The Lowdown: Floorless

2023’s festival season is well under way. After what felt like a never ending winter period, the long days and nights of dancing in the fields with your pals is back and I couldn’t be happier. To celebrate this return, we asked UK-based DIY festival and event series Floorless to take over our mix series for the month of May. During those four(ish) weeks, we spotlighted some of the founders and residents of Floorless, showcasing why they are one of the most exciting new event series to come through in the last few years.

Taking place from the 4th – 6th August, Floorless Festival was a natural response to those lonely months brought on by the pandemic. The Floorless brand originally started as a series of club shows run by a group of friends who are DJs, promoters, producers and music lovers and have since hosted parties at venues such as Corsica Studios, The Glove That Fits, Venue MOT and The Carpet Shop. Over the years it has grown into an event with a real community spirit, seeing the same faces on the dance floor of every event. This extends into the festival where the music policy represents a breadth of UK clubland with a focus on local talent; this year’s lineup includes Michelle Manetti, Sarra Wild b2b Mi-el, Tia Cousins, Tristan Ayela, Alicia, Allecto, Manami, DR Mystery and more.

For those on low income / experiencing financial issues, Floorless have a selection of day and community tickets available – you can reach out to them via email for more information.

Bringing the takeover to a close, we spoke to Floorless founders Phoebe and Cameron about the origins of the event series, their ethos and approach to parties, favourite memories from over the years and where they would like to see Floorless in the future.


Listen to the mixes below:


What’s the origin story of Floorless?

Phoebe: Honestly, Floorless was born out of boredom in lockdown. I’m freelance and used to a packed schedule but through lockdown found myself unemployed with a desperate need to stay busy. I started scouring air bnb and camping websites looking for land to host an outdoor party for all of our friends, and fill the void of all the cancelled festivals.

Cameron and I have been friends since school and joked years ago about starting a festival, but I think we only got as far as looking up a generator and immediately decided it was too complicated.

I gave him a call and after a little back and forth of wondering if this was a totally crazy idea, we decided to take on the challenge together. Next thing I was booking toilets and searching for a marquee. We put the word out to our close friends, sold them cheap tickets just to cover our costs, and told everyone to bring enough booze for three days & some fancy dress.

I then met Andrew and after discovering he was a set designer, picked his brain for advice on the best way of finding a stretch tent or building a stage on a budget. When he was furloughed a couple months later, he hit me up and said he’d like to build us a stage! Next thing you know he became our resident handyman and all round construction king.


Cameron: I was on furlough from Corsica Studios at the time, where I had been working with Tris and Will. I told them about the plan and they were both super keen to help out on the tech side of things. That’s pretty much how we put together our core team. The weekend turned out to be so special. Everybody loved it and we all loved doing it together so it was pretty much a no brainer to keep it going. I definitely feel the vibe that was set that year is still present. We still have a lot of the traditions from that first year, like the booth parties, wheel ups and Manamis closing set.

After the weekend was over we put a post out on our facebook group asking for suggestions for a name for the festival in return for a guest list slot for life. Our mate Lucas suggested Floorless, a play on Flawless by George Michael which I had played (at Phoebe’s request) during my set on Saturday night. It just stuck with people and became a bit of an anthem in the campsite over the weekend.

We’ve kept on going from there really, the festival is still entirely funded by ticket sales and run & produced by the same core group, with a few more helping us along the way (shouts to Louis, Eddie, Ed, Annie, Ruby, Mellissa, Dagan, Adrian & Corsica Studios and Reproduction Bristol!).



What draws you to organising events? What is it about this specific creative format that motivates and inspires you?

Cam: It’s a tough one to pin down as there’s so many different aspects I could talk about. I think at its base is the social aspect of it, community building, meeting artists and generally getting more involved with the scene I love. You need people hosting parties, promoters play such an important role in the scene. Dancefloors are where the magic happens, the testing ground for the music, the place where people meet. I love hosting people and throwing parties so it felt kind of natural progression.. It’s been a bit of a journey from throwing parties as a student in Bristol as Monkey Sounds to now doing Floorless and working in a nightclub. We’ve been blessed with the community that has grown around it. We’ve seen musical collaborations, friendships and relationships grow from it over the years (shouts to the best crew). It feels pretty special to be a part of something and see the positive influence it’s had on people.

