Wireless talks Leeds and Reading Fest 2013 with Melvin Benn

With Leeds and Reading Festivals fast approaching, Wireless Magazine caught up with Melvin Benn, the Managing Director of Festival Republic to talk music, marketing and glorious sunshine.

How do you feel about this years line up? Since the festival has become more popular is there an increased demand for a greater variety of genres?

I don't think it's changed much through popularity. You always have to be keeping an eye out for what people are listening to. I wouldn't say we're really bringing in more genres. We're just giving them a bigger platform.

Do you think people are getting their money's worth with this year's Leeds Fest line up?

I think to really reflect the quality of the acts the price could be 50% more than what we're charging. The value you get for that price is amazing. If you went to see Eminem, Green Day, Biffy Clyro, Nine Inch Nails, System Of a Down and Chase and Status it would cost you significantly more than if you went to Leeds Festival. Now that's just six among 140 bands. It's incredible value for money.

Has using Zeitgeist PR made marketing Leeds Fest any easier than previous years?

Well I felt we needed a change. Zeitgeist brought a lot to the table and continue to bring a lot to the table. Their ideas are fantastic. They have a new approach to festivals. The people we used before (All Or Nothing), they were with me since 1989. So I was a little apprehensive about change, but Zeitgeist were the right people for it.

Are you worried about the weather at the festivals this year?

Never. It's not going to snow or anything. I actually did a festival in the snow right here in the UK and it was bloody cold. It was up in Scotland and that was very, very cold. I think this year we're going to have glorious sunshine. Fingers crossed.

What year has had your favourite Leeds/Reading fest line up?

2013. That's something people always ask me, especially my friends who are of a similar age to me, who think music never got better than Led Zepplin. But for me it gets better every year. I'm as excited about the new Foals album as I was about the new Faces album in 1971. I'm as excited about Bring Me To The Horizon as any band from the 1970s.

Nobody will convince me music doesn't get better every year. Football gets better every year, athletics get better every year, bands get better every year. People should never stand still.

Leeds and reading Festivals will be running between 23rd - 25th August at Bramham Park (Leeds) and Richfield Avenue (Reading), with headline acts including Biffy Clyro, Green Day and Eminem. For more information on this year's acts click here.

Words by Tanya Harris