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Leefest: the garden party that got out of hand

Posted at 10:00 am, July 11, 2013 in Music & Nightlife
Lee Denny from Leefest

‘My mum and dad were going on holiday. I was 16, and they said: “No house parties, absolutely not.” They’d literally just left and one of my friends piped up: “Hey, why don’t we do a music festival in the garden? That’s not in the house!” It’s hard to think back to that mindset, but at the time we felt we’d got them on a technicality.

‘We’ve learnt a lot about crafting a festival since [early Leefests were booted out of their sites for being too noisy], but it got to the point this year where we needed some investment. We’d had a couple of headline sponsorship offers, but that couldn’t have been the end of the story: a group of friends set up a festival while their parents are away, then a multi-national company buys it!

‘In April this year we ran a 30-day campaign to raise a target of £50,000. In return for people’s investment they got to join a board of creative directors: the Campfire Cabinet. The Cabinet now has 400 members and we raised £51,900.

‘I’m the face of the festival, and I feel that responsibility, but I’m not the main attraction – I’m only a celebrity to 14-year-old girls who want to have their photos taken with me. I do get some tiny moments to reflect as I’m running around the site, especially at dusk when all the lights are coming on and the whole place becomes this magical city that you and a group of friends have built.

‘Future plans? Book David Bowie – he used to live down the road from where we started. We have a big campaign called “Bring Bowie Back”. We’re just waiting for him to call us.’ Jonny Ensall

Leefest runs from Fri Jul 12 to Sun Jul 14. See more info on Leefest.

Looking for more music festivals this summer? Check out our month-by-month guide.

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