Phoebe: The festival feels particularly special to me because of how happy it makes everyone. Seeing groups of mates come together and make memories in the space that we’ve designed, built and curated feels magical. Not to get all soppy about it but seeing people smile all weekend makes the year’s worth of work for one weekend’s enjoyment totally 100% worth it.


What are some of the most formative events that you’ve been to that have helped shape the ethos of Floorless?

Phoebe: The obvious one for us is Field Manoeuvres. It was the first independent festival Cameron and I had attended, and seeing something so special on a much smaller scale made the whole concept of starting a festival far more achievable. It also showed us what a safe, community driven space could feel like while also focusing on amazing production and cutting out all the BS that put us off the bigger festivals.Then this year we went to Horst together, the level of production there is unmatched!

Cameron: Horst was super inspirational. First time I’ve seen a festival of that scale maintain such good crowd energy. Goes to show the effort and care put into both the programming and production translates to the crowd. It was all very original and outside the box, and has pushed our standards for Floorless now.

Outside of festivals, Unfold in London was the first party I went to where I really felt a strong community spirit. Although they’ve had a fair few big names now over their time, the focus has never been on that, it’s been about the crowd and the energy. It’s an incredible place to play and party. They built it up to a place where all the big Techno DJs want to play there now, and they did that by building around their own community, focusing on supporting people around them first and foremost. This is the kind of ethos we’ve applied to Floorless.


Have there been any moments that have changed the way you approach organising parties?

Cam: Definitely for me personally, working with Phoebe and Andrew has made me realise how much the aesthetic of a party can affect the vibe. I feel like a lot of people when putting on club nights will put little to no effort into how the club looks. Getting a bit of fabric up and a bit of extra lighting goes such a long way into making your night feel like a more unique experience. Another good one I’d say has been cooking our own dinners before our nights has been a game changer. It always annoyed me a bit that as independent promoters, struggling to break even, you’re having to dish out £100+ on a fancy dinner. Feel like it’s pretty counterproductive but it’s one of those things that’s expected. I remember hearing that Bruce used to have everyone over to his house and cook dinner when he was doing his “get loose” parties. Especially if you’re running a smaller party this made a lot more sense to me. It’s a much nicer way to host people, everyone ends up feeling way more comfortable and makes the rest of the night feel more enjoyable for everyone. We’ve done that with all our parties this year and that’s now my number one trick – does help to have a mate who can cook though (shouts to Dylan & Andrew).

Phoebe: I’d say it’s going to festivals and seeing what I like and dislike. It’s important to me to create a space that feels welcoming and even warm by using the right decor and lights. From the main stage design and the posters (shout out to Louis) to the weird corners people discover after hours, it’s been really fun to hone in on our aesthetic and build a world that you feel immersed in and triggers all your senses.


What is your approach to curating your lineups and programming for the festival? 

Phoebe: Ah, that’s Cam’s department…

Cam: A lot of the bookings from Floorless are dependent on our budget. The first few years we mainly had friends playing for free. This is what led to us having this really nice resident culture going, a lot of people have played every year or at least multiple times. Even as we’ve built up the festival and we are slowly able to have more and more choice in who we want to get involved with, the residents still play a central part in the curation. When reaching out to new people,we always need a bit of compromise and understanding for it to work . This in a sense has kind of created a kind of natural filter, we’ve mostly ended up having people down who are really up for it and passionate about what we’ve created. These are also the people who end up hanging around and getting more involved with the festival, something we try and encourage. I think it helps create a really nice atmosphere.

