Rae Morris: “Festivals bring everyone together”

Catch up with Rae ahead of this weekend's Neverworld.

If you’re looking for inventive, less super-sized festivals this summer, you’ll struggle to nd better than Kent’s Neverworld. Spun out of the long-standing LeeFest, it’s packed with exciting acts like Bastille, Declan McKenna and Rae Morris. We caught up with the latter to find out what we should expect.

Hey Rae, it feels like you haven’t stopped for ages now, are you super busy post-album release?
It’s been a super busy time, yeah, but I love it being like this; everything feels fresh and tingly. You start to exist on a high of adrenaline. I’m still finding pockets of time at home which is important too.

How do you prepare for a summer on the road, what’s on your packing list?
The great thing about festivals is that you do get to come back in between most of them, so it’s less daunting than packing for a huge tour. I try to pack lighter so I can be more spontaneous. You never know if you can stay on in a place for an extra night or stay over at that festival!

Are you going to any festivals this year that you aren’t playing, just for fun?
I’d love to go to a festival in the sunshine somewhere. I always see pictures of people at hot festivals and can’t imagine what it must be like without the rain and mud. Hopefully, I can squeeze one in last minute.

What’s your favourite festival memory from previous years?
Playing on the Park Stage at Glastonbury in 2015 was a massive life highlight. That whole Glasto experience was amazing. Watching Kanye on the Saturday night and The Who on the Sunday night with my Dad, aka their biggest fan, were special moments.

Where are we most likely to find you at a festival? Back stage, down the front, at a food cart…?
Definitely out in the main field lingering near the food trucks, watching people, taking it in.

What’s the biggest tip you’ve learnt for making festivals fun?
I don’t like to be too strict with myself about catching every moment of every band’s set because that can become a bit of a chore, but there’s no better feeling than being perfectly on time to see someone you love. I think deciding with friends/ family before you go what the priority gigs are is a good idea. Then the rest of the time you can be free and easy.

Has the new album changed the vibe of your festival set at all? Do you change what you do depending on the event?
I’m yet to do my first festival of the year, but the headline shows we’ve done so far have definitely been different because of the new music. I’m moving more onstage, and that makes such a big difference to how I can connect with the audience. It’s true that you do vary the performance depending on where you are and who’s watching. I like to always be myself though; it just might be higher energy if there are loads of people in a field singing back to me.

What’s it like being up on stage in the middle of the afternoon, in front of thousands of faces?
It’s a very surreal thing. If they’re happy faces, it’s the best thing in the world. Festivals bring everyone together. You talk to strangers and make friends with your neighbours. It really feels like a chance to put things right for a minute.

What’s a typical day like for you when you’re playing a festival?
You’d mostly set off from the previous night’s hotel or from home around 10/11am (not bad) and head there in the van or bus. Because you can’t sound check usually, there’s way more free time for eating lunch and roaming the fields. Often you see mates in other bands and catch up with them. Then the gig time will come around, and drinks will flow!

Who else should we be checking out at festivals this year?
I wouldn’t even know where to begin! There are so many people I don’t even know about. That’s the whole point of festivals in my opinion. Let yourself drift into tents and discover new music.

Rae Morris plays Neverworld this weekend. Visit neverworld.co.uk for more information.

Words: Sam Taylor

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