Nathan is a veteran of the melodic rock festival which attracts punters
from all over the world...
A modestly sized festival in the East Midlands, run independently rather
than by a commercial promoter, and featuring bands that barely dented
the lower reaches of the UK singles and album charts 20 plus years ago.
And yet one which inspires fanatical devotion and loyalty, and attracts
fans who travel from all over the world. How can I explain this?
Partly it is
that being a lover of melodic rock and AOR feels like being part of a
cult sect persecuted by the outside world.
The genre is
critically reviled by music critics and followers of the next best thing
for supposedly being musically unadventurous and aimed at the lowest
common denominator; to many it is associated with men in perms and high
voices caused by ball-crushingly tight trousers, while the metal and
hard rock fraternity routinely but mistakenly criticise the genre's 'wimpiness'.
And yet the
way 'Don't Stop Believin' has lodged itself in the public consciousness
after its Sopranos, Glee and X Factor exposure, shows the way this
genre's rousing rock anthems with melody, emotion and a stirring message
have the power to move everyone.
But its not
just the music that in my view makes Firefest special.
It is very
much a 'gathering of the clans' - many from abroad, primarily mainland
Europe but also the USA and Canada, Australia and the Far East. Maybe
even a third attending come from overseas.
the gig an intensity and almost revivalist fervour, as the crowd by
its nature are diehards of the genre rather than casual fans.
to ever more outrageous unofficial contests to wear the most obscure
T-shirt - even though the rise of ebay means you can see 1985 Night
Ranger baseball shirts on people who were mere babes in arms then!
It is also
organised by our own kind - I first stumbled across the names of
co-promoters Kieran Dargan and Bruce Mee in fanzines before they
brought Firehouse and the reformed Danger Danger on UK
tours when no established promoter would take the chance, while Bruce
co-founded Now and Then records, who established the Gods festivals
which were Firefest's precursor.
a loyal team of helpers, they joined forces to hold the first Firefest
at Bradford in 2005, swiftly followed by one in Nottingham later that
year. Ever since the festival has settled for a late October date at
unique thing about Firefest is the organisers' gift for surprising fans
by bringing long defunct cult bands back to the stage.
and women were weeping in delight at White Sister's first
appearances in over 20 years a couple of years ago, the FM
reformation began with a one-off for 2007 Firefest which persuaded them
to do so permanently, and other cult bands like Blue Tears,
Valentine and Romeo's Daughter have unexpectedly returned and
relished playing in front of an audience they probably thought was no
Strangeways, reunited with singer Terry Brock is the
unexpected blast from the past.
is the biggest, and one of the most diverse, yet with a Friday warm up
at the University headlined by youthful Swedish sensations H.E.A.T,
followed by two full days at Rock City.
night Lynch Mob, featuring ex-Dokken guitarist (and Eddie Van
Halen's guitar teacher!) George Lynch headline a line up also featuring
Dare and Bonfire showcasing two of the genre's best ever
albums (Fireworks and Out of the Silence respectively).
On Sunday we
are blessed with two acts who have had US No 1's making their first ever
appearance on English soil - former Survivor singer Jimi Jamison,
and Nelson, albeit shorn of the hair that led them to be
nicknamed the 'Timotei Twins' back in the day.
Christmas, more than my birthday, more than the first day of the
football season, even more than festivals I travel to in the States,
Firefest is the event I most look forward to all year. See you down the
Tickets & Prices
Saturday - £48.50 Sunday - £48.50 Postage at £1 extra per order Day of
Payment : via paypal to : firstname.lastname@example.org or by
Cheque/Postal Order/Bank Draft payable to
Bruce Mee C/O Fireworks Office and sent to:
10 Dunnock Close
Tickets will be mailed out within 21 days of order.
Firefest 2010 is an age 14 and over show.
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