So chances are that if you find a decent quality of a fake Reading and Leeds line up, Dan Hart would be the person behind it. We grabbed a few minutes with him to see how and why he does what he does
Why do you do the posters?
I make them mainly as a different way of presenting line-up predictions, suggestions and wishlists. It’s fun to speculate about which bands could play, and posters are just more eye-catching and pretty to look at than a simple text list of bands. For a laugh I’ve occasionally made them with the intention of fooling people into thinking they were genuine leaks – and I’ve been successful a few times – but usually this isn’t the case. The “leaks” probably wouldn’t fool anyone these days anyway; people are more skeptical now.
Where do you get the artist names and positions from?
I generally try to keep the line-ups reasonably realistic, so I mainly use bands that are particularly popular or relevant at the time to the various segments of the festival’s target audience. Bands with new albums for example, or that have a lot of hype and momentum. I think a good line-up needs diversity and balance – enough to keep most of the typical crowd happy, at least – so that’s what I tend to aim for.
As for positions, I look at the real line-ups from recent years and get a feel for how big the bands in each slot are, then try to match them with similar-sized acts on my posters. For bands I’m less familiar with, this often involves a bit of research into their album sales figures and size of venues they play. There’s usually quite a bit of guesswork too though, so it can be tricky to get it right.
What’s the closest you’ve ever been?
I think I won a prediction competition in 2010 with this effort (see below) – a lot of wrong positions, but loads of bands that ended up playing. I think this was only made a week or two before the first announcement though, so there would have been a lot of rumours going around by that point.
Ever got into trouble for doing them?
I imagine the festival promoters can get frustrated or irritated when people think my posters are the real deal, but I don’t remember ever getting any complaints or ‘cease and desist’ messages. Perhaps the organizers even find them useful sometimes, as a way to see how people would react to certain bands being announced?
Have you got time to do us your ideal line up?
Well the balance and diversity has gone out the window this time, along with any remote sense of realism… but if I’m going to dream, I might as well dream big. Here you go, Hartfest 2014 (arena open and bands playing 24 hours a day):
How do you go about doing them? What software? Where do you get the logos and backgrounds from?
I make my posters using Adobe Photoshop. I actually only have limited experience and only basic knowledge of how to use it, but the posters aren’t very complicated or difficult to make once you get the hang of it. I use a few graphics taken from festival websites for the backgrounds, and the band logos are mostly pulled from their official websites or Google images. I have a stash of them saved to my hard drive, so I don’t have to keep searching online for them each time. Here is the latest template I’ve been using for Reading & Leeds, in case anyone wants to try making their own: http://i.minus.com/ibnBoh4d0AlwYX.jpg http://i.minus.com/izOxrCFFfvpIp.jpg