Jan 17, 2013
Craig Pettigrew

In just its 6th year, the BPM Festival has become one of the premier festivals in the world of dance music. We sat down with one of BPM’s co-founders, Craig Pettigrew (pictured left), to discuss the success and growth of the festival, and his future plans in the studio.

Craig Pettigrew - No Crash (Stacey Pullen Remix) [Younan Music]
LessThan3: So you just got married, congratulations!
Craig Pettigrew: Thank you, I did, the day before the festival started. This is how we honeymoon; we throw a ten day music festival.
LessThan3: This is the sixth year of the BPM Festival. When you first started, what did you intend it to be?
Craig Pettigrew: I’ve traveled around the world a lot and spent some time in Ibiza. I was there for ten years and I realized the only thing that’s kind of comparable on this side of the world was WMC, and I thought there was a need for something like that in the wintertime. So I traveled around to a few islands, and actually scheduled the first BPM for St. Maarten. Then my friend called me up and said to come to Playa Del Carmen before I started booking DJs. The next day I flew down here, dropped my bags off, and immediately decided to throw the festival here. It just made sense; the city is spectacular and is a great venue for something like this.
LessThan3: A lot of people here do seem to be calling it “Ibiza 2.0.” Since last year, the festival has almost doubled in size in terms of attendance. Has that growth been constant from the start, or is that a new development?
Craig Pettigrew: The first year was a little light because we had to convince people to come here and didn’t have the DJs we have playing here now, but everyone who has come has decided to come back and bring friends. So doubling has sort of been the graph since then.
LessThan3: A lot of the venues have already seen some overcrowding. Are there plans to expand to bigger spaces?
Craig Pettigrew: We’ve definitely got a plan in place for next year with some different options. We did add a lot more events rather than find a bigger footprint this year, but it seems like we have reached the max for now.
LessThan3: The festival started out focused on underground and techno and deep house. Now we see more commercially successful acts such as Sander van Doorn and Thomas Gold popping up at events. Will we see more artists like this playing the festival as it grows?
Craig Pettigrew: This is still a music festival and I think we should bring in different aspects of electronic music, whether it be a little sprinkle of commercial stuff or underground. We are a techno and deep house festival at heart, but we do want to give people the option to give their ears a break and hear something else.
LessThan3: Any plans for a BPM satellite festival?
Craig Pettigrew: There have actually been talks with several different promoters and partners about a summertime festival. It would still be a tropical place, basically just taking BPM and placing it somewhere else. It would need to be the same format, the exact same look and feel. We want it to be expansive, to have great music, to have great sound, and to reach the right demographic. I think that’s what’s been the key to our success; the people that love this music are very particular about what they like.
LessThan3: You mentioned the great sound. One of the biggest compliments we’ve been hearing around the festival is how on point the sound systems are at every club. Was that a main focus for you in building the festival?
Craig Pettigrew: If you’re gonna book the biggest DJs on the planet, you want to give them all the tools so they can give the best performance. It’s not about lights and visuals and pyro and all this stuff. BPM is a music festival, so when you come here you’re bringing your music game. No tricks here, this is what it is. Get the best sound in the world and show everyone what you’ve got. We’ve brought in a team from New York, and I think these guys are the best sound crew in the world right now.
LessThan3: Aside from BPM, you DJ and produce as well, correct?
Craig Pettigrew: Right, but I took this past year off because of the wedding and the festival and this new club I just opened in LA called Sound. But next year, I definitely plan to make a splash in the studio and work on some new music.
LessThan3: Decribe BPM Festival in LessThan3 words.
Craig Pettigrew: Paradise Beats.
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