DJ Blondy – Q&A – epic tales of 2022 and nod to what’s in store for 2023.

We talked to Concrete Junglist’s DJ Blondy about last year’s Big Love Festival: her involvement, highlights and what to expect for 2023.

Everyone’s favourite local purveyors of Drum & Bass, Jungle and all things streetwear – Concrete Junglists – take over our Fire Engine Stage for one night of the festival. With it they bring the bass heavy energy we all know and love. In 2022 though, they bought with them with the infectiously joyful presence of Newport’s Ragga Drum & Bass and Jungle queen – Courtney-Paige Purnell aka DJ Blondy. If there had been anyone that didn’t know her name when she arrived… they sure did by the time she left! DJ Blondy played a blinder of a set on The Fire Engine Stage – pure fire.

Stick this mix on as you read the rest of our interview.

Yes yes Blondy, hello! Can you tell us how you were involved in Big Love Festival last year?

Last July (2022) I travelled to Big Love Festival to explore its imaginative, inclusive and inspirational small festival vibes – and to also throw down some flavoursome Jungle and Ragga Drum and Bass for the Concrete Junglists takeover on the Fire Engine Stage, of course. The stage was actually a reconstructed fire engine – yes, we performed on a real life fire engine.

I got to see first hand how this small independent festival thrives and how they engage with their festival goers – whether they visit for just 1 day or the whole weekend. The stakes were high for Big Love Festival 2022: but with the theme ‘Big Love Goes Wild’, a stunning new site and an epic line-up… it did not disappoint.

Aww, we are loving our new home too! Tell us about Concrete Junglists – how did you get involved with them?

I was a huge lover of Concrete Junglists clothing and had seen DJs like Ransom and Double-A-Side in raves throughout my university life. Before lockdown, I had taken an interest getting more involved with the Drum & Bass scene and took up DJing.

Drum & Bass DJ, Natty Lou was repping Concrete Junglists a lot; we had met whilst networking and became friends instantly. That then lead to me meeting Aaron and Dean. I’m a bit cocky/confident and kept manifesting that I was going to DJ for Concrete Junglists one day… and it happened in Escape Records Shop in Cardiff. That takeover was the first time I seen my alias on a poster and a line up and I’ve not looked back since.

An epic tale of the scene being drawn together for the sheer love of it; go DJ Blondy! What can our readers expect at Big Love 2023 – as we step into our second year at our new Usk (Wales) site?

The site was perfect for a small festival with a easy navigational system for the crowd and Big Love’s staff and crew members. 2022 was the first year at this location and we enjoyed that all the stages, barns and the forest dome were decorated to the nines, and all the campsites on the surrounding grounds filling the negative space which gave the feeling of togetherness and unity.

With plenty of woodland and shade awnings dotted around the site, we couldn’t have been in a better place to weather the heat and sunshine Wales was blessed with during July 2022; roll on sunshine in 2023!

What were your 2022 highlights?

Absolute highlights (there are so many!) were:

  • Uncle Dugs on Saturday night, bringing out Navigator and David Boomah.
  • LTJ Bukem headlining on the Saturday night.
  • A stonking set from Hollie-May & Ransom who was on after the mighty Bukem.

Oh.My.God the Concrete Junglists takeover was amazing on the Saturday, if I do say so myself. We had:

  • the talented APH down from Bristol
  • Headspace Cardiff‘s very own Lubi J – who’s been blessing the sounds of Big Love Festival in previous years
  • Up and coming DJ CJ who tore up the decks on a cool b2b with myself – DJ Blondy.
  • Concrete Junglists’ very own soundsystem slayers Double-A-Side and Kooley… do I even say more on these two talented men?!

Courtney, we’ve loved hearing from you; have you got any last words of wisdom for people looking at coming to Big Love 2023?

It’s like a mini wonderland: all the stage locations being decorated so colourful and fun is one of the many things that make big love festival so unique. There is such a plethora of original, inspiring and down right weird acts and performances that keep its audience coming back year after year since starting up.

There is no other festival where you can go to see LTJ Bukem perform on top of a fire engine, see many of Wales Music Award nominated artists and take part in themed day antics all in one sensory overloaded weekend. But beyond all that, the Big love festival organisers have a vision to create a festival like no other independent festival, both in creativity but with their programming for the line ups.

The future was uncertain for so many festivals after Covid, but I really hope this clear vision to create a friendly-fun filled celebration – with transparent regular updates on the ups and downs of their journey as an evolving community – will mean Big love Festival has a bright future ahead. Here’s to the next chapter!

If you still haven’t made it to Big love festival then buy your ticket right now; you can check out their social media to get a glimpse into what they’re about. It will give you an insight into the sheer inclusivity of the festival and its vision behind this incredible, independent Welsh spectacular festival. Get ready for 2023 and beyond.

Thank you Blondy – we love seeing you on so many poster line-ups since Big Love Festival – may you keep rising!

We’ll leave you with this epic Concrete Junglists Takeover inspired playlist, curated by DJ Blondy for Big Love Festival.

Note from Big Love: If you’re not yet familiar with Concrete Junglists, fear not! You can watch The Central Club‘s Entrepreneur Concrete Junglist Tells Us His Story – Welsh Rave Scene & Starting Up A Business YouTube video here.

Or click here to read a UKF article all about Concrete Junglists.

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