Pink Picnic are promoters like no others. Hosting delightful gigs with tasty line-ups, they embody what gigs are all about: discovering new music and having a truly great time while you’re at it.
Meg Firth sits down with founders Hannah and Daisy at Hyde Park Book Club to hear about how they met, the inspiration behind putting on picnic gigs and why they love Leeds so much.
My first taste of Pink Picnic was at a gig of theirs at Belgrave Music Hall. With N/\L/\ headlining and impeccable support slots from Vide0, Fred M-G and Slut Drop DJs, it was set to be a beautiful night. Walking into the room, it was instantly clear that it was going to be special. Greeted with fortune cards, homemade lemonade, 3D glasses for the visual art and the ear-to-ear smiles of Hannah and Daisy, it was a gig where anyone felt welcome regardless of music taste, style or path in life.
Hannah and Daisy met “many moons ago” at the Arts Hostel. Hannah was working there at the time, and Daisy would volunteer a few nights a week. One evening, at the pub with mutual friends, the soon-to-be best mates were sat at either end of a table; “I was just sat there thinking, ‘This is my girl!’” laughs Daisy. “We realised we had similar music interests so we ended up just hanging out and going to gigs all the time.”
It was at one of these gigs where the idea for Pink Picnic blossomed; “We were at a gig and I was looking at Hannah, and I was just thinking about how great she’d be in the music industry running her own label or whatever. Then I thought, ‘Wait, I want to tag along for that!’” Daisy recollects. Her band Pepe Sylvia were bringing out an EP, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to unroll the picnic blanket and get the ball rolling for Pink Picnic; “We just thought ‘Let’s do this’,” explains Hannah. We put on the EP release party, [and] we realised that we’re just really good at putting on a party.”
"It’s something light-hearted and fun that brings friends together. It’s something to share.”
Pink Picnic’s name was conceived at Daisy’s house, where they were listening to The Books’ album Lemon of Pink. “We spent about 3 hours trying to come up with a name, and we were just throwing words around,” Hannah remembers. “I really like the word picnic; it’s something light-hearted and fun that brings friends together. It’s something to share.”
The concept of a picnic is exactly what Pink Picnic is all about. They bring people together, look after them and have a bloody nice time while they’re doing it. Good promotion and genuinely enthusiastic support from promoters is sadly hard to come by, but Hannah and Daisy put caring for the bands they represent first and foremost. “We’ve become really good friends with most the bands we’ve put on,” expresses Hannah.
“The promotion becomes second to meeting the people,” Daisy adds. “We try and hang out and get to know them, so we’re all on the same wavelength and they’re getting the same out of it as we are. When we started, it was mainly about supporting [the bands] and raising them up and giving them the recognition that we think they deserve.”
On top of hosting some of the finest gigs in Leeds, the Pink Picnic girls juggle full-time work. The way they manage to balance everything is a testimony to their great friendship and teamwork; “We’re really lucky, we’re a perfect match,” laughs Daisy. “With balancing life stuff, you’ve just got to love it otherwise you’re not going to do it. It’s hard work, but then at the end, we’re always like, ‘I really enjoyed that’. We’re doing because we want to do it and there’s no other reason.”
The intention of Pink Picnic is to “strip back the ego from gigs”. Daisy explains: “it’s all about making connections, making a community [and] making bands feel welcome. [Our gigs are] pay as you feel, always. We want everything to be accessible and inclusive of everyone. We’re not aiming to make money from this basically; it’s just about enjoying ourselves and for the people who come to enjoy themselves.”
What Hannah and Daisy do with Pink Picnic is a celebration of DIY and the incredible independent music scene in Leeds. The city is full of independent creatives and musicians who are quick to support each other: “I think that’s what’s really nice about Leeds, it’s such a community feel,” expresses Hannah. “There are so many different scenes and styles and interests, but there’s no judgement whatsoever. Obviously, there’s the occasional dickhead, but everyone’s just so open and up for trying new things. It’s so beautiful to be in a city that’s so respectful of everyone. With the openness and community feel, everyone just wants to be here and inhale everything that’s going on here.”
“It’s all about finding your people and what you want to find in a city,” Daisy adds. “Leeds has so much to offer that it’s easy to find.”
So, look no further than Pink Picnic’s spread of the bands that you’ve been craving. You’re bound to find a new favourite.