"It feels like home to me" - A word with Bristol DJ Ellie Stokes ahead of this year's Love International Festival

"It feels like home to me" - A word with Bristol DJ Ellie Stokes ahead of this year's Love International Festival

Posted on: 17 Jun 2019

Known around Bristol as one of the most exciting young DJs on the local scene, Ellie Stokes has had a very busy couple of years and is on the horizon of her second-ever appearance at Team Love's home-from-home on the Adriatic coast, Love International Festival. We caught up with her ahead of the 2019 edition, set to take place next month in sunny Tisno, Croatia, to talk her ideal b2b, her Bristol roots and her love for electronic music.

Barbarella's Discotheque at Love International Festival. Image: Here & Now

You’re part of this year’s huge Love International lineup – how do you feel to be making the trip to Tisno this summer?

I played on the terrace last year and have been to Tisno three times for Garden Festival, before it was solely taken over by Team Love. This year I'm playing on the main stage before Josey Rebelle, who I have warmed up for before. We’re a nice fit and she’s an incredible talent, so I'm honoured! The festival feels like home to me - well curated, it’s a beautiful site, and it really is something very special, like nowhere else I’ve been before. There’s a tremendous amount of love.


If you could go back to back with one of the artists on this year’s lineup who would it be and why?

I’d have to say Shanti Celeste. She’s a Bristol gal, and an incredible DJ. Her selections are always on point and she’s technically tight. I know her as well so it would be fun!


How important is it to be a part of Love International given that it’s got its roots in Bristol and is run by a Bristol-based team?

To me, it’s super important. Bristol is my home and it’s an honour to be asked by friends who I admire and are so deeply rooted in the scene. They’ve been a massive support to me and I couldn’t be more grateful to be involved.


You were recently appointed as The Love Inn’s booking manager - how will you be shaping the venue's artist policy?

I was asked by Dave Harvey after James (the previous manager) left, and I was really taken aback to be honest! He said he couldn't think of anyone more he’d want to do it more, with my knowledge in the scene and DJing experience. I’ve gone into the job looking to change the vibe of the venue completely - unfortunately, the city does have a bit of a laddy drinking culture, but I wanted The Love Inn to be on the map as a music venue. I'm pushing forward-thinking sounds and new promoters who have a music policy that fits, and there are plenty of them in Bristol! I'm pretty open to genres of music, I just want it to be interesting and exciting and diverse, and obviously it's really important to get a 50/50 male-female balance when it comes to bookings and to make sure the venue is inclusive for everyone.


From a booker’s point of view, how do you regard the local and wider scene? 

There is a massive diversity of scenes in Bristol and we're super lucky to have that! One thing I have noticed in the last few years coming back is breaks, jungle, trance and garage. I think DJs are taking us back to the roots of the dance scene. There's also a scene of hard music coming back which is interesting.


What do you think of the underground music scene in Bristol at the moment?

We're so lucky in Bristol to have such an amazing underground scene, promoters are really getting some wicked artists coming through. We just need more spaces! There’s something for everyone, super niche, more for the masses and everything in between. I think you just need to have a good crew of people, a good venue and a crowd that are there to dance.


When and how did you get into DJing and dance music in general?  

I've been in the industry for 10 years but DJing for 2 - I played trance records (which I still have) with my older brother when I was a kid, and I’ve always had an ear and an interest for dance music. My love grew for it over the years of working in clubs, and I then got involved with the Mix Nights course in Bristol, which is an all-female DJ collective who teach you the basic skills of how to DJ. I already had a bit of experience but Mix Nights helped me massively and played a big part in getting me to where I am today!


Can you tell us about your Motion residency?

Motion have been super supportive to me, they’re another amazing family! It’s been an incredible opportunity, I’ve got to play on massive soundsystems next to some of my musical idols and crowds in their thousands, and I always get a really good response from the crowd there which is super nice. Always a good vibe.


Who are your hot tips for the rest of 2019? Who should we be checking out?

D. Tiffany, VAAL and Kiara Scuro are all involved in my Palette residency in June and are definitely ones to watch, as are Roza Terenzi, Danielle and Bruce. In Bristol, you should definitely be keeping an eye on Kiia, Gallagos, Natural Sugars and Daisy Moon.

Love International Festival 2018. Image: Here & Now

Ellie Stokes is currently holding a residency at The Love Inn throughout June for the Palette series, taking place every Friday of the month with a guest headliner. Having welcomed Canadians D. Tiffany and Ciel to the Stokes Croft venue already, her remaining Palette parties will see VAAL and Kiara Scuro headline on Friday 21st and Friday 28th. 


Ellie will be playing at Love International Festival on Friday 5th July, appearing at The Garden Stage from 7pm-9pm before making way for renowned Rinse FM resident Josey Rebelle and acclaimed producer and DJ Leon Vynehall. The rest of the festival will see an all-star cast of international electronic artists descend onto the Croatian coastline for a full week of music, including Peggy Gou, Ben UFO, Joy Orbison, Shanti Celeste, Craig Richards, Nicolas Lutz, Andrew Weatherall, DJ Harvey and many more - check out the full lineup here. Tickets for the festival are still available in limited numbers, and you can find out more and get yours now via the link below.


Tickets for Love International Festival in Tisno, Croatia from 3rd-10th July 2019 are on sale now and can be found here. For more information on the festival or to follow updates, visit their website or check out their Facebook page.

Article by:

Matt Robson

Having moved to Bristol from Cornwall in 2015, Matt graduated from UWE with a degree in Journalism in 2018. He's keen on a wide variety of musical genres, as well as taking an interest in art and illustration, producing his own work in his spare time. Matt makes the most of Bristol's diverse nightlife and attends gigs and club nights regularly. Get in touch via email at matt@365bristol.com.