5 minutes with Simon Fell, Event Operations Director of Kaleidoscope Festival



On Saturday 25th July, Alexandra Park and Palace will throw open its gates for Kaleidoscope Festival 2020 - a summer celebration in the capital like no other. Returning to Ally Pally after its groundbreaking launch in 2018, Kaleidoscope is London's highest festival, set atop a hill within 196 acres of parkland offering the best panoramic views across the city.

We spoke to Simon Fell, Event Operations Director at Kaleidoscope, about what to expect this year and the beauty of the legendary Ally Pally.

Kaleidoscope is an eclectic mix of music, comedy, theatre and arts. How did you go about curating a line up across all these elements which all work well together?

Good question! We try to curate everything so every stage, or element of the festival, is eclectic in its own right. Look at the music on offer, it’ll feature DJs, a gospel choir and a legendary dance act. As much as we love all the music, we didn’t want the festival to be defined by just one act or genre. The whole programming is aimed at encouraging people to try a bit of everything. We want to call on as many influences as possible, so there’s lot to entertain people and for them to get involved with.

This is the second year of Kaleidoscope Festival. What will be new / different this time around?

We learnt a lot in our first year, particularly about understanding our audience. For example, while we’ve got another quality line-up, we put more effort into the food and drink offer. Little details count too; the event is really embraced by our local community so we wanted to use local food providers as a result. This will bring a real difference this time around.

Alexandra Palace is an iconic live music venue, but people may not know much about the Park and outdoor area the festival takes place in. What is special about this part of the venue?

The brilliant thing about running Kaleidoscope is that it gives us a chance to join up the park and palace in one event. Lots of people come to the palace, but might never experience the park, and visa versa. This is an opportunity to change that and give people a full Ally Pally experience. There’s 196 acres here in all, so plenty to discover. We also have amazing views of the city from where we are; arguably one of the best views of any festival going.

Not many one day London festivals can boast an immersive theatre offering, can you tell us more about Rift Theatre?

RIFT are immersive experts and it’s great to hand over a pretty unique place in the palace to them to work their magic. It’s very rare for us to open up the palace basements to the public. They are a bit of a time capsule, there’s still graffiti in there from the 80s!

Few get to go in there, let alone experience an immersive theatre event, so it should be something special. It’s also another USP, £39 for a ticket covers a lot, it’s probably the price of an immersive experience alone, let alone all the comedy, music and entertainment Kaleidoscope has.

How would you summarise the premise, line-up and overall ‘vibe’ of Kaleidoscope to someone in one sentence?

Arrive early, stay late, have a large gin and tonic and enjoy the site. There’ll be something for every moment and every mood.

Flaming Lips - Hilltop Stage. Alexandra Palace. Saturday 21 July 2018.

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