Behind the scenes: Love Supreme chats about festival developments

Neapolitan Music’s Love Supreme increased capacity from 20,000 to 25,000, resulting in an expansion of the festival site…

Love Supreme festival has grown in stature since it bounced onto the festival market in 2013. It has a loyal following; a discerning and returning audience of “real music fans” that value quality and have a certain level of expectation in terms of production.

That’s why Mandy Johnson, U-Live’s head of operations, and Love Supreme’s head of production, has spent hours cherry picking kit that will work with the festival’s branding and colour palette. She is trying to raise the bar and come back with a bang, following the festival’s two-year hiatus.

Johnson is talking to StandOut just days before gates open on the three-day jazz, funk, and soul festival. She’s “in the thick of it”. It’s raining but she is hard at work, perfecting the new site, which has an increased footprint (35 per cent larger) to accommodate an extra 5,000 guests and a huge glamping requirement.

“Love Supreme is an intimate show,” Johnson says. “People like it. We attract experienced festivalgoers. Some other festivals sell themselves on the idea of exploration and that’s part of the festival experience and is critical to those kinds of events. Our customers like the intimacy and accessibility of the site and that’s been a huge success factor for us.”

Johnson has had to bear this in mind as the festival site has been developed to accommodate the increase in capacity. Love Supreme – owned by Neapolitan Music – has had to consider this point as it has grown.

“We’ve done a land grab,” Johnson continues. “The shape of the arena is the same but if you look at the GPS points, the stages and bars are not exactly in the same place but to our customers, it will feel familiar.”

Love Supreme

Achieving a balance

Love Supreme 2022 benefits from a second Supremium glamping area – South Supremium now complements North Supremium. It houses 500 extra glamping tents, and the new area has direct access to Love Supreme’s main arena and South Downs stage.

“I’m excited to see this work,” explains Johnson. “It’s been good to see demand for glamping go up so that we can introduce it. Plus, we’ve also been able to introduce more early morning wellbeing content. Before, we had yoga but now we have more of a programme.”

Johnson is mindful of the balance that Love Supreme must strike. It’s a camping festival that also sells lots of day tickets. However, what a camping customer and a day ticket customer want are different. Day ticket holders want buzz and to discover the entire festival in one day. Campers want space to breathe and have three days to explore the site. Therefore, important considerations have had to be given to the increased footprint and where key content is positioned.

“Caburn Meadow is new for 2022,” Johnson continues. “It’s an area where campers can go for a walk and look at the amazing view that we have on the South Downs, especially for campers that might have had a late night and want to relax.

“Also, we have created a quiet campsite and placed it in a new field but to do that we have had to do some extensive groundworks to create two new access tracks; we put in some hard core and a load bearing culvert and we’ve used these tracks for the build.”

Production v’s creativity

Johnson is joined on-site by Heather McMillan, site manager, Charlotte Hammand, site coordinator, Emily Muirhead, technical production manager, Lizzie Lock, creative producer, and MC Hunter, event manager. The all-female operations team is working hard to deliver the festival, which has seen production costs increase by 40 per cent. Instead of finding cheaper deals, the Love Supreme team has accepted the increased costs. No one requires the added pressure of finding new suppliers when there’s the added pressure of a redesigned and larger site.

“We have given a lot of thought to the foundations of our festival, the things that make things easier for people; plenty
of furniture to sit on, loos that are well- serviced, we have a strong food and retail offer, and good bar metreage,” Johnson concludes. “There must be attention to detail so that our customers can focus on the joy of being here. We’re very much a music festival and that’s why Love Supreme is well produced rather than overly creative and I can’t wait to see how guests react to the new changes.”

Suppliers list

Staging and temporary structures – Dynamic Stretch Tents, Brighton Marquees, Acorn Structures, and A&J Big Top
Power – Project Power
Radios – NRB

Noise control – Electric Star

Wi-Fi – Noba
Water – MTD
Trackway and fencing – Davis Trackhire, Entertee, Sunbelt Rentals and EPS
Waste – Greenbox
Health and safety – Complivent
Furniture – Furniture Hire UK and Eco Furniture Hire
Fire – Event Fire Services
Toilets – Site Equip
Portable buildings – Wernick Events
Buggies – OBH
Security – PES

Bars – One Circle
Crew – Delta Crew and Rock City