The Social, one of the leading boutique music festivals in the UK, is expanding to Mexico and Colombia on March 17 and 18, 2017. The festival is curated by Nic Fanciulli and headlined by Carl Cox to bring a piece of UK’s house and techno feel to Latin America. Billboard Dance spoke to Fanciulli, founder of the The Social and Saved Record’s head, about the festival and how he is working to make it a memorable experience.
What’s your process for curating festivals like The Social?
A lot of the process involves our friends because the people we try to book are people that I work with week in, week out because I’m on tour all the time and have a lot of friends on tour with me. The people I play with I respect quite a lot, so the first part of the process to it is to try and get as many of our friends in it as possible when it comes to artist. We then have a long list of artists we would like to book and we just start making phone calls. We usually have 5 or 6 people that are heroes are mine, or people who have been a massive influence over the year – not necessarily people we know, but just artists we would love to showcase such as Laurent Garnier and Four Tet – as well as Sasha and John Digweed who had their reunion this year..
So how did you and Carl Cox become friends?
The first time I met him, he was playing a night in Maidstone at a club called Atomics. I was 17 and went to see him and Shades of Rhythm right around the time where I was getting into dance music. Carl Cox had just started playing when there was a massive power cut in the club, everything went black – you couldn’t see anything. It was right at the moment the club was about to go off and someone managed to put a knife in the fuse box and it only made the monitors work. Then the entire sound system kicked in and all the power and the lights came on – still to this day, it’s one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had in a nightclub. I remember going up to him and talking to Carl afterwards. At that time, I was only just starting out and DJing in bars – Carl really helped me over the years and was always really friendly. Even when we weren’t working together and eventually when I started touring, we begun spending more time together. It was around 2009 or 2010, I decided to leave my residency at Sundays at Space and I had nothing to do in Ibiza for the summer. Carl said “Why don’t you come and play for me?” So I went to do two shows with him that summer and kicked the relationship off.
Moving back to The Social, what does it mean to you to bring The Social to Latin America and why did you decide to do so?
The whole point of Social is an extension to what I was doing in Maidstone, which was throwing parties in alley ways, in basements and other random locations. For me, it was never supposed to be this big success story, it was just to throw a good party in the area which a lot of DJs hadn’t heard. We just had such a good fan base of people where we grew up doing these street parties. Then one day I said “why don’t we use the local park and build The Social up from there?” Over the last 5 years, we’ve gone from around 5,000 people to nearly 250,00 people this year. Luckily, I’ve got a good relationship with playing in Colombia and Mexico anyway, this year there were about 10 of my friends from Mexico who do great parties there and Colombia. We knew everyone goes to WMC and everyone tries to go down for the best festivals there, so we thought the best time to do it was the week before everyone heads to Miami. It worked out great, especially confirming Carl to come and do it with me which was pretty special for Central and South America because he doesn’t really go there a lot. It was never a dream of me to go down there, it sort of just happened. It’s weird but I’m super excited.
How do you see The Social evolving in the future and in years to come?
For me, it’s just improving because it’s a project, it’s not a business. My business is my DJing and traveling around the world and making music. This is just my side project that I love doing and I work with some really amazing people. I just want to keep bringing good DJs, making the production better and getting the sound system better. We’re 9 months ahead of the festival and I’ve got Funktion 1 down on Thursday to look around the site again to work out how we can make the sound better in all the arenas so that people that come have a better quality of sound. You’re never going to be able to make it perfect for every single customer but what we’re trying to do is to get it as good as it can be and that’s our plan for the future. I would love to take it to more countries and work with people that are enthusiastic and believe in bringing good music to the cities.
So how do you want the actual festival goers to feel after they experience The Social?
I want them to feel part of it, that’s the whole point of the name. For me, when I first went clubbing in the late nineties it was like a family experience, you go in and you’re all in, everyone’s together, there’s no trouble, there’s no fighting – there’s nothing. It’s just everyone who has worked their asses off Monday-Friday that go in, and they walk out having made new friends and listened to new music they haven’t heard before and be really blown away by the whole experience, that’s the ultimate goal. Just to feel good about themselves and like they’ve had a really good weekend.
So how do you want to distinguish your festival from others? Is it through that kind of connectivity or other things as well?
There aren’t not many festivals that are owned and run by DJs. We’re self-funded, we have to do everything ourselves. We don’t have big sponsorships, we don’t have all these other things but what we try to bring is really excellent sound to make the festival the most enjoyable it can be. It’s taken me 5 years to find our new site because we had sound problems before and I’ve finally got somewhere where we don’t have sound restrictions. We’ve got DJs that you wouldn’t normally see on the same line up coming under one roof and we try to keep the ticket prices as low as possible so our customers don’t feel like they’re getting ripped off. Especially now since there are so many festivals and clubs in Ibiza.
For more info on The Social, click here.