Hevy Fest, Port Lympne, Kent 06-08/08/2010

August 22, 2010 by  

Is it just me or has there been an increase in smaller DIY festivals in the last few years? Truck, Offset, Off The Cuff? Of course many of my peers have been disillusioned by Reading Festival and many of the other larger and more mainstream festivals. For myself, the massive queues and the expensive food and drink were off-putting, the over abundance of moronic teens drunk on anything they can find also really put me off. The festival had become a radio 1 wet dream, with an abundance of youth marketed product placement, I felt like a consumer rather than an attendee. After the age of 18 the dream for me kind of died, I needed something nicer and more intimate. One festival that really gave me hope for the underdogs of live music festivals was Hevy Festival.

A small festival in I believe it’s second year, which is located in an isolated part of the rural surroundings of Kent, that claims to be the ‘UK’s new alternative music festival’ featuring separate tickets you can buy for a nearby zoo and also featuring thrill seeking attractions, and an ‘Extreme Sport Display’. With the addition to the 4 live music stages that were on site this was obviously going to be an exciting weekend.

On the first night I decided to have a look in the festival site, which campers were allowed access to during the night (only until 11pm I believe). I could hear after-party Djs on the main stage pleading the crowd to ‘get messy’ – I could only imagine the size of the crowd there. The size (from my hazy recollection of Friday night) was gobsmackingly small, walking around the festival site would probably take 3 minutes give or take.

So the Saturday morning we went to the main stage, what was quite interesting to point out was that the Local Hero Stage was right next to the Main Stage, kind of like a tumour attached next to it. I imagine they did this to attract a large percentage of their punters to new music coming from Kent, which was quite an interesting way to do things, even though many of the passing glances I did to that stage during the weekend were quite boring acts. Anyway I was there to watch TRC who I had a bit of a love hate relationship with. I originally got listening to them on a heavily ironic cynical level so to see them live was definitely needed.

They didn’t seem uncomfortable on a large stage at all, TRC brought a huge crowd from their obvious dedication to putting on a great show and there wasn’t any hype in the pit that they made but I wouldn’t see them again. None of that tough guy hardcore stuff appeals to me live. Big skin head topless dudes bumping into each other. No thanks. I then went to the Rocksound stage (which was my favourite of the stages) and saw Cerebal Ballzy, a band I’d heard a lot about through word of mouth to be honest their sound was fucking awful and their crowd was particularly small. But these guys killed it, old school NY hardcore with obvious influences from Cro-Mags and Bad Brains etc. I can imagine an intimate live show for these guys would be ridiculous, unfortunately at a festival like this the crowd participation was at a bit of a low, but not for Trash Talk.

Nothing could prepare the crowd for Trash Talk on the main stage. Absolute insanity ensued as soon as the band went into Walking Disease, obliteration is the only word I can muster up for the scenario I have to paint for the readers of this review. Lee Spielman is the ultimate front man, a man who becomes the centre of attention for the whole set, the guy swings his mic lead to great distance only to smack some poor guy right in the face making an echo across the whole festival. Trash Talk were my absolute highlight, when you have such a dedicated cult following like theirs and that many people, this is what makes a festival a punk rock show.

Rolo Tomassi were another absolute gem, their new material from ‘Cosmology’ really was the highlight of their set. Showing their recent triumph, the songs could only be don’t justice live and with such a
drunk and crazy crowd.

Spending several hours drinking and feasting on free food by pretending to be important I got to watch Comeback Kid who were on top form, fast paced, heavy passionate melodic hardcore. Comeback Kid were probably a staple for many of the bands playing this festival which made I believe their set to be one of the highlights of the day.

On straight after Comeback Kid was Pay No Respect on the Local Band Stage this would be the first experience I take of the set layout which seemed to worked really well. Pay No Respect was fronted by former Your Demise vocalist George Noble. Local hardcore mob brought brutality on a whole new level, the support of fans and the like just proved to me that the dedication of these festival goers was unbelievable, Pay No Respects crowd was crazy, they were induced with uncompromising straight up hardcore, that left more bruises than falling down the stairs.

Gallows, who played straight after were very impressive, not playing much of their old material they showed to me that they are as popular as ever, even after their anticlimactic release of Grey Britian, this band put on a great show, including crowd participation to get the biggest circle pits and human pyramids during the whole weekend.

I started my haggard morning off with Me Vs Hero, who pretty uninspired for me. Pop-punk and breakdowns were for me a pretty tired cliché, I would of liked to see something a bit new or different but this was just standard run of the mill stuff. Pretty boring and didn’t leave me with anything. Later I got to catch the last few songs by Chickenhawk, another band I’d heard a great deal of, Chickenhawk seem to be a part of the Leeds musical collective of similar bands like That Fuckin’ Tank, Pulled Apart By Horses etc. Much of their stuff seemed a bit over-done, fairly similar to the Melvins.

Many hours later Sylosis were on at the Rocksound Tent, with their new material (which took up a lot of their set) they introduced a more climatic and progressive side of things to come for Sylosis. A pretty unresponsive crowd I thought but I was really impressed, I’d been a fan for a long time, I really enjoyed their more thrashy metal Earache band influences. Really heavy and really good.

My highlight for the Sunday for me was Throats, since seeing them last year at Offset they have improved immeasurably, they are a lot tighter and heavier and faster than ever but for me they built up so much momentum but then lost it by playing such a short set. I understand they want it short and sweet but it just left the crowd wanting more.

After this I began just hanging around the Rocksound Tent, all the bands on the Main Stage left me with an anti climatic feeling, but most of all they were predictable and un-entertaining. So this lead me to watch Despised Icon and the whole place went nuts, I saw guys come out of that tent with bloody noses and other impalement’s. Being their last UK tour ever it seemed to be an over the top special celebration for a very under-rated metal band.

Kudos Napalm Death who probably played the most songs in one set during the whole weekend. Mark “Barney” Greenway furious vocal style spiting moral rage during their whole set just made their entire performance more passionate and incredible. I initially thought that to watch their whole set would of become quite repetitive and boring but not at all, it was just an honour to watch such legends do what they’ve crafted and honed so well.

The weekend for me now would conclude the only way it should with the legends that are Glassjaw. With rumours going around the festival that they would be a no show because of travel issues, it was a great end for a fantastic festival. Unfortunately I couldn’t get to see their whole set but to see the songs I did was a perfect end for me, after seeing them 2 or 3 years before it just reminded me how exhilarating their live
show really is.

Hevy for me ticked all the boxes, sure there were only two of the 3 or 4 rides that were advertised and yes the Extreme Sports Display was pretty anticlimactic, also the stage times did run quite late by the last night but the vibe at this festival was perfect. Absolutely the perfect size for me, my only real criticism was there wasn’t any cigarette vendors at the whole venue. With all it’s faults which I enjoyed as it reminded me how difficult putting on a festival is and just goes to show that all that hard work made for an amazing weekend. Within a couple of years I imagine seeing Hevy Festival competing with the big dogs of the summer festivals.


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