Geordie Barker Interview - The Pleasure Garden's Immersive Experience

Meet Geordie Baker from The Pleasure Garden, a sensational festival filled audio, visual and sensory pleasures. The Pleasure Garden is beautiful and iconic with its grassroots origin, and experimental aesthetic. We had a chat to Geordie about what makes The Pleasure Garden special, ahead of its annual showcase at Saint Kilda’s Catani Gardens, Melbourne on December 8th. You can secure your tickets, HERE.

Futuremag Music: Hey Geordie, how's life, the universe and everything?

Geordie Baker: Brilliant! We're onsite building the The Pleasure Garden festival, and there's a strong vibe amongst the crew, the sun is shining and I even had to put sunscreen on this morning, so thats an encouraging sign!

Futuremag Music: Jumping into it, how has music and your relationship with the scene influenced your life?

Geordie Baker: I found myself volunteering at Glastonbury Festival just over 10 years ago, and had only really experienced one or two festivals previously as a patron, since then music has been a driving force in my life. I've delighted in discovering whole new genres of music, and chased artists around the world to experience their live sets. It's a funny divide when you're a curator or creator of music spaces, as you can find yourself very disconnected whilst getting the event running, then all of a sudden you find yourself grooving out with hundreds of new friends front and centre of the stage you just built.

Futuremag Music: Can you talk us through how you moved into the music industry? How would you like the industry to evolve in the future?

Geordie Baker: I started in theatre lighting and production design, a few years in, I found myself backpacking through the UK and at the world's largest greenfield festival, Glastonbury. From there, I returned to Australia and started working on some great shows including Future Music, Groovin The Moo, Rainbow Serpent. My work took me to Malaysia working with Urbanscapes Music and Art Festival, which led to running a Malaysian Government youth festival called Hari Belia attended by over 750,000 people. These festivals were amazingly diverse, and all had amazing art and cultural elements to complement the music. I would like to see the music industry and the arts industry increase collaboration, and see where we can take those experiences.

Futuremag Music: Can you talk us through Pleasure Garden? How did yourself and the Pleasure Garden team form the festival?

Geordie Baker: We have three directors of The Pleasure Garden, all of whom are professionals in the events industry, with experience working overseas, particularly in the United Kingdom, where immersive music festivals are the norm. All of us found that Australia was lacking in the immersive experiences that the UK is known for, think Boomtown, Glastonbury and Secret Garden Party. A lot of the time, festivals in Aust consist of a stage, some bars and food, and we wanted to raise the bar, activate culture and incorporate arts into the music. We spend a great deal of time working through the intricacies of the patron experience, analysing every element from the stage positions, art installations, food and drink locations right down to the pathways into each of these areas. I'd like to think we create a mad playground for grownups, with visual and audible delights at every turn. In terms of what I'd like the fans to take away from the festival, I want them to have stories to tell, and I want them to meet people, and discover new music. Ultimately, I'd like to give people a release from the day to day world, and go on a journey with a story to tell at the end.

Futuremag Music: Pleasure Garden has a diverse set of musicians. How did you curate the lineup?

Geordie Baker: The process is almost never ending, we have a pretty epic wish list. There's a lot of personal love that goes into the artists we book, I don't want to come out and say we're just booking the music that we like, but we honestly do. Some festivals are run on social media metrics and radio plays and whats "hot", but that's not really how we roll. We want good music you could dance to in the sun, music that's accessible and fun for our friends, our family, our crew and most of all, people like you. 

Futuremag Music: A funny one to wrap it up. If 'Pleasure Garden' was a cocktail, what would be in it to best describe the festival and its experience? 

Geordie Baker: Brilliant question, I've just phoned a friend (The bar director) for some inspo... I would have to settle on a special cocktail we made in the first year of the festival called The Pleasure Garden. It had Chambord, Vodka, Pineapple & Lime, the perfect mix of fruit, kick and sweetness!