Interview with Charlie Fantazia by Rezcrew 2007
“Fantazia have organised the largest raves & dance parties since 1991 and released dance music compilations with over 2 millions sales to date. Fantazia successfully crossed over many genres of music from House & Techno to Old Skool/ Rave & Hardcore and held seasons in Ibiza in 98 & 99 & Tours around the world.
Fantazia held the UK's largest ever indoor & outdoor raves & dance parties, including the massive 30,000+ One Step Beyond, The Big Bang (12k), Summertime (16k) & The Return of a Legend (12k).”
In 2006, Fantazia marked the return of events with the “The Legend Returns”, a massively successful 5k+ sell-out at Glasgows, Braehead arena. Fantazia fever has continued to take the scene by storm with a further 2 sell out events at Braehead, an arena at this weekends Slammin Vinyl's “Sanctuary Festival”, residency’s at Majorca’s 5k capacity super club “BCM” as well as the announcement of a further event in Scotland later this year.
The Fantazia wheels are deffo back in motion and gathering pace, as Ravers old and new flock to events to pay tribute to the classics and catch a glimpse of the future.
Interview with Charlie Fantazia - 24/06/07
To start us off, & for peeps that don’t know, why the name “Fantazia”?
Why don’t you like it?! I think its works very well and captures the spirit of rave well and its pretty much a bi word for a dance party. Whilst I cant directly remember the eureka moment when we came up with it we wouldn’t change it for the world!
Recently, Fantazia have held three massively successful events in collaboration with Scottish promoters “Colours”, how did that business partnership arise and what do you attribute as the key to its success?
We had been offered many opportunity over the years to come back and do more events from a wide variety of people. Scotland was always going to be one of our favoured destination as the crowds have always been great and we love the combination of DJs and Pas that is popular. However Scotland is a long way from our base so we needed some one on the ground to do certain things. Ricky has been consistently pulling off successful parties for years so it was a natural and perfect combination. Plus the venue Braehead which Colours brought to the deal through their existing contacts is probably one of the best in the country, for this style of event.
What are Fantazia’s main goals in the re-launch of events?
We just want to put something on that is really good that we can be proud of. We think we have achieved that. We weren’t interested in doing the same venues that other people are using like Air etc. That’s just not a Fantazia gig people would have expected from us after being away from events for some time.
Do you think its possible ravers will ever see the same massive scale events of the infamous Fantazia events in the past?
Well why not? We are pretty nearly there with Showtime. The Big Bang was only about 50% bigger, so Ingliston for instance would match the SECC. Braehead though is almost at its capacity, we could add another room but we are not sure that that achieves anything extra to the atmosphere and cohesion of the event, except more people……
Back in the day, your brother, and founder of Fantazia, James, was the predominant driving force behind the Fantazia name is this still the case, or have you inherited the reigns of responsibility now Charlie?
James is still the creative force and is very protective over which events he is prepared to be involved in but on a day to day capacity I make the decisions. I also do a lot of the work on the website and am constantly looking to make it bigger and better. I would like it to become the main destination for anything to do with dance music eventually.
If there were no limit to booking restrictions, which headliner do you think would guarantee a record fast sell out at today’s Fantazia events?
Carl Cox, The Prodigy, Sasha (all playing classic sets)
It has been well documented in the press and various interviews that the Perkins are now very successful property developers, what’s the driving force and motivation behind keeping Fantazia going instead of focusing on potentially more lucrative projects outside of the music industry?
You don’t get the same kind of feedback after you sell a property. We love the enthusiasm people have plus property is fairly dull at times. There are long periods were not much happens, which you can never say when running a dance organization. Mind you we are still heavily involved in property and this is where we make our money not from Fantazia, which is great really, as it give us the freedom to pick and choose our projects and not to be motivated to just make money.
What would you say are the largest cultural difference between Fantazia in the 90’s and today’s events?
The times were different then, it was a mad time in 92. So many opportunities never enough time to convert them all. We now take our time. We don’t have anything left to prove really so can just concentrate on doing things that we want to be involved in, not just to pay the wages etc.
Where do Fantazia see yourselves in 10 years time?
Lol, well with a website of 10,000 pages…… entertaining another generation of dance music fans……... But its on a long way off and its always best to concentrate on next year first.
What big challenges does a promoter face today that differ from that of the 90’s?
I think its fairly similar in many ways. The authorities and press are still against it all, the audience isn’t so wide I guess as there are so many more strands of dance music, though personally I think they all amount to the same thing. PLUR.
What’s been Fantazia’s most financially successful venture to date?
Probably stopping in 98 and doing property. People would be amazed to find out how unprofitable most things were back in the day! They never think of like Police bills, Licensing, medical care, printing, advertising etc etc.
