tribute to some great days at what I felt was a great Rock / Metal /
Hevy Fest was an August event that stood out in the busy festival season
because its lineup each year always seemed so well put together. Although
it wasn't one of the big festivals it was large enough for a proper
camping festival experience. It always featured newer bands currently
making waves alongside those that were more established from around
the world. It also seemed to attract bands that were historically important
to the scene and who might rarely have played the UK. A festival for
new fans and older connoiseurs alike.
I had been lucky enough to photograph the event four times during the
years Hevy Fest was held at Port Lympne Animal Park, unfortunately missing
2010. Actually, the event was on parkland just outside of where the
animals are kept. Entry to the animal park was free for ticket holders,
a cool perk and a great way to spend an hour or two in the mornings
before the music started. To their major credit the festival helped
raise many thousands of pounds for the work the park does in animal
conservation around the world.
So to mark the end of Hevy Fest here is a brief round up of the events
I photographed in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
All the photos up to 2015 were taken for an excellent music website
called Planet Loud - now merged with PureGrainAudio.
The 2015 photos were for Pure
Rawk, another fantastic music site I am lucky enough to shoot for.
Be sure to check them out!
My first Hevy Fest was in 2011. The Dillinger Escape Plan and Four Year
Strong played awesome headlining sets and it was the first time I saw
some of my favourite current live bands... Arcane Roots, While She Sleeps,
Touche Amore, and Make Do And Mend. Particuarly memorable were superb
sets from Feed The Rhino and TRC who shared a slot on the main stage
when another band had to pull out on the day. Both bands made the most
of the opportunity, the shorter sets condensing their powerful live
shows to stunning effect. This event was a good learning experience
for me as it was one of the first times I had photograhed a stage that
was taller than I was. Over the course of the weekend I had plenty of
time to get used to it. With monitors along the front of the stage blocking
the view further it required a different style of composition and a
more patient approach, sometimes having to wait for band members to
come forwards for a clearer shot.
In 2012 Hevy Fest had two main stages, positioned side-by-side under
cover in a large marquee, and an extra day of music. Although there
were occasional main stage sound issues (sound checks on one stage while
a band was playing on the other!), the line-up was brilliant with so
many highlights. Those included Deaf Havana, Marmozets, Lower Than Atlantis,
The Bots, A Wilhelm Scream, Dead Harts, Devil Sold His Soul, Feed The
Rhino, Glassjaw, Municiple Waste, Norma Jean, Pianos Become The Teeth,
Meshuggah, Converge, H20, Descendents, Ignite, Hundered Reasons, Mallory
Knox, Madball, The Chariot, and far more besides! Being under cover
meant all the bands got the benefit of the stage lights which I think
always adds to the atmosphere. I also took some live shots of the brilliant
Brotherhood Of The Lake, and was well pleased to have one used by the
band as their website front page image.
Sadly, 2013 wasn't a good year for Hevy Fest, with issues over the venue
site. Although alternative venues were looked at it didn't prove viable
to run the event that year. It's fair to say the organisers took quite
a lashing on the social media channels. As usual, with social media,
those people spitting hatred had no idea what was really going on, with
rumour and exageration everywhere. I felt the Hevy team were as up front
with their problems as they could be and tried their best to find a
workable solution. However, they felt there was no choice but to cancel
the year's plans under the circumstances. It all meant that when Hevy
returned for 2014 (at Port Lympne Animal Farm once again) it was very
much a scaled back operation compared to the 2012 event. There was a
return to one main stage outdoors and two smaller tented stages, the
music held over two days instead of three.
Hevy Fest 2014 felt like a return to it's roots to rebuild confidence
for the future. Being smaller, the crowd seemed more relaxed and happy
to soak in the sounds rather than go mental for every band. That's not
to say there wasn't the usual levels of roudiness for some of the bands...
Feed The Rhino once again put on another memorable show, as did Dead
Harts, Oathbreaker, TRC and TesseracT. On the main stage Capdown, Reel
Big Fish, Anti-Flag and Kvelertak proved popular choices. Kvelertak's
singer wore his owl headgear which was a magnificent sight! Finch played
a blinder too, even more so after their guitarist fell off the stage
and was thankfully ok to carry on. Other highlights included everyone
being invited on stage for Josh Scogin's latest band '68 in one of the
tents. A completely nuts show from The Hell and excellent sets from
The Vandals, Silverstein, Crime In Stereo, The Ocean, Structures, The
One Hundered, Apologies I Have None... so many more good bands too...
made this festival once again an unforgettable weekend for the true
fans of Rock / Metal / Punk.
Saving the best 'til last, 2015 was my favourite of the four events
I saw at Port Lympne. The sound was excellent, the lighting atmospheric,
the security people were relaxed, the organisation good, the bands...
every single one of them... were amazing. It was probably the best 2
days of music I have seen. For someone like myself, who loves the very
wide spectrum of rock / metal / punk genres, these two days had it all.
My review for Pure Rawk was even more enthusiastic than usual! There
are photos to accompany too so do have a look when you get a moment...
Fest 2015 Day 1
Fest 2015 Day 2
Highlights for me were... The Dillinger Escape Plan (a nuts live show
and technically superb), Coheed and Cambria (pure class), Touche Amore
(epic, poetic, emotional), Fightstar (catchy choruses pleased a fanatical
crowd), Press To MECO (high energy and great vocal harmonies!!), Creeper
(on their way to big things), Heck (total madness!), Chon (stunning
jazzy licks a-plenty), Black Peaks (Will Gardners voice is incredible!),
OHHMS (original dynamic songwriting), Fathoms (brutal), Fort Hope (commercial
greatness), Hang The Bastard (sounding filthy), As It Is (good catchy
fun and always jumping), Arcane Roots (awesome songs played with passion),
Fall Of Troy (played "Doppelganger" in full), Thrice (legendary),
Horse The Band (fun fun fun), Monuments (tight grooves), The Colour
Line (The Chariot reborn but in their own original way), and Hacktivist
So the 2015 event was a fitting goodbye to Hevy Fest. It is sad to see
it end. Here is their final statement...
"Hevy Fest is no more.
After 6 years of incredible bands, legendary hangs, and a lot of monkeys
- we’re sorry to announce that Hevy Fest is pulling the plug.
Despite the best efforts of our dedicated team, the festival has become
financially untenable. Many things have contributed: Port Lympne being
unable to continue hosting the event, the increasingly difficult task
of putting together a line-up with more and more exclusives enforced
each year leading to difficulties confirming our final headliner, and
the pressure to offer good value with spiralling costs. The odds are
stacked against anyone taking on the challenge, and they have proven
too great for us to overcome.
There is a great community of Hardcore, Punk and Metal supporters in
the UK and we hope that other small festivals will be able to grow into
this space, and to deliver the event we aspired to.
Ticket holders will be automatically refunded. All monies will be returned
in the next 10 working days (including booking fees and postage).
As a small independent event, we want to thank everyone who has supported
us over the years.
Hevy Fest // 2009 - 2015"
For any more info check the website at... www.hevyfest.com.
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