Well we’ve nearly made it to the end of a grey and gloomy January. As the nights start to draw out and we start to stock up on some Vitamin D again we can also just about start letting ourselves look forward to another festival season.
Announcements have been coming through early this year with the major players all trying to get a head start on tickets sales. Download 2012 looks to be a belter already with Prodigy, Metallica and Black Sabbath announced as main stage headliners plus bands like Lamb of God, Soundgarden and Machine Head further down the bill. Bloodstock has lots of names in place including Alice Cooper, Nile, Dimmu Borgir, Orange Goblin and Anvil to name just a few. We metal heads have nothing to moan about do we…
Anyway, while we’re dreaming of beer-soaked long summer days in the blazing sun (fingers crossed) those in the know realise it doesn’t have to be months of waiting to get a festival fix.
Hammerfest is just around the corner. Taking place at Pontins in Prestatyn, it’s not the most metal setting for a festival but those who have been will know, it definitely is a full-on metal event. The fourth instalment of Hammerfest is possibly the strongest line-up so far. With Anthrax headlining the Friday and Wales’ own Skindred topping the bill on Saturday night it certainly has me salivating. Other big names include Amon Amarth, Chimaira, Hell, Evile and Paradise Lost.
One of the main attractions for me at Hammerfest is checking out those smaller bands. During the daytime, only the second and third stages are open giving you a chance to stumble on something you wouldn’t normally watch. The third stage, set up in the Queen Vic pub, is particularly good for finding a great new band. Last year I saw Oaf along with about 50 other people in there and they turned out to be one of the best bands of the weekend. The Oaf Twits are back again this year along with plenty more fresh talent I’m sure.
Hammerfest probably has one of the best atmospheres of all the festivals as it’s small and dare I say it, quite cheesy due to its surroundings. Seeing twent- stone metal heads peddling Pontins tricycles around the site with cans of Stella in-hand really is a vision, especially when they get off and have a few 20p’s in the ‘grabber’ machine to try and win a cuddly toy! I tell you, you’ve not lived until you’ve been to Hammerfest.
If you don’t think you‘re going to make it though, do not fear, I’ll tell you all about it :)