages match, even Head Photographer Sean Larkin can see comfortably, we don’t even need to lift him on a stool.

How do you think the atmosphere compares to other rock/metal festivals?

All festivals have a good atmosphere that they make their own and we are no different. The crew are a friendly bunch and I like to think that makes us rather welcoming, approachable. As you know the festival was hit by a hurricane the first year and the hottest weekend of 2018 last year, coining the term Amplifried. I think both those situations encouraged people to pull together, it formed an extended family feel, I know we are all aiming to keep that.

How expensive is food and drink at the festival?

The food is average price I’d say, I tried the Lebanese sharing meal with one of my sons on the Saturday. The food vendors set their own food prices and I think it was a tenner, couldn’t finish it all plus it was superb quality. This year I believe everything in the bar will be £5, beer a fiver, jack and coke a fiver etc it should simplify everything and cut queues at busy times dramatically.

What do fans who opt for VIP tickets get that other fans don’t?

VIP comes with an Amplified Goodie Bag which includes a Limited Edition Amplified T.Shirt, Complementary Parking (normally £10), Complementary Shower and Drinks token (normally £5 each).
Access to the VIP Hospitality Bar and Exclusive Comedy Entertainment plus a chance to mingle with the stars and board Bob’s Blundabus.

How late does the music go on for people to enjoy?

Main stage closes at 11pm.  G’s bar headliners go on at 11pm and come off at 11.59pm. The bar itself is licensed to 3am.

If you were told you could go and watch any five of the bands playing this year’s event, which five would they be?

Five bands? blimey that’s luxury right there, I saw one song from three bands last year .
There’s so many on this line up that I would love to see, it’s hard to whittle it down to five but here goes. Ugly Kid Joe, my teen years right there.
Mushroomhead, I may sneak back to my togging roots for them.
Dishonour the Crown
Primitai
Wretched Soul.

What is the Amplified mentor programme?

I’m incredibly proud of our Mentor programme, we ran a trial last year for two young photographers. Aged between 14 – 18. Our Mentor Manager, Mark Ellis, who has been affectionately named festival dad by all involved, was an absolute star throughout and we truly couldn’t have anyone better for this role.
Delta and Sian won the online competition with their entered images, were invited to join press as photographers with festival dad teaching them everything from camera settings, composing shots for both webzines and print (yes there’s a difference), editing, pit etiquette and everything in between. We asked them if we could use their shots as they retain copyright of their work and they truly did themselves proud. To be honest some of the old guard could learn from what the girls achieved.
We watched Sian and Delta grow so much over the three days, from my perspective it was amazing to be part of something so special.
This year we are expanding the programme from two photographers to include bloggers, interviewers, film crew, drum techs, guitar techs and festival management. It’s hugely exciting.

Since the Amplified team all have a good sense of humour, describe the various team members without naming them, in such a way it’s obvious which one is which.

We have a potato obsessed leprechaun, a brightly bearded grumpy gnome, a Paris Hilton with extra luggage, the ugly dwarf, cheeky ginger school boy and a total utter mega bitch. Guess which one is me *grins*

You’re well known for having lots of dogs. Which of the Amplified team would you say is most like your dog Shadow?

Hahaha, as Shadow is my beloved doofus Akita who walks into lampposts, what you are actually asking is ‘who is our resident village idiot’? That’s tricky as we all possess our inner village eejit although some are slightly more gifted in this field.  Well you know what they say – if you can’t work out which of your friends/colleagues is the doofus, it’s probably you!

is it true that Mdeia relations manager, Will Tudor’s beard is actually a fake which is how he can change it’s colour so easily?

Completely true. It’s an independent gender fluid chameleon based life form answering to the name Frederich Von Haariness. Will has used honey mead to train Frederich to attach itself to his face via a cleverly hidden Velcro system.

What’s the stupidest thing you’ve seen someone do at Amplified?

I think that would actually involve me. Hottest weekend in a million years and I took individual packs of haribo for our visiting media, it melted, And it melted everywhere. Anyone attempting to argue with me was a close second on the stupid scale.

What’s your favourite memory from Amplified so far?

It’s just not possible to pick one single memory… for me it was a bigger picture thing; the way the team worked tirelessly and I mean tirelessly, the laughter, people pulling together to solve any problems and above all it was watching our festival goers enjoying their weekend. I think back to rushing by the main stage on a mission and stopping briefly to watch the crowd happily singing to Evil Scarecrow and I smile. Amplified makes me smile.

For more information about the festival visit https://amplifiedrocks.com/

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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