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Behind the scenes of the High Five Festival with Gaylord Pedretti

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I stopped by event agency Like That to chat with Gaylord about the secrets behind France’s biggest freeski film festival.

A large parking lot surrounds a flat building that holds the Scott branch and other smaller offices. If you know where you’re going, you enter by the back door; if not, you can get lost. The corridor is empty, but a colorful sign “Like That” invites you through a door and into another world. You knock on the door and enter. On the right side, a modern kitchen with a bar; straight ahead, a storage room; on the left, the office itself between boxes, pictures and shelves.

The style is pure, which contrasts with the numbers of items and goodies around, like a giant painting with the High Five Festival colors. A guitar shows off in front of a Rock’n Snowboards visual. No doubt, it’s another world, the world of the Like That agency. Sitting around the low table, Gaylord is talking with coworkers and partners in a relaxed atmosphere, while the open space slowly reveals the invisible workers. At the end of the meeting, they all move outside to check the new Oakley motor toy for the pleasure of those old kids who, as Gaylord admits, “have fun with nothing.”

Mint syrup in our water, dictaphone on the table: it’s on for 15 minutes of talk, passion and metaphors. Gaylord is good at that.

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gaylord pedretti-downdays freeski

So Gaylord, how is going the preparation one month before High Five?
When we love, we don’t count, so I don’t count my days. I work a lot and didn’t take any holidays. This year, for Like That, it’s the first event of the year, when usually we would already have had Vars Tournament and Kumi Yama, so it’s like Christmas for us. We are super ready and we have plenty of surprises. We are ready earlier because we worked more and we were focused only on this event. We did so many things that we didn’t have the time for before. The magazine is printing right now (an 84-page complete magazine). The teaser is ready so we just have to finalize some stuff. The event will be bigger as well.

Did you stop the other events to focus on High Five?
Kumi Yama was a personal decision. I though that seven was enough, and I preferred to stop, rather than having them stop me. Like a musician, I prefer to announce my last album, rather than not being able to do the next one.
In Vars, the mayor changed, etc. We didn’t’ fight about it; if we only get a third of the money, then we just don’t do a shitty event. Our name is Like That, cause it’s “like that” and not any other way. The advantage with the High Five Festival is that this event is ours.

What’s the news about this year’s High Five?
We will have the Ocamp, a secret spot with 350m2 of wood structure we built ourselves. The ephemeral restaurant will also become a ephemeral bar till 1am with music and beer. So for those who don’t want to go to the club, they can drink beer for three euros instead of 10…
We have a lot of new movies, including some exclusive premieres.
There will be an autographic signing spot with riders there all the time.
For those who have all-access passes, there will get a special package with poster and stickers we made in collaboration with The Bunch, Poor Boyz, etc.
For the first time, we also have 14 pairs of Atomic/High Five skis to give away.
We also took a lot of time making sure that the riders will come. We have a lot of them this year.

Which detail is your favorite?

This year, it’s the surprise pack. I also really like the popcorn.
This surprise is: “Life is a surprise, and High Five could be too.”
Basically, we’ve got a nice surprise in store. We like to make our audience feel like kids again. The suprise pack will be offered to the first 400 people to buy the all-access pass.

How do you prepare for an event like this one?
In your head, it’s like a dream. It’s like when you schedule your holiday: you think about what do to do if the weather is good or bad, you think about everything. I often say that we are like the team in Ocean’s Eleven. We prepare all the possibilities, and the goal is to do the holdup of the century, to do the best event. It’s pondering a lot of questions, and realizing them in reality.

Where would you rate the coming event on a scale from 1-10?
My objective is to get 19 on a scale of 20. I don’t like to rate 1-10.

And how would you rate last year’s event?
Last year was a real challenge because we stopped our collaboration with iF3 in April, when we were already super close to the event. We had to contact film productions and motivate people. When you change your name, a lot of people are afraid, so a lot leave you and you have to accept that people don’t trust you anymore.
However, if you were the captain of the iF3’s boat, you will be the High Five boat captain too, and you built it as well. The goal is to trust and have the same crew.
For me, this year will be the best edition of iF3 and High Five by far.

Let’s talk about the parties.
We love music, so we look forward to providing several different genres. At the bar it will be more minimal, while at the club it will be more techno and hip-hop. There will also be a rock=themed “Bon Appetit” party. We will have great artists including Club Cheval and C2C Style. The opening party will be at the bowl, and the closing party at the Pop.

Your events are growing, but the agency only has two events now. What’s the future for Like That?
In my mind, it’s not the best when an artist releases an album every year. I’m really happy we have the time to take a break and create something new. The goal is not to have 20,000 events. This year we also did a lot of consulting for brands. We always have the same amount of work, even if you don’t always see it.

We will continue growing High Five and are preparing some stuff for next year already, but we can’t tell anything more right now. If I can make another artist comparison: If you try to produce too much, you don’t produce anything good.

We’re trying to be a real skiing festival including freeride, freestyle, free-tele. The familial aspect is something we like. We want to show that freeskiing is not only about the X Games and the Olympics, but also about people who film all year long. I liked what Nico Vuignier said: “I wonder what people will remember more: Candide’s “One of These Days” edit or the Olympics podium.

Right now we’re already thinking about next year and focusing super hard on High Five. The goal is to not have too many buns in the oven.


September 3, 2015

annecy, high five

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