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Interview with MFVF organiser Val | FESTIVALPHOTO

Interview with MFVF organiser Val


Festivalphoto spoke to Val, one of the founders and organisers of Metal Female Voices fest (MFVF) and asked her some questions about the festival..

Festivalphoto: What made you decide to start a festival for female fronted bands?

Val: We started to build a Metal fest with Epica headlining, and realized that the bands already booked were nearly all female fronted.
So we changed the line-up a bit and tried an all female fronted festival.
At that point, we were the first to do it, so fans were quite enthusiastic and the first edition was a real success.

Festivalphoto: How much has the festival grown since the early days in terms of the number of fans attending?

Val: It has grown a lot. The first edition was held in a club, for 500 people, then for the second we had to move to another with a capacity of 2000 persons. For the 3rd MFVF we needed to get a bigger venue to welcome more fans. Every year we have our regular visitors, and new ones from all over the world.

Festivalphoto: The festival started being held in Brussels before moving to Wieze. Why did you decide to move out of Brussels, and why choose Wieze?

Val: We decided to move to another venue, because of the capacity. The Oktoberhallen was choosen because of its size, not too big & not too small. We can also arrange the place as we need : big VIP bar, enough backstage lodges for all the bands, a big stage, etc...
And they have a big parking just in front of the hall, something that you can't find in the centre of Brussels, and there is also space for the camping.

Festivalphoto: How long before the festival do you start booking bands?

Val: Usually we start before the end of the actual edition, so we can say around 1 year.

Festivalphoto: As well as booking bands, you and Phil do everything involved in the festival including sorting out the venue, band accomodation, tickets, artwork and much more. How much time during the year does all this work take?

Val: This work is spread on the year, some stuff need to be done a long time in advance like band booking, others later, and some things at the last minute.

Festivalphoto: At the festival do you get chance to watch many bands or are you always busy working?

Val: Sometimes yes, when I really like a band I try to take time, but there is always someone calling you for something, so a full show is really hard to watch, and you can't see many bands. It's the same for the MFVF staff, most of them never see any show.

Festivalphoto: After the festival do you get much time to relax or are you straight away working on the next years festival.

Val: Of course, we need some time to relax, we cannot start to work on the next edition straight away. Some time off to clear our minds is absolutely essential.

Festivalphoto: Are you ever surprised how far some fans travel to come to MFVF? - I've met fans there who have travelled from Japan, the USA and Canada - a long way to come for a festival !

Val: On the second edition we were really surprised to hear that people from USA were attending the festival.
Later, we heard about people coming from Australia, Japan etc ... we realized at that moment that we were building something really unique and worldwide. Now we are not surprised anymore, but are really happy to see that people are coming from so far countries.
Every year I can see in the reservation's list new countries appearing.

Festivalphoto: It's one of the friendliest festivals I've been to, with many of the same crew each year and fans coming back every year (many booking the hotel for next year before they leave for home). How does it feel for you seeing people from around the world meeting up and becoming friends because of the festival you and Phil have created?

Val: Thank you for this compliment. We feel that MFVF is a big familly and many people think the same. Every year it's a big gathering. You can meet people that in another situation you could never see in your life. Many people say to me that they are happy to see their friends at MFVF and that they will meet new ones. It's the same for me, I have great friends because of the festival.

Festivalphoto: Are there any bands that you would like to book but which are now too big to play MFVF?

Val: There are some bands, not because they are too big, but are difficult to have because of their schedule, etc.

Festivalphoto: You tend to have a good mix of bands at MFVF, with plenty of gothic or symphonic metal, but also including Rock (e.g. Doro), thrash (Arch Enemy), punk influenced (Nemhain), and others. Is it a deliberate decision to try and include lots of variety or is it just the way it happens sometimes when you book the bands you like?

Val: It's deliberate. Every year we ask the fans to give us their wish list, and we see what kind of band is requested. This year people asked for Folk, so we have choosen some in that style and that never played before.

Festivalphoto: There are lots of bands all wanting to play MFVF - is it difficult to make the decision on which bands to book?

Val: Sure, it's more difficult year after year. We receive so many cds, so the choice is really hard. Often people ask why we didn't book this or that band, but when you have hundreds of CDs to listen to, you can only say that it's impossible to book all who applied.

Writer: Anthony May
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