INTERVIEW | The Halloween Masked Ball Festival organiser Kelvin Batt talks favourite horror character, hedonism and what to expect at this year’s festival.
Last year, the Halloween Masked Ball festival, which takes place in a fully immersive functional theme park (Flambards, Helston, Cornwall), swiftly became a NEN favourite due to the sheer exuberance and fun factor of the place, coupled with the clear dedication from its organisers to throw an almighty all-nighter.
This year with an increased capacity of 7000, theirs is being billed as ‘Europe’s biggest Halloween party’, with the likes of Hot Chip, DJ Yoda, Ewan Pearson, Drums of Death, Metrik and many more amongst its musical line up, alongside a menagerie of immersive theatrical attractions.
We caught up with organiser Kelvin Batt for a few beers in Camden last week to find out what’s in store for 2016’s beastly bash…
NEN The Halloween Masked Ball is being described as ‘Europe’s biggest Halloween party’, this is effectively the last UK festival on the calendar before the winter coats come out and we all start eating soup, how is MB gonna see out the summer with a bang?
KB Ha! Well there’s been some amazing events this summer so it’s a hard act to follow, but I think with the level of participation we get from the Ballers and the fact we have a theme park at our disposal, we’ve got a good shot of making it an amazing shindig
NEN Your bi-annual Masked Ball festivals have earned a hallmark reputation of frivolity and hedonism, tell us what you think MB offers that other large events do not?
KB Well firstly, I think we are very lucky that we have a Cornish crowd, they really go for it you know? And then we always try to push stuff a little…we’ve a special group of followers and they get what we do.
NEN Tell us briefly about your expanded theatre and immersive attractions this year.
KB Yeah, we sat down and decided to spend more on theatre than music acts for this Halloween — so from the moment you walk into ‘Coney island’ it should be a real assault on the senses. We’ve also stuck in a few new ‘walk through’ experience areas…
NEN Who are you most excited to see musically this year, any lesser-known gems to look out for?
KB Well we have a brand new techno area which I’m really excited about, and we’ve also a few of the local boys really shining at the moment, notably the ‘ere wax boys from Falmouth and Alec Conrad/ Russ Kay. Felix Dickinson is always up there too.
NEN Why Coney Island themed this year, ever been?
KB Yeah man, I went a few years ago, [there’s] so much history there. We’ve kind of based it around the older less PC version, think 1920’s probation era.
NEN Describe the thought and planning process, who comes up with the ideas and concepts and where /who do you take inspiration from?
KB We spend a lot of time in fields and there’s a fair bit of time in discussion in our beloved local pub ‘The Ship Inn’ as well. Inspirationally I think were lucky with were we live, it really lends itself to some free thinking.
NEN Why throw a Halloween party?
KB It’s got to be the best fancy dress party of the year hasn’t it??
NEN Describe a typical ‘Baller’.
KB Ha! Open minded, pretty musically aware and a bit deviant. Probably of a Cornish decent or mindset.
NEN Who are your top 3 horror characters?
KB There’s a few in our local town of Porthleven… er Jack Torrance played by Jack Nicholson in The Shining, Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and David from The Lost Boys. Oh and the kid catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang used to scare the living bejesus out of me.
NEN Who’s your favourite psychopath and why?
KB Max Cady (Robert De Niro) in cape fear — he spends 14 years in prison planning his revenge — that’s dedication for you!
NEN Tell us a secret
KB I’m currently squatting in a tent on the roof of a tall building in central London..