Hevy Music Festival review – Brutal

Hevy Festival

Hevy Festival

With Hevy Music Festival set to be the most brutal festival in the UK this year I was very excited for the weekend to arrive. Unfortunately due to prior commitments my festival partner and I couldn’t make it until the Saturday afternoon which initially I was quite sad about, although on returning I don’t think we missed out on too much (except Crocus’s last ever show) as the Friday line-up looked fairly tame in comparison with the rest of the weekend.


After a series of hiccups (the major one being the 170 mile journey) we finally reached Hevy and set up camp just in time to run to the Punktastic stage for Rolo Tomassi. I’m not sure about the rest of the world but I’m a big fan of these guys and have been since their first EP. The crowd was pretty solid and there were some good pits emerging by the middle of their set. The band played and performed well, however, the sound was terrible. I’m not quite sure why or how long this problem had been going on for; the feedback was so loud it concealed the keyboards and some vocals almost entirely. The trouble with the sound didn’t stop. Problems continued throughout the weekend, but rather than dwell on it the crowds and the bands simply ploughed on through and had a jolly good time.

The realisation of where we had landed hit. We took ourselves on a tour of our new home. Hevy had made some serious contingencies incase of bad weather. It’s rather difficult to have a mosh pit in a mud bath so the event organisers decided to keep all the music under roofs. This meant that the Rock Sound and Punktastic stages shared a tent! I know it sounds crazy but it worked pretty well. You would go to see one band then instantly as their set finished the next band would start up 20 yards to your left (or right depending on which stage you watched first). I decided that even with the dry weather this was good as people were definitely seeing more music and different bands to what they would if the stages were separate. I had initially thought that sound checking would be a major flaw in the tent-sharing plan, however, the only interruptions I experienced were Decedents sound checking over the top of Converge! I think this made me angrier than it did Converge though who seemed to be totally cool with it!

The third stage sponsored by Red Bull was a stones throw from the big tent and was a good size for the smaller bands. We headed there next to catch The Long Haul, I first heard these guys about 4 years ago, just after I left the south coast, and hadn’t had the chance to see them yet. If you get the chance, go. They were good and I won’t be surprised if they get big pretty soon.

Next up were This Is Hell on The Punktastic stage. They were great and the pits were beginning to get big. This Is Hell not only tore up the stage but the crowd as well. They had the guys doing press-ups and the girls sit ups in the middle of the circle pit. That’s a trick I hadn’t seen before.

Time for some dinner: As promised there was a wide variety of food available and the prices were on the steep side but there were cheaper options to be had if you needed to. The selection of vans ranged from Mexican, chicken wraps, Chinese, a grill (including burgers, steak and baguettes), a creepier and vegetarian/vegan. There was also a couple of ice cream vans two bars and a tobacconist. Chilli and rice in hand we headed back to the tent for a cider. The campsite was a good size and there was more than enough room for all the tents and a game of Frisbee.  The size of Hevy is around 4000 people, a pretty good size for a festival with such a small main arena. I guess with a constant flow of such good bands it’s not a problem as there was always something to watch. If you do want to chat and hang with your friends I would suggest camping at a far end of the campsite as the sound does travel quite far.

With our bellies full we headed back in for and evening of mayhem: Municipal Waste got a better reaction than I had expected for such a classic thrash band in amongst such a hardcore line up. The tent was packed. Next up Norma Jean probably the best band to play the Rock Sound stage, followed by Meshuggah: proper metalcore at its best. Glassjaw headlined the Rock Sound stage. They did a good job but they just aren’t heavy enough for me, never the less, they did set up the crowd perfectly for Andrew WK’s party time. I always thought he was a bit of a knob and never really got into him but now I have seen the live show I understand what he’s all about. Andrew WK’s set was basically a disco for rockers. A perfect conclusion to the live music for a Saturday night.


Sunday Morning we arose to our hangovers, ringing ears and an incredibly hot tent. After downing a litre of apple juice and a scotch egg we aimed straight for the Punktastic stage and Attack! Vipers! The daylight was deceiving, we were early. We watched Mallory Knox first up on the Rock Sound stage. These guys have a lot of energy (but are a bit soft for me). Attack! Vipers! Have been round a while and there were a lot of people that showed up, considering they were first on, but the band seemed really surprised! It was pretty sweet to see them a little nervous but clearly having a great time and setting the Punktastic standard for the rest of the day.

Incase you didn’t know Hevy is set in the grounds of a zoo. No I’m not lying. As the weather was so beautiful and our ears and heads so delicate we decided the best hangover cure would definitely be to go and watch some animals. Everyone with a Hevy wristband had free access to Port-Lympne Animal Park. The views across the zoo were stunning. It was set on a steep downward slope towards the English Channel, which could be seen not too far in the distance. There were rhinos, bison, lots of varieties of cats and monkeys but my favourite had to be the gorillas. We were lucky enough to visit them at feeding time. The silverback put on a good show by posing and throwing sticks into the crowd. The zoo had a barbeque set up which was great when it was our feeding time and the price were similar to those inside the festival. I opted for a bacon roll with plenty of onions.

When we had exhausted the animal park we hiked back up to the festival site and straight into Hawk Eyes on the Red Bull stage. I’d not heard of Hawk Eyes before but they put on a great show the front man spent the majority of the set in the middle of the crowd complete with mic, stand and guitar. I shall definitely be putting them on my playlist from now on.

Next up we saw The Chariot who were awesome but unfortunately attracted an astounding number of hardcore dancers to their pit so it was fairly impossible to join in unless you wanted to either join them in looking like a complete idiot; or get a black eye. I chose to stay well out of it. There were quite a few bleeding faces by the end, fine if you don’t have work on Monday.

After packing down our tent we caught our personal favourites Converge who lived up to all the expectations and really gave it their all. Then the weekend finale: Descendents. Finished it off perfectly, a well lovely classic band. A fun set and gave me the energetic push I needed to make the drive home. Hevy also accommodated well for those of us who had to get back for work the live music finished at 10.30pm so I didn’t have too much of a late night and the rest of the crowds look tired enough to call it a day too.

Final words

Overall, Hevy was brilliant; the music was great throughout the entire festival (shame about the sound tech, hopefully they’ll sort it out next year). The animal park was a great location and a great place to be able to escape to if you needed to hear yourself think. All the facilities were plenty adequate and all the staff including, security, were friendly. If you’re into hardcore Hevy should definitely be on your calendar. If you’re into more Emo/Screamo etc. it probably should too. If your into proper punk and thrash then maybe not quite yet. Personally I’d like to see the Rock Sound stage turned into more of a thrash stage (or for there to be a fourth stage) but I guess you can’t have everything, right?

The stats

Average age: somewhere between 19-25

Percentage of people taking themselves far too seriously: about 35% (but it was to be expected)

Percentage of people with tattoos: about 90%

Number of fashion stalls: high, around 10, good for shopping if you’ve got some pennies to burn.
People looking for casual sex: 4 northern lads

People getting absolutely wasted: low, around 40