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HANNA COX: ON CLOUD 9 TALKIN’….‘BOUT THE FESTIVAL – INTERVIEW BY NIGEL CARTNER

The Cloud 9 Festival is nearly upon us, taking place on Saturday 6th August. After the successes of the previous two years there is an increased hype about this years show. Located at Love Lane Farm in Cheshire, Cloud 9 hosts an array of different music genres, from indie to hard dance, to folk music. This year, the event is sponsored by two charities, C.A.L.M and Headculture, both focussing on depression in young men. Both charities have their own sponsored stage and we hope to raise awareness to their cause over the course of the day. We managed to catch up with festival director Hanna Cox to give us a taster of the day’s events.

NIGEL: What inspired you to start the Cloud 9 festival?

HANNA: I have actually come on board in Cloud 9’s third year so this is the first year I am festival director and decision maker. I moved up from London after doing many years in music, fashion PR and event management for clubs and cultural festivals.

NIGEL: What makes Cloud 9 different from other festivals?

HANNA: We are a small, intimate festival who book local bands and local suppliers for the event. We are also supporting 2 charities close to our heart; there is C.AL.M (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and Headculture, both of which actively raise awareness of the high rate of depression and suicide in men under 35.

We are conscious of what a festival-goer wants and we want to provide that to the best of our ability. There will be different areas for fans of dance, rock or acoustic music along with a special chill out zone created specifically for families. There will also be a range of cultural elements within Cloud9 with live graffiti art taking place, shisha pipes or tea to have whilst relaxing as well as face painting and play areas for all.

NIGEL: There’s a very diverse selection of music on offer, from indie to hard dance to folk music. Why the different range in genres?

HANNA: Cloud 9 was initially a hard dance festival but we wanted to ensure that our demographic received the best of both worlds and fans of dance could wander over to the main stage and discover an amazing rock band and vice versa. Also, I don’t believe music fans are inclined to only listen to one genre and music has changed in the past few years so new artists are constantly mixing things up.

NIGEL: Is there anything that you’re doing this year that differs from last year’s show?

HANNA: Yes, loads more stages and 15 hours of live music as well as creative spaces with chill-out zones. We also have potentially 5,000 festival-goers descending on Love Lane Farm… just a small expansion!

NIGEL: Has there been an increase of interest this year from ticket demands or a promotional aspect than previous years? If so, why do you think that is?

HANNA: We have been shocked in the past few weeks by how many tickets have been flying off and we are so happy with the reaction and discussion people have on Facebook about Cloud 9 this year and with only 23 days to go, we are getting nervously excited with every step.

NIGEL: What do you anticipate to be the main successes this year?

HANNA: The merge of genres from funk and soul, rock and hard dance will hopefully please every festival-goer and ensure every person on site has many amazing moments throughout the day. We also hope that our two charities will ensure more men come forward and seek advice for any problems they have.

NIGEL: What do you think are the causes for young men to suffer from depression?

HANNA: Depression is a lonely black hole that can be caused or rather triggered by any manner of reasons or situations. We just hope that at least one man who comes to Cloud 9 walks away and picks up the phone for help.

The charities are personal to everyone in the ‘We are Anchor’ team as well as the investor. I think it is also important to ensure awareness of this type of charity throughout rural areas where there are less provisions and perhaps less space to talk about problems.

NIGEL: Do you believe that through music, young men can be inspired to help with their condition?

HANNA: If you check out www.thecalmzone.net, you can read up on the what this organisation does as well as see how many musicians have come forward to talk about how they ‘RESET’ their life and moved forward. It is essential that people in the public eye talk about difficult illnesses such as depression as there is still such a huge stigma about mental health problems in our society.

NIGEL: How can the public attending Cloud 9 help the cause for Headculture and C.A.L.M?

HANNA: We hope to raise funds to ensure C.AL.M’s telephone helpline is open for longer and also to support the future of both organisations as it is an amazing cause to support.

You can find out more about Cloud 9 Festival at http://cloud9festival.co.uk/. If you wish to find more information on the two charities sponsoring the event then please visit www.thecalmzone.net and www.headculture.co.uk .

Interview by Nigel Cartner 21/07/11