BBC Radio One DJ Sarah Story talks Glastonbury, Ibiza and Carlisle

WARNING: This video contains flashing images.

"I'm really proud to be from the city."

Those are the words of Carlisle-born BBC Radio One DJ Sarah Story, who spoke to ITV Border ahead of the first-ever Borderlands Festival at Carlisle Castle.

The Carlisle-born Radio One DJ has played at festivals such as Glastonbury and BBC Radio One's Big Weekend, as well as gigs in Ibiza.

But on Friday, she's joined in Carlisle by DJ heavyweights Eats Everything and Patrick Topping, with the Happy Mondays and Friendly Fires headlining on Saturday.

"I'm very excited for tomorrow, it's gonna be really fun," she said.

"It's the first time doing something like this in Carlisle Castle so it feels really special. Getting to have my family and friends there and something like this bringing the city together, I think is really exciting and I think the line-up is really exciting.

"Some of the DJs on the line-up I play with quite a lot so it's nice for those guys to come and see my hometown and show them what it's all about. So yeah, it's going to be a good day."

Carlisle Castle ahead of the first-ever Borderlands Festival. Credit: ITV Border.

About 4,000 people are expected to attend the Carlisle festival across the two days.

"It's a lovely city to have grown up in and the people here are just so nice, they're so friendly," continued Sarah.

"I think if you move around the country or the world you kind of realise where you're from is actually lovely and the people here are just so down to earth and salt of the earth people, so I'm really proud to be from the city."

Sarah started her radio career at local station CFM.

"When I was 14 doing work experience at school and then I did a Saturday show with Pete Moss," she said.

"From that, I did university radio and started working at Capital."

Pete Tong

Presenting her Future Dance Show on Friday nights, Sarah has also become close with another radio DJ called Pete.

"He's an absolute legend," she said, describing dance music legend Pete Tong.

"He's one of the main people that brought this whole culture alive in the UK and he was part of the big boom in Ibiza in the 1980s and 1990s.

Pete Tong in action. Credit: PA Images.

"He was the man that made Radio One go to Ibiza, he had to persuade the bosses.

"He's done a lot for music culture, he's very heavily involved in the music industry still with record labels, he's ran record labels for years.

"Just to work alongside him and get advice from him has been amazing and he's just a really down-to-earth guy.

"You kind of think these people who are super famous and have been in the industry a long time, they might not be so willing to give advice but he's been amazing to work with and I'm really honoured to work with him on a Friday."


Sarah played a number of sets at Glastonbury in June.

"I got to host my Radio One show there, I did two days actually," she said.

"Me and Pete Tong and Danny Howard did a back-to-back which was really fun.

"I did two radio shows, I did four sets across the weekend which was really special.

"There's just kind of a magic at Glastonbury and you can't really put your finger on what it is."

Fireworks light up the sky as Elton John performs on the Pyramid Stage at this year's Glastonbury Festival. Credit: PA Images.

Tips for getting into DJing

Sharing her tips for up-and-coming DJs, Sarah said: "I would say get to know your local promoters who are running the club nights in your area.

"Reach out to them, send them mixes, put mixes together, post them on Soundcloud and get to know what type of DJ you want to be, work out what your sound is.

"For me, that's taken a long time. Your sound changes all the time. I tend to play lots of different types of genres of dance music when I'm DJing.

Sarah Story in action. Credit: Sarah Story.

"But yeah, work out who you want to be and what direction you want to go in. Have a plan, get to know local promoters, really get your social channels up to scratch - that is kind of your CV online really.

"That is the first place promoters will look, unfortunately, which is frustrating, they will look at your social media and see what you're about.

"Just get networking. For me, it's been really helpful getting to know people in the area I live in and picking out who can help and just being involved in the scene.

"Once you've embedded yourself in the scene people know what you're about and people want to help you and things can grow from there."

Gender representation

Although things are changing, DJing in dance music is still dominated by male performers.

"I do think women have to work twice as hard," said Sarah.

"When I first started out I think I was a bit nervous to even say I wanted to be a DJ.

"Especially being from a small town like Carlisle, to say that you want to be a DJ, some people might be like, 'Well you can't do that'.

"I did find I got it a little bit from guys as well when I was younger. You do get that odd comment and people say you are only getting booked because you're a girl, they need to balance the line-up now and they want to get more women on the line-up and maybe that's a bit of tokenism.

"I try and ignore stuff like that, I don't let it affect me anymore. Especially in radio and music it is still a bit of a male-dominated industry.

"Radio can be a bit of a boy's club. I have noticed over the last few years it has changed a lot and the way we make change is for women to be in those higher positions, in those management positions.

"There is a lot of talent coming through that are women but they are still young and the big changes are made at the top level, so I think when that starts to change I think that's when we see a massive improvement."

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