Festival season has officially begun. Whether you’ll be spending it beach-side, against the backdrop of snow, or knee-deep in mud, 2023’s global circuit is one of the busiest we’ve ever seen, littered with the names of some of the best festival experiences the world has to offer.
One name that certainly sits in the top tier of global festivals is Outlook.
Having set the standard for bass music events for the past 15 years, Outlook is one of the most respected names in festival circles, delivering an annual multi-day experience devoted to sound system culture in Croatia.
Now, the evolution of Outlook’s legacy brings it back home to London, offering a brand new festival concept, unlike anything the city has seen before.
With the festival just over three weeks away, we sat down with James Rice, one of the key persons involved in bringing Outlook to life, for an inside look at Project 6.
What’s the concept behind Project 6?
Project 6 brings a slice of what we at Outlook love; weighty sounds and live electronic music performed by some of our favorite artists, labels, and collectives from across the scene.
Think legendary heritage acts side-by-side with some of the scene’s most exciting breakthrough producers and DJs – all crammed into one wicked day party in South London and ten nighttime sessions across the city in some of our best-loved clubs and on some treasured dance floors.
How was this realized, and who was involved in bringing it together?
The festival is a collaborative project between Outlook, Undivide, FreeFromSleep, and a handful of other partners we work with connected to the London clubbing scene and beyond.
We were offered an opportunity to take a space at South London’s Brockwell Live series and jumped at the chance to bring what we do to London, our hometown, and a place we have a deep musical connection with.
Working with the other event partners (Wide Awake, Cross The Tracks, City Splash, and more) we’re able to add to the existing series and present a musical program that’s distinctive from anything else that takes place in the city, celebrating all corners of the UK scene from grime & rap, garage, dubstep, drum and bass, jungle and everything in-between.
Outlook UK looked like a big success last year; why won’t it be returning this year?
Outlook Festival UK was a memorable one for us last summer. With it being in the UK, we were able to bring together many more artists, labels, collectives, sound systems, partners, and friends, less restricted by elements such as travel and cost. It felt truly special to be able to do what we’ve done for the past 14 years in Croatia and bring it to home soil here in the UK.
That being said, it wasn’t without its challenges. 2022, in general, was a tricky year to navigate. Ongoing repercussions of the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, a more competitive (somewhat saturated) market, rising costs of production, etc, all added to the challenges.
We didn’t deliver the event we originally set out to but are really proud of what we achieved, from our incredible team that pulled together to the foundations we built for future events. What the future holds for Outlook UK is unclear at the moment, but it’s certainly not something that’s going away anytime soon. We’ll hopefully have news later in the year – stay tuned.
Were there always plans for Project 6 in 2023, or was it born as a replacement for Outlook UK?
Project 6 Festival was born from an opportunity offered to us by the team at Brockwell Live – the festival series, which takes place in Brockwell Park.
We’ve always had a connection with London; it’s the city we’re based out of, and over the years, we’ve been extremely fortunate to run launch parties in the build-up to Croatia in some of the best venues across town. A daytime festival was something we’d always considered but not had an opportunity to explore fully. It is something we’re really excited to launch this year and build on for the future.
We’re excited at what Project 6 offers the UK audience as a daytime festival and nighttime club program, and we’ll only see this grow in years to come, drawing from all corners of the scene and celebrating the music, artists, promoters, labels, and collectives we love the most.
Project 6 has a pretty iconic lineup of partners and talent – how were they chosen?
There’s a real balance.
Many of the artists and partners we’ve invited to be a part of the inaugural event are people we’ve worked with across the years and wanted to be a part of this new chapter. From our project with Fabio and Grooverider and The Outlook Orchestra (featuring a big line-up of guest vocalists and musicians) to Ghetts, D Double E, Storm, Flight, Goldie, Metalheadz, Mala, and Children Of Zeus.
There are also some really exciting new projects, including SHY FX: SPECIALS, Mala and Joe Armon Jones and their live band, as well as killer back-to-backs from Storm & Flight, Bakey & Izco, Neffa-T & Oblig and MC/DJ combinations such as Kahn + Neek ft Flowdan, Commodo ft Manga, Sir Spyro ft Footsie & Capo Lee.
Live performances have always been an important part of our programming, and Project 6 will highlight some of the artists that we’ve loved seeing perform (or are excited to see for the first time this summer), including Lex Amor, Dreya Mac, FLOHIO, Ocean Wisdom, Pip Millet, Ojermine and many more.
There’s plenty to entertain fans of the lower frequencies as well as a healthy mix of daytime, sunshine festival vibes. We’ll also have workshops, talks, craft-beer markets, lots of tasty food options, and more!
What about the after-party venues?
For those wishing to extend the party, we’re working with some of London’s best venues, labels, and promoters to offer a series of unmissable late-night parties with some seriously stacked line-ups!
Stepping out from the festival gates, we have a number of local sessions to choose from, including an Outlook takeover at Electric Brixton, The North Quarter’s final session at Phonox, Brixton Bass at Hootananny as well as parties at Venue MOT and Tola in Peckham.
Slightly further afield, Flexout are back in The Steel Yard with a huge line-up featuring label favorites. A Friday night in Fabric means FABRICLIVE and a special line-up, including Channel Tres, while 23 Degrees presents a monumental session with some of jungle’s finest going b2b2b2b at Village Underground.
Other East London nighttime sessions include XOYO with Break playing all night long while Colour Factory presents Alchemy with Storm, Fracture, J:Kenzo, and more!
There are a ton of artists appearing exclusively at the nighttime sessions, as well as an opportunity to see some of our festival headliners in more intimate spaces, offering something fresh from the daytime sets and performances.
It’s part of the Project 6 program that we’re really excited about.
Is this a festival experience that we can expect to see again in the future?
Yeah, totally. Project 6 Festival will be a regular fixture of the Brockwell Live festival series in South London, and we are already having some very exciting conversations around programming and partnerships for 2024.
More on that soon. For now, all eyes are focused on Friday, 26th May, making our inaugural event one to remember.
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