Setting up a Music Festival with Dean Freeman

We caught up with Dean, the founder of Wakefields Long Division music festival. Dean will be sharing more of his experience at somewhereto_Hatch A Plan: Wakefield.


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Wakefield, went off to University and then came back. Had a band – didn’t work out – so started writing for a fanzine and putting on some gigs because there was very little of interest happening in the local area to get the creative juices flowing.

What was your inspiration for setting up the Long Division festival?

The fanzine was all about celebrating local creatives, mainly musicians, and it got to the point where I thought – if the bands are this good, why don’t we have a festival? So I just did it. I hated my job too, so I thought this might be a fun thing to do on the side and just see what happens. There was no real goal, just an idea to see if it could happen in Wakefield. People rarely travelled to the city to see gigs and I thought this might be a way to make it happen. It proved to be quite successful.

setting up a music festival

What’s the best experience you’ve had through running Long Division?

It’s both the local people who can’t believe something like this is happening in their city and the people who travel quite a long way and are hugely surprised by how great Wakefield is as a city. Actually, that includes the bands. Many haven’t been before, but the combined value of the festival leaves an impression. Band and fans alike are less scared to come back for none festival stuff once they’ve made that first visit for Long Division.

What are you planning to do at somewhereto_Hatch A Plan?

My concern for quite a few years has been a missing generation in Wakefield. I’m in my thirties now and i’d like there to have been some younger folk to take my place (and others my age) as the driving force in the city. There are a few sets of people in their 20’s making a big difference, but not enough. I just hope that I can share my knowledge and experience and spread word of the decent network in Wakefield for people who want to make things happen.

setting up a music festival

photo credit John Jowett

What’s the best advice you got when starting up your festival?

There was no-one to give me advice. Literally. It hadn’t happened before in the city and I didn’t know anyone else who had done it. But I did read at the time that you need to know why you are doing it. And what is unique about your festival? For us, it was the venues we used, the ridiculous value for money, and for me it was simply to show the world that Wakefield was worth the effort. And I guess, to build something that could grow and continue in the future.

You can meet Dean in person at somewhereto_Hatch A Plan: Wakefield. There’s a limited amount of tickets so be quick!

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