Interview with Jodie Bowie, NozFest Organiser
By Lotty Whittingham
It’s no secret that it’s crucial to support your local music scene. It helps new bands progress in their careers, keeps venues open and it offers a great experience for the fans. Promoter Jodie Bowie is one of the promoters that is making sure this happens. She runs her own successful Rock Nights that showcase the best new talents. She is holding her first ever festival ‘NozFest’ at Southampton’s The 1865 on 10th August 2019 featuring the likes of Massive Wagons, Marco Mendoza, Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters and many more. I recently grabbed a few moments to do an email interview with her. We spoke about the importance of the local music scene, NozFest and how her story began in promotion. Enjoy the read.
Explain to the readers who you are and what you do.
I’m Jodie, I’m 23 years old. I’m a blogger, vlogger and promoter from the Bournemouth/Southampton area. I put on my own Rock Nights featuring a selection of bands from all over the UK. I have my first ever festival taking place in August featuring the very best of up and coming New Wave of Classic Rock bands.
You do both blogging and promoting, did one lead to another or did they both happen at the same time?
I started blogging when I was 16. I have always really enjoyed writing and still do. I was actually supposed to be going to University to study Music Journalism, but I stumbled into putting on gigs by complete accident when I was 18 and it led on from there.
What influenced you to start blogging and promoting?
I’ve always really loved writing, and I love bands and music so much. They are pretty much my entire world. I’ve sacrificed so much of my life for bands in all truthfulness and wouldn’t have it any other way. I was still a blogger whilst getting into promoting, however last year I decided I should turn my blog into a strictly music related blog as it goes hand in hand with what I do promotion wise. It really took off after that! As for promoting, I’m not sure anything really did influence me. I have just always wanted to help bands in whatever way I can.
You run successful Rock Nights, tell us how those started.
By accident! I volunteered at a local community centre to write press releases for their upcoming tribute band nights. They asked me if I had any ideas on how to bring in a younger audience, and I suggested putting on shows with young local bands and they pretty much said “you do it then”, so I did! I did Rock Nights there under their name for about 4 – 5 years. It was a pretty big venue so even if a night was a success, it didn’t visually look like it was.
As the years went on, they became less supportive of my ideas. After one show, a local band called Our Propaganda recommended that I start my own Rock Nights under my own name. So I gave it a go, and it literally took off within a couple of months – however 2019 was when I really started proper booking them in.
I had two Jodie Bowie ones in 2018 and both of them sold out. I also put on a show with Marco Mendoza in June 2018, he let me choose the supports and that also sold out. I’m just always looking for the next big idea, and to make my line-ups more and more awesome.
Tell the readers what NozFest is.
NozFest is a self-funded, self-run, self-promoted festival featuring New Wave of Classic Rock bands from all over the UK. It is a one day festival taking place at The 1865 in Southampton on Saturday 10th August. It features 9 bands for just £20.
NozFest is solely run by myself, and I have put the whole thing together by myself, including booking the bands and all the other stuff that goes with it.
Where did the idea come from?
Out of nowhere really. I’m always looking for the next big thing to try and push myself out of my comfort zone. At the time I had recently discovered a lot of new bands and was kind of envious about all the festivals that were going on in the summer etc. One night I just thought “be pretty cool if I had my own festival”.
My friend Luke actually phoned me that night, and we talked about exactly what I could do, how I could fund it, what bands I could put on etc, I stayed up all that night and planned the entire thing. Since then it was just a matter of piecing it all together.
In September 2018, I got fed up of waiting for the venue I chose to hold it in messing me about – I had a friend design the poster, it was all hand-drawn, they’d spent a lot of time making it perfect etc, I had bands who wanted to play but needed the date confirming, sponsors were dropping out etc and nothing was happening. I went home and pitched my idea to my folks, luckily enough for me they believed in my vision and we decided to fund the whole thing as a family.
Why choose Southampton for the location?
Well, the original idea was for the festival to take place at the community centre I worked at. However, they were unsupportive, and I wanted this festival so badly that I decided to look elsewhere. Southampton is a great town for live music. I have found through just doing my Rock Nights that venues are so supportive and are happy for you to use them to yours and their advantage.
Seeing as all my Rock Nights are in Southampton, it made sense to have the festival there as well. The 1865 are massively supportive of everything I do, and confirmed everything within a matter of moments. Very exciting, I cannot wait to work with them more in the future as they support my ambitions.
As a local, I have noticed Southampton is a lot more open to live music of whatever variety, whereas Bournemouth just isn’t really interested. There are A LOT of awesome bands from the Southampton area also, definitely a place to keep an eye out for local acts.
What can we expect from the first NozFest?
Fun and Rock ‘n’ roll! Hopefully people will discover lots of fresh new and exciting bands also. I love my events to have an atmosphere of love, happiness and just really positive vibes. I am 100% sure NozFest will also be a fantastic day and night full of happiness and positivity, with the chance to meet new people, see new bands and just have a really awesome time filled with rock ‘n’ roll in the summer.
What does the future hold for NozFest?
I am really hoping I am able to expand NozFest, however long that may take. Without trying to sound overly ambitious, I really would love to see NozFest become something as awesome as Download. I’d love to have more than one stage, and then have the event take place over a weekend – slowly surely, I really hope it gets to that level.
I also want it to stay run by my family and friends for as long as possible. I love giving my friends the chance to work in this kind of environment. I just want to give back to people and make people happy! I love seeing the happiness on people’s faces at shows, when that happens at an event of mine it fills my heart with so much joy and that is what I do all of this for.
What advice would you give to bands who are looking to apply for future Rock Nights and future NozFest?
Drop me and email over at firstname.lastname@example.org and send me over some music. If I don’t get back to you, keep pestering me. I do listen eventually; sometimes it just takes me a while – just keep messaging me, go completely over the top.
You and I both know how important it is to support local music, tell the readers why you think that is?
If we don’t support local music, music in general will just die out. If you’re bored of listening to what is on the radio, I totally urge you to check out your local music scene, or have a look at the New Wave of Classic Rock Facebook Group. There is so much talent out there right under our noses – don’t forget this is how The Beatles were found.
Also helps support local live music venues; it’s so sad seeing so many having to shut their doors. The only way to keep them open is really to support the acts that play there. Puzzles me how society is okay with paying £70+ to see a well-known band, but won’t even pop in to see a local band for free.
Given your love for rock and metal music, I am curious to know which five musicians/singers would you have around for a dinner party. They can be dead or alive.
Ooh I do love this sort of question! Has to be Brian Jones, the founding member of the Rolling Stones I adore that man so much. Baz Mills from Massive Wagons, he seems like an awesome dude and I’m sure he’d be a right laugh.
Scott Taylor of Mason Hill, just because his voice inspires me so much and I’d love to meet him.
Nikki Sixx or Tommy Lee? I’m going to choose Tommy Lee because he is a proper lad, he’d definitely add some entertainment to the evening.
Lastly, I think I’m going to say two because I can’t choose, but David Bowie as he is my idol (his conversation skills would be immense) or Ronnie Wood, I can imagine him and Tommy Lee getting on pretty well.
We would like to thank Jodie very much for the interview, Lotty will be attending and covering NozFest in August for Ever Metal so we will have a full review of the day and if you want to find out more about Jodie and her promoting or blogging then please follow the links below!
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.