|Festival Fever: 17 for ’17 (See What We Did There?)|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Sunday, 15 January 2017 04:00|
It used to be that the “great British summer” was “festival season”. But, while the over-commercialized wallet-busting big name events tend to be confined to the summer months, there are literally hundreds of smaller, independently organised festivals up and down the land virtually all the year round, with something to suit all tastes. With that in mind, Über Rock presents our tips for the 17 festivals, covering all genres and sub-genres, taking place all over the Über Kingdom of Rock n Roll over the coming year, that should be on your radar. It is by no means a definitive list, just our personal picks, and is not ranked, just listed alphabetically… so, credit cards at the ready, here we go:
Beermageddon – Stoke Prior Sports and Country Club, Bromsgrove, 25 - 27 August
Now in its sixth year, Beermageddon is billed as “metal’s best kept secret”. Family friendly – children under the age of 14 go free with a paying adult – and great value at £40 for the weekend (including camping), this year’s bill features a feast of aural brutality courtesy of Outright Resistance, Totengefluster, Unlight, Aklash, Godslave and many more. More information and tickets HERE.
Bloodstock – Catton Hall, Derbyshire, 10 - 13 August
Heavy fucking metal! Need we say more? Bloodstock is rightly regarded as the best metal fest in this here Über Kingdom – and with headliners Amon Amarth and Megadeth joined this year by the likes of Blind Guardian, Hatebreed, Testament, Whitechapel, Possessed, Obituary, Decapitated and Brujeria, with shed loads more to be announced – it’s hard to argue! Not forgetting the annual Metal 2 The Masses competition, which champions DIY, unsigned talent… More information and tickets HERE.
Boomtown Fair – Winchester, 10 – 13 August
Describing itself as a pop-up city where the impossible is possible and the abnormal is normal”, Boomtown attracts something like 60,000 people to Winchester for “a fully immersive, theatrically-led experience like no other with hundreds of actors bringing the film-like street sets to life.” With 25 ‘main’ stages and 80 pop up venues across nine fully themed districts, it offers everything from ska, folk, gypsy, reggae, world, punk, pirate and disco, via electro-swing, jazz, bluegrass, bass, jungle and techno. More information and tickets HERE.
Camden Rocks – Various Venues, Camden, 3 June
It may last “only” one day, but with 250 bands performing across 25 venues, Camden Rocks is practically a festival in its own right! This sixth annual extravaganza is packed to the brim with quality rock ‘n’ roll, from headliners The Damned, Orange Goblin and Ruts DC through a raft of ÜR faves, including Hey! Hello!, The Urban Voodoo Machine, Screaming Eagles, Stone Broken, The Main Grains, Hands Off Gretel and Broken Witt Rebels, with more than 200 acts still to be announced. More info and tickets HERE.
Handmade – O2 Academy/Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester, 29 - 30 April
“Hey. We’re Handmade. We’re a totally independent music and arts festival that takes place on May bank holiday in the city of Leicester. Our aim is to find the best new and forward thinking music, comedy, art, film, performance and photography and bring it all together for one weekend. The festival is curated by some of the city’s best loved independent venues and promoters, all of whom have been involved in putting on events for decades, working tirelessly to bring great things to Leicester. We wanted to create an arts festival the city could really be proud of together.” We couldn’t put it better ourselves. Acts confirmed so far include Twin Atlantic, Frightened Rabbit, British Sea Power, Pulled Apart By Horses and Tigercub. More information and tickets (£40 for the weekend) HERE.
Hard Rock Hell
Not one, not two but a total of TEN festival weekends spread throughout the year, from next month’s HRH Metal through to the daddy - or the mammy, depending on your perspective – of the family, Hard Rock Hell itself in early November. Over the past decade, the HRH has slowly and inexorably expanded and now includes festivals dedicated to AOR, blues, doom/stoner, prog and NWOBHM as well as covering every shade of rock and metal in between, taking it to the ultimate extreme at Hammerfest in March. Not forgetting the annual road trip to Ibiza! Plans are afoot to expand to India this year and north America in 2018. Plus, they have their own record company and are launching a magazine and radio and TV stations! More information and all the relevant links are HERE.
Heavy Scotland – Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, 1 - 2 April
A relative newcomer on the metal festival scene, if the organizers of Heavy have anything to do with it there will be very little left of Scotland’s capital after this weekend of brutality. Both the headliners – Behemoth and Arch Enemy – are making exclusive UK appearances, while the supporting cast boats the likes of Finntroll, Grave, Destruction, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Havok and Warbringer. It’s a line-up that should have many more established festivals quaking in their boots. More information HERE and tickets HERE.
Mammothfest – The Arch/Hub, Brighton, 6 - 8 October
Bringing the noise to the south coast, Mammothfest has a distinct theme to each of its three days, with the Friday devoted to black metal, Saturday to extreme metal in all its nefarious shades and Sunday to stoner and doom. They’re keeping the line up very close to their chests for the moment, but are guaranteeing at least one UK exclusive headline performance. More information HERE.
