Photo credit: Katie Miller
Katie Miller<br>
Katie Miller

I am from North Lincolnshire and came to Cornwall to study Press and Editorial photography at Fal university in late 2020. After living here for a year I began to photograph events in the South West and fell in love with the lifestyle. I was lucky enough to become a contributing photographer for CLUNK, which has allowed my work to be pushed further than I could’ve imagined.

Fern Presents are the Falmouth based team who have been putting on a variety of sold out shows across the town, including the sold out show with The Doinks and support.

We were lucky enough to be able to interview the amazing Fern Presents (Liam Beck and Zoe Lascelles-Lloyd) about how their team started, their recent events and the ins and outs of the events management business within the Falmouth community. 

Katie: Who are Fern Presents?

Liam: We are Zoe and Liam and we are Fern Presents, we are part of the Surf Radio Society, but we specialise more in music events, and simply promoting the local music scene after the loss of so many people in the music industry due to COVID.    

Katie: Where did Fern Presents come from?

Photo credit: Katie Miller
Photo credit: Katie Miller

Liam: So post COVID we had some early projects, so we had an online music festival that we had worked on called “Mango music festival”, where we connected with a bunch of artists in Falmouth that were almost locked away from the opportunity to play for a year due to Lockdown. 

From that, and the connections that we had gained from “Surf radio”, e.g the bands, we realised the community needed more people to put on these types of events to support local artists and help the grow. 

Zoe: The Surf radio society just gave us the opportunity to bring back Fern presents as well, which hadn’t been able to run events because of COVID. With that we threw the come bag gig at chintz, late September. Which was really successful, that just brought us back into the events scene in Falmouth. 

Liam: I think on that night we realised there was so much demand for it, as we were sold out to full capacity really quickly, and you could see how many more people were interested.

Zoe: It really did inspire us to keep running events, and we wanted to go bigger and just support all the local artists as best as we could. 

Katie: How did the Cornish bank event come about?

Liam: After the Chintz event we witnessed just how big the demand was for these types of events and wanted to do something a lot bigger to see if we could do it and if we could reach a wider audience, which would in turn help the bands get to bigger stages within the area. The Cornish Bank was a new venue which we wanted to try out and get them involved in the scene more.

Zoe: It was like a challenge for us, we are second year, we did our first year in the pandemic, we’d run an online event, we wanted to try and see if we could go bigger. Challenge ourselves with bigger venues and more stake holders and bigger finances and budgets! Just supporting local bands and helping them onto bigger stages and getting them known a bit more. 

Liam: And with the Cornish bank being a community funded arts project it just made sense to do it there. 

Zoe: They try and promote arts and culture around Falmouth and they’re a new venue so it just made sense. 

Katie: Why Cornish Bank?

Zoe: It’s a new project, only opening in March, they’re trying to bring arts and culture back into Falmouth, because of Covid and everything, Rufus and Will are just dedicating and investing a lot of time into taking the venue to the next level, to bring people together. Which I really support, I think it’s great, and theirs all sorts going on in there, it’s not just music and we just want to be part of that diverse community. 

We also knew that the profits we made would be going straight back into the venue, helping their project and renovations, which we really wanted to support. 

Liam: It’s a really nice space as well, in Falmouth we have a lot of venues which are all really small, so when you want to put on a larger gig, you’re usually limited to around 100. Whereas now the Cornish Bank has opened, you’re able to hold a larger capacity, allowing for a different experience which you can’t get anywhere else in Falmouth. 

Zoe: Yeah and I think we were quite successful in that, I feel like the Cornish Bank was a place that not many people knew about, just because it was quite new, we ran an event unlike what they’ve really experience before really. We brought loads of students into this venue, who before they went to our gig, didn’t even know the Cornish bank was really a thing. So we hope we’ve been able to help them grow a new demographic and widen their audience. I know they were really happy to see everyone come together, which was our main goal, so I think it was the perfect venue, no complaints. 

Katie: How did you get into contact with the acts?

Liam: There was quite a mixture between socialising and just being familiar with people in the scene, and then kind of selecting a line up that worked musically for the event. 

Zoe: Yeah, I feel like we’ve been trying to go to as many gigs as possible and meet as many people as possible in the music scene in Falmouth. Through people we meet there, we meet others and more and MORE and then you just end up finding people that want to play. We try and have people play that we like as well, and also try to have bands that know each other, so that it feels a bit more cohesive when they’re on stage. This makes it a little bit less daunting for them, because when you’re preparing, doing sound checks and stuff, everyone can have a chat, which makes it a bit more relaxed. It’s just a case of bringing them all together and putting them on stage really. 

“We don’t want to be restricted to one sort of genre, we just want to promote and support anyone and everyone who wants to work with us really”

Zoe – Fern Presents

Katie: Were there any other bands that you would’ve liked to perform?

Liam: I don’t think there were any specific acts that we aimed for, I think it came together just by seeing who was up for it and placing it all together, it was just perfect timing between Mothman’s first appearance in Falmouth, Syrupp wanting to start doing shows and the Doinks releasing their brand new song.

Zoe: It all just lined up, we couldn’t have really planned that better. It all just happed out of no where. We’re just happy to work with anyone, I know that we’ve done a lot of punk or alternative sort of music so we’re happy to work with anyone, whatever the genre. We don’t want to be restricted  to one sort of genre, we  just want to promote and support anyone and everyone who wants to work with us really. 

Katie: Views for the future?

Liam: We would like to continue what we’re doing, experiment around a little bit to see which venues work well for us, experiment with different genres of music, line ups etc, just to carry on supporting people the way we love to do and to simply have fun whilst doing it. 

Zoe: Yeah we want to stay in the area but have been thinking about broadening our horizons a little bit in the future. I think we feel confident enough now after selling out our last gig, now we just want MORE!! 

We definitely want to continue what we’re doing and help support everyone in the local music scene, support people in the arts, culture, bring people together. We definitely all deserve it after being through the pandemic. 

Katie: Were you happy with how everything went?

Zoe: We couldn’t be happier with how everything went so far, everyone’s been so supportive and lovely to work with.

Liam: I think it’s just a good feeling when you’re able to run a gig, you’re able to make sure that everyone receives the amount they should be getting, with paying everyone fairly and putting money back into the arts industry again especially after the pandemic, is a really important thing.

Zoe: Even if it isn’t much we are definitely trying, the main thing for me was that I was looking at the crowd and it was just smiles all around, people in the crowd SMILING, people crowd surfing, SMILING, bands, SMILING.  And also all the younger students, who had possibly only just turned 18, who maybe haven’t experienced live music properly because of the pandemic, they were all just in that room and it gave them and opportunity to really see what it was about, so I thought that was really great, which totally reflects in the photos as well which was great. 

Katie: Any plans for future events?

Liam: Oo that is a good question, we have a couple things in the works, top secret stuff!! You will be hearing from us very soon, hopefully. 

Zoe: Yeah lots more things in the works, definitely in  the new year as well, more to come, more to come. 

I would just like to thank Liam and Zoe for taking their time to speak with me, keep an eye out for some more sick gigs in the near future! – Katie