Way Out West

In the beginning of August the music festival Way Out West will take place in the heart of Gothenburg for the seventh time. We have talked to the festival’s Niklas Lundell.

Way Out West is a festival that encourage their visitors to think as well as to dance. Ever since the start back in 2007, Way Out West has been pushing the boundaries of festivals with innovative thinking and love for music. In 2011 they were voted the most innovative festival by MTV. We have talked to Niklas Lundell, one of the driving forces behind Way Out West, to find out how it all began.

– This is our seventh year. We started with a lack of finding a festival that we wanted to attend ourselves. A festival that wasn’t located across the universe and that wasn’t about staying in tent and get wasted for the first time. An urban experience if you will.

How do you believe that the festival has developed since the start?
– Quite a lot and not at all. We are constantly taking small steps forward and are pushing Way Out West towards a more interdisciplinary program and an even more aware and conscious festival. We want it to be opinion-forming without losing its party vibe.

In their strive for a more diverse and interdisciplinary festival, Way Out West not only host shows, but also art happenings and movie screenings.

– It is super interesting and the different expressions are definitely adding flavour to eachother. Festivals nowadays are just as much about visual experiences as audio, and it’s sometimes quite hard to say whether a certain thing should be labeled music, art or film. Fuck labels, it is festival!

Since day one Way Out West has been concerned about their ecological footprint and social engagement. Everything from the waste management and energy consumption to the food and transportation are thought-out with the environment in mind. Beginning last year, they serve nothing but vegetarian food, something that has been met with both resistance and ovation.

–  Sustainability today goes into every bit and piece of Way Out West. It is a core value and something we work to improve all the time. We believe it gain a lot to the atmosphere and experience for the punters as well. Isn’t it like karma..? Party your way to a better world – it can actually be true!

The Knife is one of the headlines at this year's Way Out West.
The Knife is one of the headlines at this year’s Way Out West.

Niklas names going all in vegetarian as one of the proudest moment in his work with Way Out West. He also mentions the integration of arts and movies in the festival’s program as well as the moment when Jeff Tweedy sang with Feist.

– I think we, to some extent, change people’s mindset. Broaden their perspecitves. It could be through food, art or music – new friends or the love of your life.

What are the news for this year’s festival?
– We don’t do news, we do Way Out West.

Which shows, movies, and art happenings will you make sure not to miss?
–  Music-wise it is Beach House. And Junip. And Kendrick Lamar, Grimes, HAIM, ahhh there is so many! When it comes to art happenings I say Stina Nordenstam and a movie I will make sure to see is The East. Food-wise it is the Arrancini, fried rice balls with cheese, Italian specialty.

How do you want Way Out West to develop in the future?
– Transcendental. I would love to see it losen up its physical form. To let people develop and take it over and create their versions, shared by others. Think open source.

Way Out West takes place in Gothenburg between the 8th-10th of August. The lineup is topped by Neil Young, The Knife, Kendrick Lamar, and Alicia Keys. See the full program here and listen to the Way Out West playlist below.