This is a small and perfectly formed festival which has capacity for about 300 people. It is held in one room with a bar at the far end and lots of seating around the edges. There was plenty of room for all, even though this was a sold out festival. The tickets were £17.50 and represented outstanding value for money as you could potentially see 17 bands for this!
The staff and promoters (Prometheus Promotions) are really helpful and friendly and you feel as though nothing is too much trouble for them. The bar staff worked tirelessly too. All of the organisers and people who worked in this festival should be applauded for their hard work and caring, can do attitude.
The festival starts with an acoustic night on the Saturday night, and opened with
Michael Chimp Procter who I unfortunately missed, but I heard he went down really well.
Next up we had Rob Lomax and the BBC acoustic band, a traditional Irish sounding band who used a floor drum and violins as part of their set. They certainly got the crowd tapping their feet and singing along. They did covers ranging from Lord of the Dance, which I never expected to hear at a Rock Festival, to Sweet Home Alabama.
Theia who are a usually very energetic trio sounded fantastic, playing a good mix of older tracks and ones of their latest album and it was great to see them being more chilled out. They too ventured into the world of covers providing us with a rendition of Tenacious D’s “Fuck her Gently”, which was really well received, if somewhat cheeky. As usual, they finished with the crowd pleasing “Whoop De Fucking Doo” which went down a storm.
Baxter, a 2 piece with a female guitar player / vocalist and male singer sang lots of covers and got everyone up and dancing. I am sure it was the music but the alcohol was flowing nicely as well. They did a great rendition of Crazy Little Thing Called Love and also some unexpected treats in the form of The Bare Necessities from Jungle Book and Ant Music.
Another great thing about this festival is that although there were a lot of people drinking there was no trouble and no issues with anyone. Everyone continued to be friendly and warm right through to the end of the night.
On Sunday the doors opened at 11 and the bands started at 12. The Sourheads kicked things off with their catchy tunes which got toes tapping and heads nodding. The vocals reminded me slightly of Baleful Creed but this was a band that were rocking their own vibe, with cool dreads, swagger by the bucket load and bare feet.
None of the bands overlap and so you are able to see as many or as few as you would like. The majority of the bands had a 30 minute set but this is stepped up for the last 5 bands who get longer. It is a fantastic way to see loads of interesting bands, some of whom you won’t have heard but that is OK as finding new music is always good.
Black Cat Bones took over the stage and played a set filled with searing riffs and great sing along vocals. This was a really catchy set that was infectious in getting the crowds up and paying attention. Part of their set was reminiscent of early Iron Maiden which then calmed down to the blues influenced “The River” which featured a harmonica. This band get top marks from me as one of their guitar player reminded me of Phil Lynott and the other Slash, plus their merch guy looked so much like Robert Plant that even they commented on this!
Ryders Creed are band that are full of energy and they did not disappoint. They got the crowd, which was filling up nicely, going and singing along. There was plenty of support for them judging by the amount of t shirts bearing their name. They played a convincing set filled with passion and enthusiasm. This is a band which plays rock and roll with a deep, driving bass line and intense riffs.
Next up were The Senton Bombs with their cool singer wearing blacked out shades. This was heavier rock played with piercing riffs and full drumming combined with blistering bass lines. They had great interplay with the crowd who clearly adored them for it. There were lots of their t shirts being proudly displayed on members of the crowd so they clearly have a very loyal following.
A band that I had been waiting for see for ages were Baleful Creed, a Northern Irish band who came out fighting and determined to be hard and heavy. We were treated to some sublime riffs and elegant drumming plus the gravelly vocals of the lead singer. All of the tracks were taken from their latest album which is a belter. They play such full rock that it reverberates through your body with the deep, rich bass line and throbbing drums leaving you wanting more. They manage to produce oceans of sound that are multi layered and textured. The crowd was bouncing along by the time we got to “Levy” so much so that the band forgot that they still had a song in the bag! The final song was “Wolf” being jam packed with emotion and integrity.
Then food was calling and so I missed Beckton Lane, Hells Addiction and Beth Blade. From what I heard later they all went down well.
By the time Regulas played the room was pretty hot, it was such great weather outside and so people were listening from the grass bank outside with the doors open. This was a full on set, deep and hard, with massive vocals, a topless guitar player and incredible energy. They played at full force, driving their instruments hard to reach the climax of the set.
Mason Hill pulled the crowd back inside with lots of animation from the band and crowd, who were nodding along. This is an extremely photogenic band so there was lots of winking at the pretty girls in the crowd and loads of hair being tossed back. They were accomplished players and really accessible. It was the perfect set to get people up and dancing along, with their chugging bass lines, great vocals and thumping good tunes. They seemed to be able to do both old and newer tracks and even threw in a cover for good measure. At the end of the set the crowd were chanting their name which has got to be the best accolade you can get.
Knock out Kaine are a super cool band and as soon as they came on, the crowd who had dispursed to get drinks or cool down were soon back in force. The set was intense and packed with emotion. They had some fantastic riffs and a solid bass player. The guitar used by the lead singer looked as though it had been inked on and certainly fitted in with this charismatic band, who were equally at ease with ballads and full on rock.
A personal highlight for me were the Screaming Eagles, another Northern Irish band who have grown in statue and stage presence over the years. They really interacted with the crowd with loads of swagger and balls out rock. Their lead singer, Chris, oozes charm and the whole band delivered the set of the day, in my opinion as it was intense and passionate. There was something to please everyone, sing a long, catchy tunes, sublime riffs, thunderous drumming, deep, sonorous bass and enough sparkle and intelligence to make you smile. This is how great rock should be played in my opinion and I know they captured the hearts of 3 young people in the crowd by giving them a shout out and a signed set list. They left the stage with the crowd begging for more and buzzing from what they had experienced.
All too soon the day was almost at an end but not without a raucous and full on set from Massive Wagons who came on and hit it hard and then hit it again. They did a great shout out to the organisers which was really appreciative and thoughtful. This is hard and heavy rock, which started with “Back to the Stack” and did not let go of the audience until they had wrung every ounce of sweat and singing from them. The crowd was all too pleased to join their voices with Massive Wagons letting them know that they were right behind them. It made my heart leap with they played Ratio and Tokyo. This was a boisterous, vibrant and visceral set that set hearts pounding and sweat pouring, is there any better way to end a spectacular couple of days?
This is the kind of festival which will appeal to everyone, it is very reasonably priced, a small enough venue that you don’t get lost but there is plenty of space and everyone that goes along is really lovely. The staff go above and beyond to help out and the organisers are very efficient and professional. I would urge you to give this festival a try when the tickets come out, you may not know the bands, you may not know anyone going but you will have one of the best weekends and are sure to come away with new bands to listen to and new friends.