interview with andrew kingsley-tubbs : founder, big wave flags

How did you get into flags?

I first experienced the beauty of big flag installations at one of the Surfers Against Sewage balls which I was helping to organise back in the early 90s….

(Andrew and a group of fellow surfers formed SAS when they became appalled at the polluted state of our sea and beaches. SAS went on to become one of Britain’s most respected environmental groups with Andrew as chairman for over a decade).

…this eventually led to rigging and installing literally thousands of flags at major festivals and events both across the U.K. and overseas. The business happened just because I loved doing it…

What was the purpose behind the foundation of Big Wave Flags?

Rather than just at big festivals, I wanted to make large installations of flags available to a much wider audience at smaller and more intimate events. People always love the flags, especially when they can get in close amongst them and I love watching guests enjoying the flags. It’s very satisfying seeing the flags being appreciated so openly. I also get to meet lots of people in stunning locations often when they’re having one of the best days of their lives.

People say that the flags are special. What makes them work?

I think it’s a combination of their sheer size, the range of colours working together, the fact that each one is different and the way they move and react in differing light and conditions. Every installation is new and unique, whether its five flags in a small urban garden or 100+ at a stately home. I just never get bored watching them, it’s very relaxing and almost hypnotic sometimes.

What’s the worst thing about being a Big Wave Flagger?

Definitely the take down. During the event, everyone’s happy and the flags really do help create a unique joyful atmosphere, but as soon as they come down it’s like pulling a plug and it’s just not the same place anymore. It always makes me want to put them straight back up!  Maybe, that’s just the way it’s meant to be. They are something in the moment and part of the moment, if that’s not getting too precious…

What are your plans for the future?

Right now I am just surrounded by flags, when we’re not putting them up we always seem to be busy making more and expanding the colour ranges, and soon we’ll also be launching a totally new style, “The Flying Daggs”. Each one is a 8m vertical riot of colour and they look just stunning both displayed on their own or alongside the existing flags. And the future? I’ll answer that one for myself when the time is right, but I certainly think that the business, as well as having poles, has got legs…..

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Interview : Saturday 25 April 2009
Interviewer : Simon Montgomery, Public Relations Officer, Brighton Town Press