“In February 2017, I turned 50 and by Victorian standards that basically means I am now in extra time. If I want to make a difference I don’t actually have that much time left. But don’t think that means I want to make a mark, no, my future will be dedicated to the exact opposite, that of not leaving a mark. Unfortunately I start out with a severe handicap – my mere existence has already been a bigger burden on the planet than it should have been. I have added to the damage done to the atmosphere, plastic I have bought has without doubt found its way into our oceans, my carbon footprint can probably be seen from space, yes, I have already left my mark.”
All of our actions and choices have an effect on the world around us. UPF reaches out through music to spread a sense of awareness and ultimately of hope that it isn’t too late to turn the tide. I’ll be honest, when I was first asked to become part of the UPF team I didn’t initially realise the full extent of the impact it was about to have on my way of thinking and living. I know it won’t fail to affect other people in the same positive way.”
Octavia is one of the 80 or so volunteers who every year put together Italy’s biggest progressive rock event, the 2Days Prog + 1 Festival held every September in Veruno, Piedmont. She became a familiar face and name on the Italian Prog scene in 2014 when she was asked to step in at the very last minute as the festival’s co-presenter where, for the benefit of the non-Italian speaking members of the audience, she introduced the bands in English alongside her Italian speaking counterpart .
It was here that the seeds were sown for what was to become a lasting friendship with Swedish band, Änglagård and a working relationship with Italian band, Barock Project with whom, amongst other things, she collaborated as language consultant on their latest album, ‘Detachment’. The following year she was invited back to become the Festival’s sole presenter, introducing the bands in both Italian and English. It was at the 2015 edition of the festival that she met and subsequently ‘adopted’ Italian band Syncage, recently signed to Bad Elephant Music, with whom she works constantly as advisor and PR.
In 2016 she launched the festival’s official Facebook page and actively began promoting the festival and all participating bands on social media. “Being the festival’s presenter was a great privilege but it never felt quite right to just turn up on the day and walk on stage, so spreading the word and making sure the world knew what we were doing became an everyday challenge. It’s great to be part of the organization process, there’s an amazing team behind this Festival and I’m so incredibly proud to be a part of it”.
Earlier this year she began another working relationship with Italian band, Syndone, again thanks to her Festival work.
“The best thing about festivals is the people you meet, both musicians and members of the public. It’s quite an incredible community we operate in. It was at another festival, this year’s edition of RoSFest to be precise, that I met Mark Trueack.
We immediately hit it off as we discussed music, life and other things over a beverage purporting to be coffee in the hotel we were both staying at. Sometimes you just know when you’re on the same page as someone. Having said that I was still surprised when he invited me to become a part of the UPF project but hey, when you get asked to be part of something this exciting who am I to say no? I did hesitate for a moment but only a moment, on the whole I’m pretty impulsive so if it feels right, I tend to do it first and think about it second! I’m really looking forward to seeing where this will take us”.