‘New bands are really important for me, so the uncommon stage is vital’: An Interview with Rob da Bank

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I had the opportunity to interview Rob da Bank ahead of Common People next week. We chatted about his Hampshire roots, what inspired Common People and I even asked him about his favourite holiday…

Common People is in its third year now after a successful two years. As a new metropolitan festival, with a huge appeal to families, it’s not hard to see why thousands of people flock to the common each time. It seems Rob is pleased with the feedback from Common People: ‘I always said the South Coast needs more festivals and now the South Coast is doing really well!’

Rob is no doubt referring to the success of his other festivals Bestival and Camp Bestival, both now based in Lulworth, yet significantly longer than Southampton and Oxford’s 2 day event. Not forgetting the success of other Hampshire-based festivals such as Boomtown, the South really is doing well for music fans. For Common People, the appeal is certainly for those who ‘don’t want to camp for four days’ but still want to listen to some fantastic music in the sunshine.

This year’s line-up is yet again, very strong, with Sean Paul and Pete Tong sharing the weekend. I asked Rob how he went about choosing the headliners, particularly Sean Paul. Rob talks of how Sean Paul was at Bestival last year and was invited to Southampton because he ‘rocked it.’ We talk about his appeal to teenagers and how Rob listened to Sean Paul growing up himself. I think we can all agree that Sean Paul is top of his game at the moment, and I certainly cannot wait to see him perform next weekend on Sunday night.

I asked Rob whether there’s been any problems with Common People, and he responded: ‘It’s been fairly smooth in the world of festivals!’ Rob is a DJ as well as a curator for the Bestival Family, so I wanted to know whether his musical tastes have influenced any of the acts that get to perform at common people, particularly on the uncommon and uncontained stage.

Laughing, he responded: ‘I think everything that’s on the bill is something [..] I wanted or [have]given a nod to [..] The uncommon stage has indie, folk, rock and blues – I think that’s important because we have the main stage that has a lot of big pop and dance stuff. New bands are really important for me, so the uncommon stage is vital.’

Talking of the success of Common People and the number of locations, I asked him whether he hoped to expand it in the future. He responded: ‘I think we’re pretty happy with two at the moment […] We’ve got about 4/5 shows each year so we don’t want to over-do it. We’re not trying to take over the world!’ Containing, he said that ‘Festival land at the moment is extremely competitive […] it’s hard work.’ ‘We’re doing really well with our shows.’

I knew that Rob was a keen traveller so I couldn’t leave the interview without asking him his favourite holiday destination… ‘Bali. We went there for the first time a couple of years ago […] amazing place […] very modern parts [yet]old and traditional […] beautiful.’

Common People is on the 27th and 28th May (bank holiday). Tickets can be purchased here.

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