The United Kingdom really does have rock and metal music under lock and key when it comes to festivals. Ranging from the more melodic sounds that 2000 Trees and Slam Dunk brings to the table, all the way to the more extreme and technical waves that UK Tech-Metal Fest, Ghostfest and ArcTanGent deliver. The festival I’m here to talk about today happily floats between both the melodic and the technically challenging, but most importantly the heavy side of music. Today I’m talking to you about Hevy Festival.
Hevy Festival has only been going since 2009, but in six short years has grown from strength to strength as a brand that is representative towards the heavier side of music (hence the, er, name). Ranging from Punk, Metalcore, Tech-Metal and other zany sub-genres that encompass the modern alternative music scene, fans can expect a weekend of loud music, an abundance of screaming vocals and one or two mosh pits, to say the least. Yes, it had to cancel in 2013, but do not let this mark down your opinion of the festival, for 2014 showed that lessons were learned with a stonking line-up as rebuttal to the naysayers.
This year’s line-up improves on the previous years, in what can only be described as the best Hevy line-up to date. This year we have Hevy veterans in The Dillinger Escape Plan returning to melt people’s faces off. In addition we have numerous album anniversary shows from Coheed and Cambria, The Get Up Kids and The Fall of Troy who will all be playing what are debatably regarded as their best albums in full. The Fall of Troy playing Doppelgänger in full will be particularly special, as it will literally have been 10 years to the date since their sophomore album was released, marking a truly monumental occasion for the band and fans alike. Add the Thrice reunion to the mix, Fightstar, Protest The Hero and many other high calibre bands, and I think it’s fair to say that Hevy has one of the most competitive line-ups this year.
What makes Hevy so special isn’t just the music alone, but the location too, based down near the south coast at Port Lympne Reserve in Kent – An animal park run by The Aspinall Foundation charity to provide a sanctuary that aims to help breed animals in a more natural habitat than your average zoo. This fact is made even better, because entry to the zoo is provided as part of the weekend ticket! There is nothing better than curing those Saturday hangover blues than watching a gorilla fling mounds of turd at the other visitors (trust me, this happened in 2011. It’s all fun as long as you’re not the victim!). But in all seriousness, take time to see what The Aspinall Foundation is all about and maybe even adopt one of the animals if you’re feeling generous (I may have adopted towards a certain turd flinging gorilla in 2011 and still donate to this date).
As one of the smaller festivals, don’t expect a village the size of the likes of Reading or Download. You will find a few decent food stalls, a couple of merch stands and a bar or two to keep spirits merry. And whilst it sounds like I may be selling the arena short, don’t worry for there is plenty of entertainment to keep you occupied before the festival’s music officially starts – with an acoustic day featuring all of your favourite Alt acts such as Jamie Lenman (ex-Reuben), Dave McPherson (InMe) and Sam Duckworth (ex-Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly) who all aim to bring the Thursday in for punters without the need to get absolutely trollied (As if that will stop me mind, I turn 27 on the Thursday!). But should you wish to continue into the long hours of the morning, Hevy also has you covered with three club nights straight from North London, with Thursday represented by Uprawr, Friday by Facedown and Saturday brought to you by Ultimate Power, the best Power Ballad night you will find in Camden.
If the after-hours entertainment isn’t for you, then don’t worry, for Hevy is one of the better community spirited festivals amongst the scene. Pitch up your tent and say hi to your neighbours, have a few drinks and enjoy the company of others as you prepare to have one of the best weekends of summer 2015. The festival is close to selling out, but at £89 per ticket, with the sheer quality of the line-up at hand, you’d have to be a complete madman not to splash out and go!