Three years ago GO.GO was just an idea. Today, it's the biggest
women's music festival in the UK. What's the secret behind their
The festival's founders Becky Sampson, 28 (pictured at left) and
Katie Woodbine, 29, caught up with DIVA to tell us how the
Glastonbury of the lesbian world was born.
DIVA: You set up GO.GO from your spare room. How did the
concept for the festival come about and how did you make it a
Katie: We had planned to go to Dinah Shore in
the US and at the last minute we couldn't make it, so we started
looking around for a local alternative that didn't require flying
nine hours! We found that there wasn't one! We also felt that there
wasn't much on the scene in the UK for us to go and experience. We
realised that if we wanted it then lots of other women out there
would also be actively looking for an event like GO.GO.
Becky: We set about creating a festival that's
got all the best bits of the UK festival scene and also caters for
a lesbian and bisexual audience. It started from our spare room as
a small-scale event with just the two of us working. In the first
year we had about 500 people and in the second we had 2,500. This
year we are expecting more, so it just keeps growing and growing.
We've now got a big team behind us and it's getting bigger and
better each year.
DIVA: Is it ever testing working with someone you're so
Becky: It is tough at times, I think every
relationship has its upheavals. When you live and work together
that's your whole world. We get on really, really well and most of
the time we are on the same page.
Katie: Also, putting on a festival of this size
can be quite hard at times. It's much easier to go through it with
someone that you're in a relationship with. There's the trust
element, which really helps with decision making. And I know she's
not going to run off with anyone!
DIVA: Katie, your sister Kym is the backstage manager
for GO.GO. Do you ever find it difficult working
Katie: We hated each other from when I was
four, until when I was 14. And then she started buying me booze so
I could drink with my friends and since that point we've been the
best of friends. She is my best friend and if you go through
something that can be stressful and amazing and fun, with your
sister it's great.
DIVA: Did you ever imagine that GO.GO would be such a
Becky: Since the start we always wanted it to
be a very mainstream experience where women are the focus. We've
always wanted it to be a big event and we're not going to be happy
until it is the biggest in the world. We've got all the drive and
the determination, we just want it to keep growing and growing each
DIVA: Who would be your dream acts to see play
Katie: Obviously Lady Gaga would be incredible.
Pink would be amazing and Madonna would be cool too.
Becky: At the end of every year we do a survey
of who our customers want to see play and we take that into
consideration. That's why we've got Peaches this year. So many
people wanted to see her so we did everything we could to get her
on the line-up.
DIVA: Last year Uh Huh Her cancelled at the last minute
and it rained. How do you prepare for the unexpected?
Becky: It didn't rain last year, it flooded!
There's always something you can't prepare for. We sit down and we
think we've got everything down to a fine art and then something
happens that you just can't plan for, like with Uh Huh Her. It was
a huge setback and a nightmare for us and for the fans. They rang
us the night before the festival opened, so we had no time to see
about getting anyone else in. Luckily BETTY stepped in and they
were amazing. Uh Huh Her felt so bad they're coming back this
DIVA: The festival weekend must be pretty hectic for you
both. What's a typical day working at GO.GO like?
Becky: It starts at around six o'clock in the
morning when we get up. There's checking everywhere's clean,
opening up and briefing the staff. Then the gates open and everyone
comes flooding in. It's difficult, but it's so much fun. When
everyone else has gone to bed, we're still up preparing for the
DIVA: Is there any music you can recommend for DIVA
Katie: Apart from all of our headliners who are
incredible my personal favourites are Black Casino and The Ghost
and Call The Doctor. I love the Cut Outs, I think they're great.
They're a London-based band. And Jill Jackson of course. (Both
Katie and Becky unanimously agree.) Who doesn't like Jill Jackson?
We go through a rigorous process to make sure we get the most
diverse line-up we possibly can and find who's the most talented
out there. I would recommend each and every one of the names on our
DIVA: Where do you see GO.GO in ten years'
Katie: Massive, the biggest there is!
DIVA: Anything you want to add?
Becky: We do keep getting asked if there are
any Friday night tickets, so just to set the record straight, there
aren't - the Friday Opening Ceremony and launch parties with
StooShe, Uh Huh Her and BETTY are exclusive to weekend ticket
Katie: Also we are nearing our capacity. We are
on track to sell out, which is exciting. The new licence also means
the party can go on until 2am, rather than shutting down at
GO.GO Festival takes place from 8-10 June at Damyns Hall
Aerodrome in Greater London. Stooshe, Noisettes, Peaches, Uh Huh
Her and Jill Jackson are among the list of lovely ladies announced
Visit gogofestival.com for more