Spotlight: Love Trails Festival | News | MN2S

MN2S have booked Hackney Colliery Band as the headline act for this year’s Love Trails festival. We spoke with two of the festival’s organisers to hear about the vision behind this unique event.

The festival market is over-saturated, there’s no doubt about it. With so many options to choose from, it’s down to festival organisers to do something different, to find an exciting niche that hasn’t already been explored by other events. That’s exactly what Theo Larn-Jones and Ollie Baxter, two members of the founding team of Love Trails, have achieved. Their festival combines three fundamental pillars – running, music and well-being – to produce a unique and dynamic festival experience, set against the picturesque backdrop of the Gower Peninsula.

Love Trails features a packed schedule of guided runs, work-outs, workshops, surfing, rock climbing, and yoga, followed by live music, food and drink for when you need to give your quads a rest. Headlining the festival this year are the incredible Hackney Colliery Band, an explosive brass band known for their roof-raising live performances – the group memorably performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Going against the conventional festival model of delirium and debauchery, and proving that hedonism doesn’t necessarily have to be harmful to your health, Love Trails is a wholesome and inspirational festival for those who like to let loose while remaining conscious of their health and well-being. We spoke with two of the festival’s organisers, Theo and Ollie, to hear more about their vision.

Love Trails Lineup

How long has Love Trails been in operation?

Theo: 2019 will be our 4th year, but sometimes we don’t count the first one, as it was really a private party for 30 or so mates.

What inspired you to set up the festival in the first place?

Theo: I’d wanted to work in music festivals for a few years and was looking for a change from my job in corporate events. Love Trails started as a weekend away for 30 mates in summer 2016. It was a kind of micro-festival I guess, to test the format and get some feedback from our friends. George Restall (Love Trails co-founder) and I put on a weekend that we wished existed, but didn’t. We quickly realised loads of the people coming ran with a London running crew, so we started getting different crews involved in various ways. We now have partnerships with dozens of running crews and clubs: it’s a festival for these guys at it’s heart. The concept hasn’t changed a massive amount since then, and it’s snowballed organically from there. 

Ollie: Theo and I are very old friends, and over ten years ago we were both involved in setting up a much smaller music festival in our home town. It was a very DIY affair (and certainly more debauched) but we cut our teeth on that. It was the first time I’d been involved in creating an event for many absolute strangers and was able to watch them experience it, and I really got a buzz from that. Theo’s kept many of the people that volunteered at those original parties involved in this one, including Matt (who founded that festival) who curates all the incredible food at Love Trails.

To return from an epic run along beautiful coastal trails to the Love Trails site to hear a really exciting act from the main stage with a quality beer in hand – it’s a unique combination.

What makes Love Trails different from every other festival out there?

Theo: Quite simply there isn’t another festival out there globally that combines running with a fully curated programme of live music acts and DJs like we do. It’s completely new, and so fun to be working out what works and what doesn’t. To return from an epic run along beautiful coastal trails to the Love Trails site to hear a really exciting act from the main stage with a quality beer in hand – it’s a unique combination and it just works so well in a festival setting.  

Ollie: From my perspective, we put a lot of effort into booking the acts that will play – but programming the music is an interesting challenge, as we sort of have to predict the audience’s energy levels at any one time. If they’ve just arrived back from a 60k run with sore legs, they may want to listen to a totally different kind of music to when they’ve just finished the Beer Mile relay or are just experiencing a massive adrenaline rush from going coasteering. You definitely won’t find that range of activities at another music festival!

Life-affirming, well-being-enhancing, adrenaline-pumping – and you can expect to come away with a bunch of new friends too.

What led you to combine running, wellbeing, adventure and music into one single event?

Theo: We wondered why it hadn’t been done before! We combined four great things we loved in equal measure and brought it all together in a festival, and it just works so well.

What kind of experience can punters expect from Love Trails?

Theo: They can expect an inclusive and inspirational few days combining running, adventure and music. It’s the perfect balance between trying something new, being active & feeling good, with a party that runs well into the night. Life-affirming, well-being-enhancing, adrenaline-pumping – and you can expect to come away with a bunch of new friends too.

Hackney Colliery Band are our Saturday night headliners, and I know they’re going to absolutely bring the house down.

Hackney Colliery Band are headlining this year’s Love Trails – what made you choose them for your headline spot?

Ollie: Hackney Colliery Band are our Saturday night headliners, and I know they’re going to absolutely bring the house down. I first heard them on BBC Radio 6, then saw them at Brixton Jamm in London soon after. They just get better and better live each time I see them. We saw them headline Rise Festival in the French Alps at the end of last year, and they’re now full-on party headliners. So much talent and energy crammed onto one stage. 

Also, as we’re a bit of a different kind of festival, we’re not defined by a music genre as our audience has such eclectic music tastes. I think you’d struggle to find a live act that routinely blend so many genres into one set.

What are your plans for the future?

Theo: We are really pleased with how the format is taking off with Love Trails and I think the brand has a really exciting future ahead of it. At this point, with 2500 attendees expected this summer, we are still focused on growing the event. We are also looking at expanding internationally in good time…

Do you need a show-stopping headliner for your next festival or event?

Take a look at our live roster, or get in touch today.

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MN2S represents Hackney Colliery Band and 1633 other Live Acts. View artist bio

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