The UK's one and only snowsports music festival returns in a week's time, welcoming the likes of Basement Jaxx, Blonde, Craig Charles and Mike Skinner to the Scottish Highlands.
After a storming debut, the team behind Groove CairnGorm are full of excitement as they gear up for their second edition. We caught up with Dougie Brown from the festival team to talk inspiration, the resort and why he feels a UK snowsports festival is so unique.
You're the UK's only snowsports music festival. What inspired you to start the festival?
The idea for the festival originated from a conversation between one of our partners Sam Barker and the Cairn Gorm Mountain Marketing Manager at the time Ross Coulter. We had just staged the first Groove Festival, Groove Loch Ness with 2ManyDJs and Groove Armada amongst others. And after looking at the success of snowsports festivals in Europe we thought it was about time the UK had its own one.
How was your debut? And what new things will there be for 2017?
Tell us more about the resort – what's the snow like and how are the slopes?
The CairnGorm's are the number one snowsports resort in Scotland. The area is one of the most stunning in the UK: the mixture of mountains, lochs, woodland with the addition of après-ski makes this a really special weekend.
And are your stages on the slopes or in the resort's clubs?
Throughout the Groove weekend we have two stages of music up the mountain. The first stage is in the Ptarmigan (the highest restaurant in the UK) which features acoustic acts, while the second is in the Day Lodge and has DJs from 9am until 5pm. The après-ski site is halfway between the Cairn Gorm mountain and Aviemore in a secluded woodland clearing. It really is one of the most amazing locations and we are very fortunate to get to do this inside an open sided structure which offers us weather protection.
A UK snowsports music festival is obviously unusual. Do you feel this adds something extra?
It definitely adds something completely unique to the festival. The Cairngorms National Park has an abundance of outdoor activities on its doorstep and even for those not into snowsports there is no shortage of things to do, from go-karting, watersports on Lock Morlich, clay pigeon shooting, zip-lines, treetop trails, mountain walks, mountain biking and much more.
This year's lineup features Basement Jaxx, Blonde, Craig Charles and Mike Skinner. A proper mix of genres there. You must have such fun putting together a lineup like that? And is a diverse lineup a big thing you're going for?
Yeah we have a lot of fun pulling a lineup together. I think the key element we are thinking of when programming is creating a party atmosphere. We only have one stage at the après-ski site so we do want to have a diverse lineup, but it needs to hold together too and feel like one festival. We are really delighted with the lineup for this year and are already contemplating 2018!
Who are you most excited to see?
It has to be Basement Jaxx. They are pretty much a dream headliner for us and we can't believe we've managed to get them up to Aviemore.
And finally, how do you see the future for CairnGorm?
We hope that Groove becomes a must go to festival, not just for snowsports fans but for people who feel (like us) that festivals are not just for summer!