Thursday 7 August 2014

Editorial: August 2014

This month's editorial column is a sad one, and I'm sure people are sick of everyone commenting on it, but I feel the need to write my thoughts down about this anyway. As you will know by now, Alt-Fest has been cancelled. A new event that promised so much, was pulled at the eleventh hour amid a storm of rumours and conspiracy aggravated by a disastrous social media response that seemed to take the organisers by surprise.

This was an event that I really held out hope for. With the mix of mainstream metal acts as well as luminaries from the goth, industrial, punk and steampunk genres it seemed to me like the perfect festival put together by the creators of Club Antichrist, a reoccurring club night with a great reputation.

From the start it set out to be different with its successful Kickstarter campaign and aggressive social media presence. When big names like Fields Of The Nephilim, Marilyn Manson, Cradle Of Filth, and Paradise Lost began to be added to the line-up it seemed as though it was all progressing as planned. Like many people I was optimistic about the drawing power the evolving line-up would have and thought that with it being billed as family friendly it would get the extra boost from those who wouldn't usually make it to an outdoor festival. As such I've actively promoted the announcements on this website and when the organisers didn't get back to me regarding a press pass, I thought 'Fuck it, I'm going anyway' and shelled out for tickets like everyone else.

As when anything goes wrong with something people have been passionate about, there has been finger-pointing and name-calling. But at the end of the day I do believe the organisers had the best intentions and didn't set out looking for this to happen, but that it just started out too big too soon. After all Download Festival, one of the biggest events in the UK for over a decade now, was initially only a two-day festival with two stages and that was already tapping into the much bigger and far more established history of festivals at Donnington.

That being said, the confidence on the part of the organisers and the belief of the patrons who supported it could have seen Alt-Fest become a domestic and international success, perhaps even becoming as integral to the annual touring schedule as Wacken is for metal bands, had fortunes have been different. But in the end it just made the disappointment much more bitter.

As it stands, this is going to remain raw for a lot of people for quite a while. But what have we actually learned from the experience? It's no use saying 'It's turned to dust. There's no point any-more!'. That's too easy and counter-productive. Hindsight is 20/20 and I'd like to think that anyone who'd attempt something like this in the future would take note from this.

What I'm thankful for is the promoters that have stepped up to put on last minute shows such as S.O.S in London and Ctrl-Alt-Fest-Delete in Kettering to give those who couldn't cancel the travel arrangements a smaller but just as enjoyable experience. Just as with the cancellation of Kinetik in Canada and the quick setting up of Aftermath, people have banded together and salvaged something from the situation to take the sting out a little. It's going to take some enormous good will to restore people's faith in any undertaking the size of Alt-Fest again, but picking up the pieces like this is a good way.

Right, in happier news I've begun contacting bands for the next compilation and am happy to say quite a few acts I've enjoyed over the past couple of years are on board already.

Finally, if you're new to this humble website and haven't downloaded our first 'Blood Pack' compilation album yet, please click the album cover in the sidebar and download yourself a free copy from our bandcamp page.
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