Interviews Music Uncategorized

Music Interview: Camp Doogs Co-Founder and Festival Direcor Coel Healy

Words By: Laurent Shervington

Hey Coel, how are you going? How is the planning for Doogs going so far?

Good so far, we’ve just locked in our lineup and things are all set for our new site.

I think a lot of people take festival logistics for granted, how much work goes into getting the festival running smoothly?

About six months of work by a team of seven, we all work other jobs on the side so having a large team means we can share the workload.

Without revealing too much, what will be some new additions to the festival this year?

Well, we’ve moved to a new site in Harvey, a change that has opened up heaps of new possibilities including driving to the festival, which was previously not really possible. The new site has a large field for parking and camping, as well as a big lake. The change in site also means it’s only an hour and half drive from the city rather than three hours to Nannup.

Will activities like cheese yoga and ceramic pot-making be returning this year?

Definitely! Matt Aitken has got some great stuff currently in the works.

What prompted the change of location from Nannup to Harvey?

Mainly the driving issue, organising 15 buses this year sounded like a nightmare so we thought it was time to change. A new site also means we can explore new ideas previously not possible in Nannup. I think the new site has much more of a Meredith/Golden Plains vibe as opposed to the previous site which was a lot more enclosed.

I understand this year the bus ticket is optional, allowing people to drive down if they want to, is this based on feedback from last year?

Yeah, the bus is fine for some people, but waiting around with 500 other people for a bus home on the Sunday isn’t that great. We also know people have different commitments and can’t always stay for the full event. I think now that the event is reaching quite a large size, it’s time we reconsidered how we approach the buses.

Can you give me a brief rundown of what stages will be present this time around?

We’re still keeping our mainstage & Deep Doogs stage setups. We don’t want people to miss out on certain acts due to timetable clashes, although it does happen sometimes with activities.

I think this year we’ll see Deep Doogs become more of a centrepiece of the event, we’re catering to multiple music communities, and Jo Lettenmaiers curation of that stage has proven to be a big success in previous years.

Doogs has created a really awesome vibe that comes across as super unique, honest and DIY, what do you think gives it such a perfect atmosphere?

I think most people are looking for connection, especially within our community. People often go to gigs around Perth, see the same people, but often don’t get to hang out properly or become friends. I think we’re providing a space for that. We’re also trying to create an event that we would go to and reflects the Perth music community in the way we see it.

We’ve had lots of feedback from previous touring artists about how different the vibe is compared to similar events on the east coast. I think that speaks a lot to the way people here approach engaging with WA music and how we don’t shy away from making our own fun, whether you’re a punter or an artist.

How would you say the vibe has changed over its 3-year existence?

Initially, it was just small party with bands, in the bush. I think we’ve just become fussier about our aesthetic and level of curation. Ideally, we want to improve on each year, and create a platform for lesser known touring artists that makes it commercially viable to come to WA, whilst still keeping local music central to the event. You will definitely see that sentiment reflected in this year’s lineup.

How do you see the festival developing in the future? Do you think there’s a way to expand but also retain the DIY communal vibe?

I think we see Meredith and Golden Plains as a model we could follow here in WA. That’s probably the dream, we’re still a long way off of anything that size.

Get Tickets here (9am Monday 11th July)