The Fantazia website has a massive archive of all things Fantazia, is there anything out there that you’re missing that Fantazia can’t find & would love to get your hands on?
Lots of stuff. We would like photos from many of the other promoters past events, profile on all the DJs and MCs that ever played at any dance events, the list would go on. We also can’t find the original unedited footage from the Big Bang, that would be amazing to have. The DVD from the event is amazing though, but I would love to see more……
Is there an old skool DJ or act, Fantazia would like to see return to the scene?
A. The Prodigy / Carl Cox
If Fantazia could instill or bring back something from 90’s raves to present day events what would it be?
My youth / slim figure…. Not the answer you want though I’m sure…. No I am pretty happy with the events we have done recently, I think they are the equal of the old ones in many ways and surpass them perhaps in other ways. In fact if we could take something back to the 90’s it would have been amazing to have had the internet then. To directly communicate to all the 92 massive would have been great. I think you could really have seen a movement that would have out witted the governments attempts to shut us all down…..
In today’s promoting climate, many are using the internet as a promotional tool. How important has the world wide web been in launching the return of the Fantazia brand, & do you think it will ever completely supersede the more conventional promoting methods used in the 90’s?
It has been paramount in it. We set up the website as a bit of a hobby, but it was the people’s reaction and positive feedback that convinced us / encouraged us to keep putting more and more effort in. I think flyers will always be around, but whether magazine advertising is necessary I am not sure.
In Fantazia’s lifetime, what single question has Fantazia been asked the most & what’s its answer?
When’s the next one
Has there been any real low points at Fantazia, if so what kept you guys going?
Not getting the license for the Cricket St Thomas party in 1993. It really put the writing on the wall for us for the big out door parties. Albums sales were going strong though, with the release of the House Collection series, plus we got the SECC license which was the largest ever indoor rave at the time so things moved on. Another low point was releasing the House Collection 6 the week Princess Diana died. A very sad accident which was also financially very painful…. I think retail sales across all sectors were down massively and so were our sales…. Yet the TV ads had all been paid for.. It again made us reconsider the amount of risk each of the albums was (over £500,000 each one), and contributed to us eventually moving into property.
The government has set up a rave archive, & requests one of the following from Fantazia for its inclusion:-
Which ones would Fantazia pick?
- Event CD - A. Top Buzz New Year 91
- Event Flyer - A. Summertime
- Event DVD - A. The Big Bang
- Web page - A. www.rave.org.uk/forum the community on our forum
What would you say to the Rezcrew group members out there that haven’t been to Fantazia in an attempt to entice them along to your next event?
What are you waiting for! I know other events were great in the past but you have to live for today and it wont get any better than Fantazia’s recent events in Scotland.
If Fantazia were to describe their events in 5 buzzwords what would they be?
Lol, we’ll leave that one to you.....
Personal Questions for Charlie Fantazia
What would have the average school report have said about you?
Could do better
What’s your favourite expletive?
What CD’s have you got in your car just now?
Have my 30gb Ipod, to many to choose from.
Did you and James ever have any childhood brawls? If so who would come out on top, you or James?
Yes all the time. Have you seen James? He’s 50% wider than me!
You’ve just bought a working time machine off Ebay, what would be the first date and place you visit?
Fantazia Summertime (nr Bournemouth) – Amazing atmosphere, gorgeous weather, music was the bollocks – would like to attend without having to work though, plus I would pack some shorts to sit on the beach in the morning!
As I was growing up my bad behaviour led to me receiving several red slipper tattoos on my buttocks via my mother’s slipper. Do you remember ever getting into bad trouble in your youth, if so, what was it for?
No I was a little angel…..
What current T.V. programs would be most likely found circled in you T.V. guide?
Heroes (amazing), The Apprentice, House (love Hugh Lauries Sarcasm), Deadliest Catch (the things people do to make money!)
If someone offered you 1 million pounds to appear live on stage nude at the next Fantazia, would you do it?
Yes for that sort of money! But I don’t think anyone would want to see my love handles!
What web links would be most likely found stored in among your favourites?
Fantazia.org.uk of course
What’s the earliest childhood memory you can recall?
Almost drowning in a friend of my parents swimming pool. For some reason I jumped in fully clothed!
What’s been your most memorable moment so far in the return of Fantazia?
The forum meets are always great, everyone just wants to shake my hand and say well done, I love it (Mad Elaine jumping into my arms at the last one was perhaps a step to far!), but the best bit is always standing on the stage and looking our over a sea of smiling faces….
Is there anyone you would like to give a shout out to?
Just to all those who haven’t yet been! Why not? Thanks also to all the forum crew for creating a friendly community. All our past and present ravers, thanks for your support.
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