London is Frank Turner‘s adopted hometown, and the city has been good to him in return. The musician has sold out all of the capital’s biggest venues with Wembley Arena, Alexandra Palace, The O2 Arena, and even a support slot at Wembley Stadium under his belt. What could he possibly do next? The answer to that is Lost Evenings, a 4 day inner-city music festival where each night culminates in Turner headlining at Camden’s iconic Roundhouse. He took time to speak to Benj Cullen ahead of the event.
“I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a festival of my own for a while now” says Turner, when asked about his inspiration for Lost Evenings. “But doing one outside, in a field, is a massive amount of work and risk and I would probably have just ended up duplicating what The Levellers are doing with Beautiful Days.” Though he grew up in Winchester, he cut his musical teeth in London’s pubs and bars from an early age and is repaying his debt to the city by bringing Lost Evenings back to those venues, with sideshows, afterparties, talks, and other events. “After some thinking, I hit on the idea of doing something in Camden at the Roundhouse.”
Turner will headline all 4 nights on the main stage with 4 different shows. How did he decide on what kind of set to play each night? “I wanted to mix it up” he replies. “It’s the 10th anniversary of my first album Sleep Is for the Week, so that’s one of the nights. ‘Sensible Sundays’ was the acoustic open mic night at the bar Nambucca where I started out, so that’s the Sunday. The other two are more normal full-band headline shows”, though with fans travelling to the festival from all around the world, many with 4-day passes, he says that he is “working on getting those setlists to be pretty different and unique.”
“It made sense to try and do it this way, it seems like a new thing for one person to run a festival like this. Plus I adore Camden Town.” Though not a festival planner, as a London-based musician and music-fan Turner is well qualified to curate such an event. However, he does makes sure to mention the help he had. “A massive shout out is due to the people on my team who are putting it together. All of it has been both fun and hard work. Booking the bill was both fun – I got to pick a lot of my favourite bands – and hard, because a lot of people were a little reticent at first, not really getting the vibe. In future I suspect it will be easier.” The inaugural festival is yet to take place but already he sees longevity in the concept. “I’d like to do it year on year, but maybe in different cities around the world. That’s under discussion right now.”
Turner is no stranger to juggling side-projects. Aside from planning a festival, in the last couple of years he has formed a hardcore band – Möngöl Hörde, written a book – The Road Beneath My Feet, and had his tour made in to a film – Get Better. Though his tour rolls on in to the summer, he mentions he’ll be “on tour with Blink-182 and playing a bunch of festivals”, what ‘extra-curricular’ activity would he like to have a go at next? “I’m not sure. Right now I’m very focussed on making my next record proper, but there’s rumblings in the Möngöl Hörde camp.” He finishes by letting slip, “I have another musical project on the go as well…”
According to Frank Turner’s lyrics, “life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings”. If you are a fan of his and in the UK this Spring, the latter is certainly true.