What to Expect at Stoketoberfest: an Interview with Stoke’s Festival Designer

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We’re here with Josh, who’s lord of design and image here at Stoke Travel.  What does that mean, Josh, can you tell us a bit about what you do at Stoke?

I always like to say that my job at Stoke Travel is a mix between painting porn and dancing in cages. The latter is more a personal release than an actual part of my job description, but I like to believe it’s one of the reasons they keep me around.

In reality (something we like to keep as far from Stoke as possible) I am the festival designer for Stoke Travel. From the initial marketing, to where each marquee sits, down to the styles of lettering on our signs, I work to give each of Stoke Travel’s events our specific festival vibe. A bit of risque, a lot of the unexpected and loads of our particular brand of festival within the festival.

 

What goes into designing a festival like Stoketoberfest?

Stoketoberfest is an event we begin planning from practically the minute it ends the year before. I start collecting inspiration and references from all the locations we travel to and parties we have. Then comes the rough sketches and thumbnails, filling scraps of paper and little sketchbooks I carry everywhere. Once I’ve got my ideas sorted, I begin shopping. Thankfully my gay genes come into play nicely here and I spend hours in markets, sex shops, and the occasional strip club hunting for items to use in the set.

Even with all the pieces bought, the most important factor of designing these festivals is the team who brings it all together. We spend all year searching for the best group of chippies, sparkies and artists to work on our festivals. Everyday we start off with a squat circle, turn on the 70’s Roadtrip playlist, look at the sketch for the day and start creating. The setup for Oktoberfest is as long as the festival itself– around 3 weeks. In that time we create hangout spaces, bars, kitchens, stages, shisha lounges, and an epic main area. By the time we finish, we want the experience of Stoketoberfest to be just as memorable as the actual festival.

In many ways I want Stoketoberfest to have callbacks to all the festivals we have done throughout the year. So if you travelled with us to La Tomatina, you might see something familiar appear again in the world of Oktoberfest. Sometimes you have to be extra switched on to pick up on the reference.

 

So you’ve got some exciting news about the entertainment we have lined up this year?

This year we’ve got a ton of entertainment for the three weeks of the festival: Aussie, Kiwi, and Catalan bands, techno DJs, magicians, circus performers, walking photo booths, carnival games, live paintings, a boob tunnel, glitter people, fire breathers, and of course the Wheel of Misfortune. One thing I’m really excited to announce is that we’ll have DJ Nado, a U.S. Radio DJ with over a million weekly listeners. He’ll be performing our second and third weekends on Friday and Saturday, and broadcasting live through Stoketoberfest back to the US west coast. Another exciting addition to the lineup is MNKYBSNSS. The DJ duo from Bogota, Colombia with number ones on Itunes and Spotify Colombia will be coming to Stoketoberfest to play some sick sets for our second and third weekends.

 

Why MNKYBSNSS?

We are always looking for musicians with a great sound that would vibe with the Stoke Travel audience and the feel of our festival, and MNKYBSNSS hits both. The guitars, echoing vocals, and synth background are a great hit with our audience and add to the vibe of our festival in the german forest.

And the line-up also includes some bands that have been touring with Stoke all summer, right?

That’s right. Honey Haze, Mesmeriser and Kiwi Pips will join us again in Munich. These guys have been with us from London Big Day Out (rocking 4000 odd Aussies, Kiwis, and Londoners), to San Vino, then the first ever Stoked in the Park Pamplona and Running of the Bulls, La Tomatina, and finally here.

 

There’s a lot more to the entertainment at Stoketoberfest than just music though, what else can guests expect to see while they’re staying with Stoke?

Guests can expect to never have a dull moment at Stoketoberfest, with all the shows and activities and a rad group of Stokies to hang with. In fact, we pride ourselves on the number of customers that come to Stoketoberfest and have so much fun that they don’t even see the real Oktoberfest.

 

That’s a lot going on for a simple pop-up hostel, why does Stoke do so much more than just set up tents?

Stoke has developed the festival within the festival concept because we believe travel is so much more than your bed. Really, where you lay your head means the least. It’s the people you meet and the things you experience that really matter. That’s why we have implemented the spectacle. (Insert gay hand motions here) The spectacle of chef-prepared meals catering to all tastes (and the most finicky of dietary requirements). The spectacle of staff who are fellow backpackers, students, and travellers who want to have the same good times as you. The spectacle of weird, wonderful and thought provoking entertainment. Production, decoration, theatre, music, all go that extra mile to make your stay so much more than a bed. And of course the spectacle provided by an open bar of unlimited beer and sangria.

Give us the details: What are the important dates, the need to know info?

Stoketoberfest starts September 20th and goes until October 8th. But I’d recommend booking now! Stoke have weekend trains and buses from London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Italy and Prague. There’s camping, there’s glamping, there’s something for everybody to experience at the festival within the festival.

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