DJ Charlie Sloth talks to Forge Music ahead of his Fire In The Park Festival in Sheffield.
On how the idea for Fire In The Park came about:
I started thinking about the idea just over two years ago. It came about because I thought there were no festivals in the UK that celebrated British rap culture in its entirety. There’s loads of festivals but none of them are UK centric; a lot of them are bombarded with international acts who, a lot of the time, were put higher up the bill than the British acts. British rap and culture is at the forefront of everything at the moment and I thought there wasn’t something out there in terms of festivals that mirrored that.
The next question was, ‘Where do we do it?’ A lot of these festivals are London centric so we thought let’s do it somewhere that doesn’t really get that much love when it comes to festivals or live music. We felt that doing it in Sheffield, such a great city and there’s so much talent in Sheffield as well, and there’s such a big community that really supports the culture but I don’t think it gets anything in return. So I felt that Sheffield would be a great home for the festival and here we are, two years on, a week away from Fire In The Park with a lineup that is UK centric in the north of England to celebrate a genre of music that we feel is on top of the world right now.
On the mystery Fire In The Booth set:
I’m just so excited. When I say legendary Fire In the Booth I mean one of THE most legendary ones. It’s big and I know it’s going to be a real moment. A Fire In the Booth that’s never been performed in front of a live audience and it’s going to be a real experience for anyone who’s at the festival and is lucky enough to experience this FITB. One thing I can promise you is that it’s going to be a memory that will live with you forever.
On Sheffield’s rap breakthrough:
I think it’s connecting the dots; it’s doing things like this. British rap music, up until the last four years, was very London centric in itself. Since Bugzy Malone, MIST have come through, it has truly become a British thing and now I feel like it’s the best time to connect the dots. Fire In The Park will be doing that. Of course there’s going to be Sheffield artists coming through, you never know we might see some Sheffield artists on the date. It’s just putting everybody in the same room and connecting dots and creating networks. I think that’s what’s happening. You can’t force these things to happen, it has to take place organically and that’s what’s occurring. I’m confident that in the next year or two we’ll have an artist from Sheffield who is known across the UK. There’s already great artists like Deep Green who is an incredible artist that is on the cusp of doing something that the whole country will recognise. We’re on the verge of that happening, it’s just about how we facilitate it and play a part in allowing that to happen.
Santan Dave picked up the Mercury Prize for Best Album. On Dave winning the Mercury Prize:
Dave is just an incredible artist, an incredible all-round person. I remember meeting Dave and playing his record when he was 15; the first record I ever played for Dave was when he was 15. MistaJam [and I] were the first people to play Dave on the radio, simultaneously, on our shows. Watching him grow and come through, being so young yet so switched on was incredible to watch that growth and he’s only just getting started in my opinion. He’s someone who’s going to go on to do incredible things. His appearance in Top Boy was flawless. The album Psychodrama was flawless. You can tell he’s such a perfectionist and he puts everything into his craft and he’s so young. So he’s only going to keep getting better and achieving more great things and I’m excited to see what the next five years holds for Dave.
Fire In The Park takes place on 28 September at Ponderosa Park, featuring the likes of JAY1, Charlie Sloth and Giggs.
Image: Covered PR