UK Tech-Metal Fest, now there’s a name I bet you’ve never heard of. But that’s okay, as I’m here to explain to you why this niche festival experience may be for you.
I seldom delve too far into the history of more established festivals due to the fact you can Google that information, but in the case of UK Tech-Metal Fest (or Tech Fest, its catchier, shorter name), it would be best to give you a quick run-down. Tech Fest is the idea that became a reality; born from the mind of Simon Garrod, the festival initially began as an all-dayer, but due to the overwhelming demand of both fans wanting to go and bands wanting to play, the all-dayer fast became a three day indoor festival held down south in the small town of Alton (no, not Alton Towers). 2012’s edition was a complete success, which lead to the next logical step – a three day camping festival held at the Plough Hotel in Peterborough. 2014 continues the outdoor nature of the festival, but this time at an airfield in Newark, near Nottingham, mainly due to the owner of The Plough being a massive buzzkill.
So what can you expect from Tech-Fest? Well, as this is a new festival, still in search of a permenant location, don’t expect a village with shops and stalls, don’t expect much from the food on offer and most importantly, don’t expect tens of thousands of adorning metal fans like Download or Sonisphere. I get the feeling that I may be losing some of you at this stage, but that’s okay as the small festival lifestyle isn’t for everyone.
Now that I’ve dusted off the negative cobwebs, I’ll swiftly move on the the positives. Tech Fest focuses in tech-metal, so you can expect a lot of widdly-diddly lead riffs, 7, 8 and even 14 string guitars, and a lot of ball poppingly heavy riffs. Chances are that you won’t have heard of half the line up, and believe me, netiher have I. But if heavy challenging metal is your things, you’ll seldom find a crap band on the line-up. With the likes of Sweden’s Vildhjarta bringing the evil, Monuments melding groove with vocal melody that Michael Jackson would be proud of, and SikTh playing their second show since reforming earlier this year, you’re not likely to find any poser metal such as Avenged Sevenfold or Black Veil Brides here.
Tech Fest takes nods of inspiration from its gargantuan counter-part Sonisphere in the way that it handles its line-up by staggering both of its stages, meaning you will have the opportunity to literally catch every band on the line-up. The music also starts on a Thursday, which is an added bonus, plus there will be late night bands and even a bloody jam session hosted by some of the festival’s top guitarists, bassists and drummers.
If you can play guitar, then head on over to the third stage, where throughout the day you will get the chance to play on some real expensive custom guitars, and if you stick around, there will be master classes all day from guitarists, label folk and even PR gurus – perfect if you are looking for some learning time away from the drinking shenanigans. In fact, the enrichment activities have got me to learn a few jams so I don’t make an idiot of myself rocking out to some Blink-182!
This is all fine and good if you’re a bit of a muso like myself, but what if you’ve never heard of a polyrhythm before? Well fear not, for camping at Tech Fest is like a small, 500 capacity family. You will find new friends who will not only become your drinking buddies, but your buddies after the weekend is over. You will now have friends who actually like the music you do and you will be able to go to those small gigs in future without feeling awkward that you’re going alone. And if that wasn’t enough, many of the bands playing throughout the weekend love to camp or party along with regular campers – there is no snobbery at Tech Fest.
So if you are looking for a quiet weekend away from the big festivals such as Reading and Sonisphere, but don’t want it to be as quiet as say 2000Trees or Guilfest, then Tech Fest is the place for you. Some of my favourite festival moments have come from this festival, and I hope that you soon you will be chanting “Tech Fest, Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na” for no apparent reason like the rest of us.