48 Hours in Amsterdam Preview: Interview with Clubbing Travel Specialist Kirk Field
Reported by littlemissgenki
Submitted 19-10-04 15:13
The only independent travel company run by a clubber, radicalescapes.com organises trips to Snowbombing! in Austria, Sensation in Amsterdam and of course the legendary Heat Events trips to Ibiza and Amsterdam. With one of his most exciting trips yet — 48 Hours in Amsterdam — almost upon us, HarderFaster shares a pint of real ale with the man behind it all, Kirk Field.
You’ve been in the game a long time, haven’t you?
(laughs) too long! I started as a car parking steward for Sunrise (legendary Orbital rave promoters) in June 1989 and fifteen years I find myself still involved in taking people to the most unusual and unique parties with Radical Escapes.
Were you any good as a car parking steward?
No – I deserted my post after half an hour and joined the party… along with 15000 other people! From there I started writing about these amazing nights under the stars, to balance the blatant lies being peddled by the tabloids, for whom ‘acid house’ was the biggest threat to society since the plague.
Who did you write for?
I was Mixmag’s ‘raving reporter’ from 89-94, covering the dance scene’s explosion across the globe. I penned the first accounts of raves from France, Italy, Croatia & even Moscow.
Kirk Field in Austria
It must have been exciting, watching the dance wave wash over the world…
Every week threw something up that, looking back on it, was seminal in the development of club culture.
Interviewing the Orb, KLF, The Shamen & witnessing an underground culture gradually become mainstream was incredible. But it was also incredibly frustrating.
Well we realised pretty soon that Ribena and Lucozade were being drank by everyone at all night parties 'cos there was no alcohol licence, and the sugar content went down well with whatever else was being consumed. So I called up Ribena and asked them for sponsorship. They were really arsey, saying they did NOT want their product being associated with drug taking stay awakes… three months later, Lucozade re-launched under the slogan N-R-G! with a ravey sounding advert. Sales went up by 350%!
How did you get involved in travel?
I was involved in promoting a lot of one-off parties and club nights from 92-98 and wanted a new challenge. I’ve thrown parties in most major London venues and been lucky enough to have had Paul Oakenfold, Carl Cox, Graham Park, Sasha, Digweed & Brandon Block as my resident DJ’s. But a decade is a l-o-n-g time in dance music — and I didn’t get a kick out of throwing parties in purpose-built environments any more, unless they were somewhere absurd… like on a North Sea ferry!
HSS — The Ferry to Amsterdam
Are you talking about the legendary Hamburg cruises?
Yes, I worked with Frantic & Fevah and we threw the most amazing parties as we cruised to Hamburg.
Why did they stop?
Because someone in Harwich was fervently anti-clubbing, and caused us lots of problems with the German authorities. My phone was tapped and they raided my next event… which was an 80s cruise with a radio station. It was hilarious, they solemnly announced they were going to stop the event from going ahead because it was an acid house rave set to attract drug taking. I showed them the flyer which had a Tom Jones lookalike, an Abba tribute band and a U2 tribute band playing and told them the only pills anyone would be popping would be Sanatogen tablets! They relented, but I knew the writing was on the wall and so cooled it for a few years.
The Back of the Ferry
What happened next?
I decided to organise a ski and snowboard holiday for clubbers — because I knew the perfect place to hold it — Mayrhofen in Austria.
Did you pull it off?
Yeah, with the local tourist board’s backing — we put on ‘Faithless’ at the top of a mountain…in a blizzard! I still work there each winter, taking groups of people out to sample adrenaline inducing après ski activities like 500 cc snowbike riding, overnight parties in a pyramid at the top of a mountain and trips down the Olympic bob-sleigh run. It’s just been confirmed we will be offering ‘tubing’ this winter for the first time. This involves riding in a tractor tyre inner tube down a floodlit snow track... which emerges at a bar!
Everyone really lets their hair down on holiday. You must have some juicy stories?
You know what they say, “What goes on tour: stays on tour!” I see it all and if I don’t, people tell me about it, so yes, it can be rather entertaining at times.
I don’t really want to talk about the balcony scene in Austria, with three guys, one girl, a video camera and a huge (and I mean huge) German sausage… or the time I caught two girls having sex in a lifeboat with each other! The list is endless, I’d better stop or the libel lawyers might get interested. One day I’m gonna write a book about my fifteen years in clubbing & travel, and lets just say some names are gonna have to be changed to protect the guilty!
Austrian Party Pyramid
Tell us about ‘48 Hours in Amsterdam’
This resulted from a drunken conversation with Damo from HeatUK. I was telling him all about the club cruises and he said that if we could go to somewhere like Amsterdam it would be wicked… the result is an annual invasion by 500 London-based clubbers who party on the way there, all the time they’re there… and on the way back too!
We’re offering accommodation this time around – we’ve reserved the biggest budget hotel in the city and guess what… it’s got a club in the basement, so we’ll be throwing some free parties — we’re also over there at the same time as HQXL, which is great 'cos people can get the chance to witness a Dutch party as well.
Where else do you run trips to?
We take people to the world’s largest indoor party — Sensation (White) in Amsterdam stadium each July. We worked with Antiworld and took around 100 people to Europe’s biggest — and best — street parade in Rotterdam in August & of course we work with Heat for Ibiza opening & closing party weeks.
Heat Ibiza 2003
You’ve got a dream job, haven’t you?
It’s not as glamorous as it sounds, a lot of hard work goes into pulling off these things. It also means I’m away from my family more than is ideal — but when the sun rises over the ridge in the Alps, or when I see peoples faces after they get off the canal cruise in Amsterdam it’s worth it. Sorry to be cheesy, but it’s true, and if I didn’t care about what I do, there would be no point in doing it.
Any plans for the future?
I’m involved in Snowbombing! — this is a huge festival of beats on 6 different sound stages which takes place in Austria next year & features over 30 DJs and live bands. Artistes/djs who've played include X-Press 2, Jon Carter, Yousef, the Cuban Brothers, Adam Freeland, Freq Nasty, Kruder & Dorfmeister and dj Yoda. This year Milo is playing a live set & we're waiting to confirm one of biggest names in dance music. I've also got free flights for the first 50 people who book and am trying to get people to bombard the Snowbombing! site with requests for hard dance content — cos I know there's a demand for this and no-one does a hard-dance friendly snow holiday. Snowbombing! could be it!
I’m also looking forward to unveiling an exciting project with Heat Events next year…
Thanks for taking time out from your busy schedule Kirk!
More info: www.radicalescapes.com
Thanks to radicalescapes.com and MrBicgit for the use of their photos
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The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.