Tuesday 1 April 2014

Editorial: April 2014

Well Spring has sprung... more or less. One of the things I love about being British is the fact that I can never predict what the weather is going to do. It could be a perfectly pleasant and sunny morning that may warrant taking off my jacket as I walk to work. However, come lunchtime I could very well be cursing my short-sightedness as I look out the front door at a torrential downpour knowing that my umbrella is still in my car. That might not sound like a major inconvenience to most, but I have to park a fair walk away from work. It keeps me on my toes anyway.

But that brings me round to the main point of this month's Editorial ramble. Festivals!

Yes it is finally festival season with some amazing looking shindigs this year, both at home and abroad. In the UK we can look forward to Resistanz, Whitby Goth Weekend, Infest, Bram Stoker Festival, DV8 Festival and of course the first Alt-Fest (to name but a few). While further afield there are some great looking line-ups courtesy of Wave Gotik Treffen, M'era Luna, and Dark Munich Festival on the continent. As well as the twentieth annual Convergence in the USA if your bank balance is a little more flush than most.

And that isn't mentioning all the varied local day festivals and club festivals that crop up regularly each year.

It's not all been plain sailing though. There were doubts as to whether or not Infest would even go ahead this year. And sadly the promising looking Dark-Cide-Fest took a major knock and has had to be postponed due to their headliner pulling out. A big shame as by our review of last year'sevent, you'll see it was a good do.

But for all the positive work the organisers and bands put into these events, there is always the negative vibes ever present. In my time as an active participant in the alternative music arena, I've heard just about every criticism you can imagine levelled at festivals and their organizers. “It's too parochial”, “It's too niche”, “The promoters only book their friends”, “Why would I want to play to a small room in the UK, When I can play to a big field on the continent?”, “It's too samey”, “It's always the same people in the crowd” etc. etc. etc.

These points, some of which may very well be valid (although may now be moot due to Alt-Fest), do however miss the point entirely. The festival isn't about petty squabbles, or the size of the audience. It's about fans, loyal fans, coming together to celebrate the music they love. Just look at the following and reputation Resistanz has inspired in just a few short years... and isn't industrial supposed to be dead?

Though if you are truly feeling disenfranchised by the industrial/gothic festivals as a performer, there is nothing stopping you from applying to the main festivals. The Sisters Of Mercy and New Model Army have bagged a space each at Sonisphere this year for example and The Sisters haven't released a new album since the early 90s! Personally I could easily list plenty of established and upcoming bands with crossover potential for a number of main festivals that would go down a storm if they'd only apply. But that's just me. But those people need to actively apply themselves because they're not going to come to you unless your name is Marilyn Manson or Nine Inch Nails.

I suppose the moral of the story is enjoy and embrace your festivals, no matter how big they are, or else genuinely try and and break into the mainstream festivals and increase your exposure.  

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