Nile Rodgers launches London edition of star-studded Fold festival

Fold's first genre-busting London event features Chic, Alison Moyet, John Newman and Angie Stone in June

Chic’s Nile Rodgers has announced the launch of a new pan-genre London festival, Fold, with the first event set for June 2016 and featuring acts such as John Newman, Alison Moyet and Angie Stone supporting Chic on each of its three nights.

Taking place at Fulham Palace in South London, the historic home of the Bishop Of London, from June 24-26, the event promises to be a genre-spanning event over themed nights and booked personally by Rodgers, inspired by an eleven-hour ‘tribute’ show he performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2012.

“I came up with this concept a few years ago in Montreux,” Nile says. “They wanted to honour me for my body of work and also the amount of times I had played the jazz festival and I felt uncomfortable because typically when people honour you for things like that it’s the end of your career and I’m still going! I knew that I had Daft Punk coming out and Avicii, I had all of this stuff coming out. It’s not the end of my career I hope! So I said ‘how about this, instead of you guys honouring me, why don’t I honour the music that got me here’. So we did 11 continuous hours of dance music. It was amazing. I had everyone from Grace Jones to Taylor Dayne to Alison Moyet, Mark Ronson, Felix Da Housecat, it was an amazing show, really incredible. What I was trying to show them was that seemingly disparate artists not only work well together, they work extremely well together. It makes us all bring our A game and it’s cool.”

That show inspired Nile to launch his own Fold festival in Martha’s Vineyard in August 2015, featuring a varied, stellar line-up playing their own sets and collaborating with Chic.

“It always turned into a big collaboration, it’s never not done that,” Nile explains. “Last year I had Pharrell, Janelle Monae, Keith Urban, Duran Duran, Beck, Public Enemy, so many artists. What wound up stealing the night was Keith Urban and I doing this fifteen minute long guitar jam, we turned it into Woodstock, it was ridiculous. Pharrell called me up and said ‘I couldn’t stop watching you guys, the interplay between the two of you’. We hadn’t planned that, it just happened, it felt right, the crowd was loving and everyone kept telling me ‘why do you have this country dude on the show? Keith Urban?’ and he wound up stealing the night.”

With many more acts yet to be announced, Rodgers hopes the event, the first music concert ever held at Fulham Palace, will reflect his unifying impact on popular music. Each night takes a different theme, with Friday representing ’80s pop, Saturday the modern dance era and Sunday covering classic funk and soul.

“It’s really self-indulgent,” Nile admits. “It’s a reflection of my life because these are the artists that I work with. I don’t feel any different working with Laura Mvula or David Bowie than I do working with Disclosure. It feels the same to me. My job is to try and help that artist see their vision. I’m thrilled with what we’re gonna do at rehearsal because what happens is inevitably we all start talking to each other like ‘what if we did this, what if we did that’. I have a sketch, a thumbnail of what’s gonna happen but I wanna be surprised, I wanna hear people’s ideas. I think it’s gonna be great.”

Will he be inviting Daft Punk along? “I love those guys and I love the fact that they’re open to doing different stuff. I didn’t think about it this year but I would certainly call them and if they showed up it’d blow people away. We chatted a couple of weeks ago and I brought up an idea and they went ‘that is an interesting idea but we won’t have time to do it in time for me to pull it off. I can’t say, but it was a cool idea.”

The Fold festival dates are:

Friday 24th June CHIC, Alison Moyet, The Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey
Saturday 25th June CHIC, John Newman, Emin, Grace
Sunday 26th June CHIC, Angie Stone, Incognito