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20th Jun 2017

Avril Stanley: The person who brings the idea of Body&Soul to life

The person who puts her body and soul into the festival.

From paper to real-life.

Music festivals have become a way of life in recent years. It has become a way of letting your hair down, cutting ties with the world for just a weekend, a day or even a couple of hours and really enjoying yourself.

We now have more festivals to choose from than ever before and in order for one festival to stand out from the crowd, it needs to be special, unique and the atmosphere needs to be just as good as the music.

Body&Soul Festival Director Avril Stanley has the tough but rewarding job of making Body&Soul a force to be reckoned with on the festival stage.

Her thorough structuring of the event in Ballinlough Castle in County Westmeath will manifest from her time growing up in Galway, travelling in Asia, summers in Canada and particularly, her experience at Burning Man Festival.

Clip via Alvin Nguyen

Speaking to Nialler9, Avril talked about the hard graft, time and effort that goes into constructing a fantastic music festival such as Body&Soul.

“To me, it’s about honouring an age-old Celtic tradition but doing it in a contemporary way,” explains Stanley. ”In Ireland, we used to celebrate the Solstice in a big way and I wanted to find a way to reconnect with that part of our history.

“Ultimately we want to inspire our audience – we want to set something alight within them from the experience and creativity and art is absolutely fundamentally important to making that happen.

“There is absolutely no room for complacency or overconfidence,” states Stanley. “Audience wants and needs change all the time and you must try to understand them and then feed those changes and work hard to fine tune your offering to meet those needs.”

Body&Soul is now in its sixth year and will use its natural amphitheatre for stage performances and will be surrounded by walled gardens, woodlands, custom-built houses and bars and hot tubs to name a few.

For Stanley however, it’s not about how successful the concerts decor is, it’s about the effort that her and her team have put in to making the event so special.

“Knowing you have given it your all, and done your best is the highest goal. It’s not based on success in obvious terms, but on an inner dialogue between you and you – that has poured its heart and soul into every inch of what you do. This challenge is set each year for me.”

You can read the full interview here.