We’d never be able to compete with other festivals by booking big artists, they can do that 10x bigger and better than us, so I try to focus on our strengths and keep trying to platform these smaller artists who can grow with us. I love the diversity in scenes that we have here in London, I try to reflect this in the lineup every year. Always on the lookout for people I feel are doing cool things in their respective scenes. We have a very open minded crowd which really helps, I feel a lot of freedom with Floorless to mix up all these different sounds. Having one stage has been quite challenging in this sense, trying to draw a line through these different styles and sounds. I think having only one stage is great, instead of having people darting around from stage to stage following the artists and sound they are comfortable with everybody is forced to lock into the same narrative. It keeps people on a similar wave and exposes them to new sounds and artists. Part of me never wants to have more than on stage. It keeps things simple in the best way.



What have been some of your favourite memories from previous parties and festivals that you’ve hosted?

Phoebe: There were loads of special moments like everyone sitting at the top of the hill watching the sun come up or having an ice cream truck pull up in the 30 degree heat and everyone losing their minds over it haha. But one of my favourite memories is from the first year, after Manami’s closing set, when Cam and I just couldn’t believe what we had pulled off, we sat there with our heads in our hands but the biggest smiles on our faces, just in complete shock. I still get that feeling every year. It’s weird knowing the weekend you’ve spent a year working on is coming to end and you’re so sad for it to be over but at the same time just bewildered we even made it that far.

Then there’s stuff like the generator cutting out two years in a row! Last year was a particularly funny moment as it cut out at midnight Sunday, on the dot. The crowd started laughing and saying ‘Every year!!’. People suspected we did it on purpose for a laugh as the same thing had happened the year before. Wish we could say we did but truth is we have a seriously weird relationship with generators haha.

Cam: First year is always going to hold some of my most precious memories. Just the how the fuck has this happened feeling. I remember being in the campsite after the music was off and seeing my friends trying to see how many people could squeeze into a tent. There’s only one place you see those kinds of antics, that’s when I knew we’d started something serious. Helen shouting at me “look what you’ve done!”, which she still does every year. A more recent one, after last year when about 10 of us went and got tattoos of the logo. That was pretty cool as well. Endless good memories really.


In what ways has running parties impacted your relationship with music?

Cam:I don’t feel like running parties or working in a club has impacted my relationship with music per se, but more how I experience those spaces. I definitely find it harder to fully switch off sometimes at Festivals and Clubs, I’m a lot more aware of the detail in everything and if something isn’t right it can really kill my vibe haha. I’m still having a lot of special and fun times in clubs but I guess, as pretentious as it sounds, my standards are just a little higher now. That must have a knock on effect into what inspires my taste and what I listen to as well now.

Phoebe: I’ve always loved dance music but felt I didn’t have a voice in this world because I didn’t DJ or have an insane knowledge on underground music like alot of my friends do. Floorless has given me a way of expressing my love for this scene and creating a space where other punters can come and feel inspired and build on their own relationship with music.


If you could pick one song that sums up Floorless what would it be?

Cam: It’s got to be Flawless – George Michael (Get to the city)


In 5 years time, where would you like Floorless to be?

Phoebe: I’m almost reluctant to answer this question as I’m enjoying Floorless growing at its own rate and not setting any specific goals or numbers.

I think the main thing for me is to build our community of Djs and attendees and keep it a place people always want to return to. I love that Floorless has a very special place in people’s hearts and I’m very weary of growing too quickly and losing any of the magic.

I imagine we’ll get up to 500 tickets and see how we feel, but the goal has never been to be huge or rake in the cash.


Cam: Yeah I’m with Phoebe on this. I have occasional pipe dreams and big ideas about what I’d like to do with Floorless but essentially we want to do what feels like the natural next step. We wouldn’t want to get carried away with our own ambitions for the project and end up abstracting it from what it was that made it special in the first place. That doesn’t mean we don’t want it to grow, we just want to make sure it’s done at the right pace and with the right people. I’d like to extend our community more and more outside of London, to the rest of the UK and Europe. I love the idea of bringing together these different scenes. If there are people that connect with what we do or are involved in similar projects elsewhere we’d love to hear from you!

I’d love Floorless in 5 years to be one of the best small parties going and a melting pot of different sounds and cultures.


Floorless Festival takes place from the 4th – 6th August – buy tickets here.