Gilles Peterson will oversee his seventh Worldwide Festival in the usually tranquil surrounds of Sète in less than a fortnight, and the idyllic port, coated in Mediterranean sunshine, is the perfect spot to showcase the current cream of the music scene.
The 48-year-old trailblazer started the party in 2006, almost on a whim, and only a few hundred dedicated disciples danced to Bugz in the Attic, DJ Vadim, Chilly Gonzales and Jazzanova in the town square. And now Worldwide Festival has now mushroomed - an estimated 15,000 will dance, with sand between their toes, over the seven days and nights starting from July 2.
Worldwide is spread over a handful of magical venues, including the nonpareil Théatre de la Mer - an open-air amphitheatre which Peterson calls the "best venue in the world, bar none" - and Mole St Louis, where ravers revel under the swirling beam of the lighthouse.
Did you ever imagine when you kicked off the party in Sète that Worldwide Festival would prove so successful and continue to evolve?
I can hardly believe it - it's amazing that it's the seventh one this year, and to celebrate we are making it a bit longer: a whole week. The success was never planned. I've always thought more about the scene than a business plan - I've always seen myself as one of the leaders of a movement who have a certain attitude to music. It was something that pleased me and brought by friends together.
There are a couple of other things we have changed, too, like moving the beach location much closer to the old town, making it less of a walk. We are trying to improve the transport this year, too, by laying on more buses, so it is easier for people to travel between the venues. We are constantly learning, though, and I think it is going to be even better this year.
Is Sète the perfect place for your festival?
We were lucky in that we fell upon a wonderful town that proved to be a gem of a discovery. Firstly it was not too commercial, like the other parts of the south of France. It had a sense of earthiness, and of course there was a great musical history - here was where the legendary George Brassens lived and played. And then there were three phenomenal venues, so we were really, really lucky that we had a socialist mayor who was up for hosting the festival!
How do you cultivate the audience, with more and more people flying over every year?
As long as we kept the scene open enough there was always going to interest from the non-French. Most straight-up British people looking for fun at a foreign festival head to Croatia on an EasyJet flight, where they get drugs on arrival and you don't even need to hustle for a hotel. It's a bit of a Club 18-30 type of philosophy. This festival was always going to be one for the slightly more adventurous festival-goer, one who is prepared to take on a little newness. We have now managed to find a brilliant audience who are that much more cool.
Which acts are you looking forward to hosting this year?
Line-up-wise I think it is stronger than last year. David Rodigan is back, Mala is back and Moodymann is spinning with me, back to back. Eska is another one to watch - she is really good. Then there is Tinariwen, an African desert rock band, on the Saturday at the Théatre de la Mer - which is the best venue in the world, bar none.
Last year DJing in the Théatre was just the ultimate for me. There is no better venue. Then we have Matthew Halsall playing on the same night as Portico Quartet. Also Robert Glasper's favourite Little Dragon track is Twice, so my main challenge when they are both playing on Thursday is to get Yukimi to sing with Robert. That will be a little moment, I think.
Then there is Carl Cox, who is an amazing person and such an incredible ambassador for music. He is a purist and comes from exactly the same history as me. He is a jazz funk boy and is a phenomenal dj in that genre, which few people know. He has promised me he will do a disco funk set which will be as tight as a techno set but in a disco sense with all the right heritage. I can't wait to hear that.
I can't wait to get down there. With your rose in your hand, oysters on your knee and that sun still soaking in to your skin... girls everywhere. What more can you ask for?
Words: Oliver Pickup
Emissions Festival 2013 Review
We check out 'West Coast Bass Culture' festival Emissions...
Love Saves The Day 2013 Preview Mix
In anticipation of what promises to be an awesome event, Hodge & Shandy have put together a preview mix for Love Saves The Day.
Clima Guest Mix And Free Track
Spanish production duo Clima have some big releases coming up, and to celebrate, they have a guest mix and a track to give away.
One World Many Cultures With David Boomah
He has gone and done it. The new album from David Boomah is out now, and of course, Kmag wanted to get the lowdown from the man himself.
Empress Guest Mix
Best known for her marathon genre-bending sessions behind the decks, Empress checks in with a heavy-duty guest mix and broad-ranging interview that spans the course of her career.
Swindle Lives For The Jazz
Swindle's new album is coming out on DEEPMEDi on June 16th. We caught up with the bass music jet-setter to discuss his work and the sense of achievement of the album's completion.
Bassclash Meets Dubstar
Leading dubstep label Dubstar is teaming up with Bassclash for a huge compilation album, out now. Find out more here.
With interest peaking in their upcoming London night, we find out more about the Innersoul crew, and what they are up to.
CM Sounds Competition
CM Sounds have some amazing music technology courses on offer. They are now teaming up with Kmag for a competition. We give you all you need to know right here.
Aural Imbalance Comes Out Of Plato's Cave
Aural Imbalance is one half of Out Of Plato's Cave, who have recently dropped an album on the Greta Cottage Workshop label. We speak to him about it here.
Snoop releases new photo app Snoopify
West coast rapper cum reggae star Snoop Lion, has launched his own photo editing app for iOS and Android.
London-based collective Innersoul are absolutely taking over London town. With a number of events taking place soon, their star is in the ascendancy. Grab the info right here.
Black Sun Empire Announce Blackout Music
Something very special is happening over in the Black Sun Empire camp right now. A new label, a new release, sample packs and more. Check it all out here.
Hospital Readies Hospitality Summer 2013
The all-conquering Hospital Records are ready to launch with the latest in their compilation series, Hospitality Summer 2013. Read on for more.
Good News Poppers Expand To Liquid Boppers
The Good News Poppers label is expanding into new territory, with the announcement of new sister label, Liquid Boppers. Kmag brings you all that you need to know right here.