How the West Was Won: Tips from a Force Behind the Festival
Meet Joel Borg, one of the forces behind the most interesting festival in the Nordics, Gothenburg’s Way Out West. This weekend’s edition, with headlining acts such as Outkast, Robyn, Yasiin Bey, and Veronica Maggio, is expected to attract more than 25,000 people.
Joel, what are you doing right now?
I’m on the train. Trying to answer all my e-mail. Listening to Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.”
Can you give us a hint as to what to expect from the festival, and what is new this year?
Way Out West will be the first major Swedish festival in history that will serve only organic beer, and all the merch/clothes are organic. There is also a new stage in Slottsskogen called Dungen, where we will host the biggest Boiler Room yet. The festival is more sustainable than ever, and last year we became the world’s first music festival to be certified ISO 20121.
Any tips for those of us heading over to WOW?
Yes! Apart from the music, we have a great film program, nice art—the whole festival site is amazing. Be sure to see bands you haven’t heard of. They are all great. Have a good time with your friends, or make new friends. A festival is so much more than just the artists playing
How does one best prepare for a festival?
Fluid replacement and mental yoga. And lots of good music.
What do you think about those who attend not as die-hard fans, but for the party?
You don’t need to be a die-hard music fan to attend a festival. I would easily pay the money just for the atmosphere and the party.
Did you hear about the Canadian festival that did not allow guests to wear Native American feathers? If you had to forbid any dress code or trend, which one would it be?
No, I hadn’t heard. I understand why, [but I think] dress codes in general should be forbidden.
Who is, in your opinion, Sweden’s best artist right now? Both from a national and international point of view.
International stars include Elliphant, Mapei, and Seinabo Sey, for sure. A Swedish favorite of mine right now is Hurula. He sings in Swedish, so he might have trouble getting big in Japan. Or not. You never know.
For more information, visit www.wayoutwest.se.
Photo: Courtesy of Joel Borg