Rebellion – Winter Gardens, Blackpool, 3 - 6 August
The punk festival to end all punk festivals and a “must attend” for all the ÜR crew old enough to remember 1976 – as well as few who weren’t around way back then! With new acts being added all the time, this year’s bill features the likes of Bad Religion, The Skids, The Vapors, Poison Idea, Angelic Upstarts, DOA, Real McKenzies, Pears, Slaves, UK Subs, Toyah, Pennywise and too many others to mention. It’s gonna be OI-some! More information and tickets available HERE.
Rockingham – Trent University Students’ Union, Nottingham, 20 - 22 October
Taking over where Firefest left off, Rockingham is now in its third year of bringing the finest classic rock acts to the Midlands, many of them for exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime performances. While, at the time of going to press, none of this year’s attractions have been confirmed (although plenty of hints are being dropped on social media), last year saw Steelheart, The Defiants, Lee Aaron, Trixter and Jean Beauvoir bringing it to the plush surroundings of the impressive The Level venue. More information, as it becomes available, and tickets from HERE.
Slugfest – The Doll’s House, Abertillery, 30 June - 2 July (TBC)
Until we upped sticks and moved to Belfast, this was Über Rock’s hometown festival – and spiritually it still is! Now in its tenth cycle, no details of this year’s event have yet been announced, but we’re sure it will be another terrific weekend of the best in DIY and independent punk and metal. Keep yer eyes peeled on ye old Bakebook for news…
SOS – Longfield Centre, Prestwich, 14 – 16 July
Now in its tenth year, SOS is the brainchild of teh guys at RockSector Records and started primarily as a showcase for the label's bands, but over the years has grown much wider in its remit. Kill II This and Power Quest are among this year’s headliners, with the third to be announced in the near future. This year’s bill also features Screaming Eagles, Pythia, Primitai, Fahran and a whole load more – all for just £15 for the weekend. And you can bring the kids! More information and tickets HERE.
Steelhouse - Hafod Y Dafal Farm, Ebbw Vale, 28 - 30 July
Ahh… the mountain… Yep, this two day celebration of the best in classic rock takes place on a hilltop on the edge of the Brecon Beacons. Like most great festivals, it’s not just about the music, but the craic of meeting up with friends as well – which is one of the reasons the Über crüe of Monk and DQ make the pilgrimage across the Irish Sea every year… For 2017, Saxon will be bringing their massive ‘Eagle’ show, while Skindred, Last In Line, Inglorious and Tequila Mockingbyrd will also be taking to the stage. More information and tickets HERE.
Sunflowerfest – Tubby’s Farm, Hillsborough, 28 - 30 July
Northern Ireland’s premier outdoor festival is another event which is as much as about the socializing as it is the music, it is built around families, with a dedicated children’s programme throughout the weekend, as well as dedicated camping facilities for you and your clan. There are also art exhibitions, book and poetry readings, spoken word shows and all sorts of other peripheral activities. The theme for this year’s event is ‘A Parallel Universe’, with attendees invited to use their imaginations to reflect this. No bands announced yet, but keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates. Tickets available HERE.
Undercover – Dreamland, Margate – 8 - 9 September
It’s case of see you down the (sea)front as this two day celebration of punk, ska, dub, reggae, alt, acoustic and more, now in its fifth year moves to its new home – in an amusement arcade! While the full line-up hasn’t been announced yet, among the acts already confirmed are UR faves The Urban Voodoo Machine and Wonk Unit. More information and tickets available HERE.
Uprising – De Montford Hall, Leicester – 27 May
Another one-day affair, but spread across three stages it has all the feel of a festival. After a massively successful launch last year, Uprising is back with another killer line-up, featuring Onslaught, Lawnmower Death, Kill II This and an acoustic set from InMe’s Dave McPherson – and they haven’t even announced this year’s headliner yet! One of the stages also will host the Leicester Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses final. More information and tickets available HERE.
Wildfire – Wiston Lodge, Biggar, South Lanarkshire, 23 – 25 June
Scotland’s only outdoor rock and metal festival goes from strength to strength. Among the first acts announced for this year’s sixth instalment are The Treatment, Wearing Scars, Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics, Bad Touch, Dirty Thrills and Theia. Very much a labour of labour of love by Dave and his team, it’s another festival which is family friendly. More information and tickets HERE.
There’s obviously an almost neverending list of other festivals we could, and would recommend to you, including Bearded Theory, Breaking Bands, Bristol Deathfest, Cambridge Folk Festival, Ramblin’ Man Fair… yes, it really goes on… However, whatever tickles you fancy, we’re sure you’ll agree that there’s a festival out there to palpitate all Über tastesbuds… So take your pick and go enjoy yerselves...