High Hopes: Glasgow's Flying Moon Music & Arts Festival

As Moonstruck on Clydeside gets ready for the second year of its Flying Moon Music & Arts Festival, we speak to the festival’s director Nicole Stapinski to find out more

Feature by Tallah Brash | 06 Jun 2019

Moonstruck on Clydeside's Flying Moon Music & Arts Festival returns to Glasgow's Flying Duck on 15 June. With it comes a 50:50 gender balanced line-up in line with the PRS Foundation's Keychange campaign, which aims for 50:50 gender balance at festivals by 2020. This year's line-up includes Tamzene, fresh from playing The Great Escape, along with Heir of the Cursed, Carla J. Easton, Scarlett Randle, Super Inuit and Bratakus, but it's not just all about the music. We speak to the festival's director Nicole Stapinski to find out more.

The Skinny: Going into your second year, what was the idea behind your Flying Moon Music & Arts Festival?

Nicole Stapinski: The inspiration for this year’s festival was to keep our finger on the pulse. Industry can become very entrenched in itself sometimes I think, and the gatekeepers almost forget how to look for new music. So Flying Moon makes an effort to promote genuinely well thought-out rosters, introducing new artists alongside some of the independent scene’s more seasoned players.

I get a real buzz from introducing these two worlds to each other, because you see some fantastic collaborations between artists as a result [...] When I’m not promoting under my Moonstruck hat, I’m an assistant venue manager, and the pockets of talent that turn up on your doorstep, often unnoticed, is astounding. Flying Moon exists to tap into the indie plateau and pull out the underdog before they get discouraged.

TS: For 2019, you have a "femme-focused line-up with 50:50 gender balance" – was this always the plan from the beginning?

NS: When Flying Moon first began the initial concept wasn’t to bill it as a "femme-focused event", it was more a way for me and my group of musician pals to put on an affordable festival. Becoming femme-focused was just the way programming last year leant naturally. It’s in my genetic makeup to champion women because I come from a very strong matriarchal family. I’ve never seen the need or value in competing with other women and I openly like to denounce that shit in public when I can. We desperately need to teach our daughters to build each other up.

When I realised how dire the situation still was for women across the industry last year it was like a eureka moment and I just ran with it. I had no idea Keychange existed when I started planning this year’s festival, but I’m very excited to say Flying Moon has become an associate of the Keychange campaign as of May.

TS: As well as having a focus on creating a gender balanced and inclusive festival, you also recently launched an affordable festival scheme – what do you hope to achieve from this?

NS: Oddly, I think the affordable festival thing has some people scratching their heads. To me it was a no-brainer. It’s not exactly very cool to go on and on about inclusivity and balance, and then make an all-dayer 40 quid. The economic climate has been tough for a very, very long time. For myself. For many. So I don’t think there’s a tangible argument against affordable music, save from other industry folks wondering how the fresh hell we’re paying everyone!

The counterargument I’ve heard is that we’re devaluing the experience of live music. I don’t agree with that. Flying Moon aims to challenge that directly and states that there are more ways to creatively break even than expensive ticket sales. Crowds will follow where they see genuine and honest intention.

TS: Tell us a bit more about this year’s festival...

NS: We shout about the music a lot, but we’re not just a music festival, we’re an arts festival too. Though this aspect of our day is on the smaller scale Flying Moon is incredibly excited to introduce poetry, spoken word, comedy and a bit o' theatrics this year. Plus a whole heap of vegan, slow fashion, DIY and environmentally ethical craft stalls! Zero waste companies and natural remedies. The community is really going to love what we’ve got to show this year.

TS: What are you most looking forward to about this year?

NS: I love meeting new artists – both the musical and crafty kind. But I also really love waving them in someone else’s face until they stop and go, 'HOLY shit. I get it. They’re FANTASTIC'. It’s why I do what I do.

TS: What are your plans for the future with Flying Moon Music & Arts Festival?

NS: I’d love to keep it grounded, but keep it going. I want to make it more intersectional. I have no intention of making it a field-filler or the sweaty dustbowl that most festivals conjure images of in your head. We’re small, and we’re meant to stay that way. Because without that, it becomes less about supporting the indies and more about the cash.

Flying Moon functions as a non-profit at the end of the day, which means whatever money goes into the project goes right back out to the artists involved. How cool would it be if we were still going in five years? Where are all my amazing women at?! Come at me – let’s run a festival!

Flying Moon Music & Arts Festival takes place at Flying Duck, Glasgow, 15 Jun