The man known as Bill, passionate about music and organiser of Cosby Big Love and Foxton Locks festivals decided it was time that Hinckley got their own music festival. As Hinckley is the main base for TBFM we really wanted to get on board with such a great event that was being planned.
After chatting to Bill quite a few times on the phone and also over a few cold ciders we put plans together to make TBFM an official media sponsor and in charge of the main stage over the weekend.
Bill is a well loved and well respected man in and around the Leicestershire area for his work so it was fantastic to be involved in what was looking to be a massive first festival.
So, we had 3 outdoor stages and 2 indoor stages which is pretty big for a first go. 68 bands outside and then dj’s and mc’s inside for the drum and bass plus the dance and trance. Everything was covered with great acoustic acts, awesome rock and metal bands and a bit of indie and punk thrown in for good measure. All that was left now was the hope that the weather was going to hold out. How many first time events get fucked up because of a bad downpour?
Arriving at Hinckley Football Clubs ground (the Greene King Stadium) there was already plenty set up. TBFM’s job for the weekend was for Steve the Roadie to run the main stage (26 bands) and myself to run backstage which I had never actually done on my own so a little squeaky bum time was setting in on the day (soon to be fixed by a good dose of Strongbow).
So we set up camp backstage and was really impressed with the stage set-up. I know I have already mentioned this but as a first time festival, you notice a lot of things that are not done right, mainly to save money by cutting corners but Bill and his team made sure that the stages, sound crew, security and bands were top notch!
Friday bands kicked off at 5pm with a little sunshine and a change of line-up. 7 bands playing on the opening night with Sixty Fours and TBFM Birthday Bash band Black Star Bullet being my picks of the night. The buzz around the field was really good, lots of praise for the organisers and the sound staff who did a fantastic job with everything and getting us all geared up for day 2.
Of course, Mucka Jay doesn’t just go to bed when the last band finishes! Loaded up with a few cans of BOW I headed to the acoustic tent to find about 10 people playing instruments from bin lids, to bongo drums, tapping cans and making some beat-box style sounds. It was a little bit weird but everyone was made to feel so welcome.
So Saturday comes and after a night of torrential rain, the sun has appeared again and the crowds started to flock into the campsite. Things were getting set to be a real corker of a day with 13 bands on the main stage, I really had my work cut out for me to keep things going to schedule.
There was so many top acts on Saturday and I managed to get to the front of the stage to catch quite a few of them, even though only for 2-3 songs as I was busy working (honest!!!). From the backstage area though kicking off the day with Kill Progression, they set the standard for bands to follow and indeed they did. To think, almost every band playing were based within a 20 mile radius goes to show what talent there is in Leicestershire.
We got to the late afternoon and the heaviest band of the weekend. I was really looking forward to Metal to the Masses Finalists Internal Conflict. Definitely a band for the Friday Frenzy, I was curious to see how well a metal band would work at 3pm smack bang in the middle of a 3 day festival. Well… they fucking rawwwwwked! What a show they put on. Everything about them was so tight and for me, one of the bands of the weekend.
We started to get to the evening bands and a few light showers didn’t deter the crowds for local favourites Resin, from Hinckley. Regular TBFM listener Matt Haslam said “I am so looking forward to seeing these guys live, a little bit of wee may come out!”. Well, by the performance of the band I expect Matt may have flooded the field in excitement. Once again, the guys showed why they were picked for the TBFM Birthday Bash and why they are also a band in the final of Metal to the Masses to play Bloodstock this year.
The 2 big headliners of day 2 were ready and poised for the crowd which by now, was growing strong, if not a little drunk but all happy looking! Enraged, a tribute to Rage Against The Machine were really amazing. As a fan of Rage and of course, a helper of their song Killing in the Name getting to number one in 2009 they were one of the bands I was really pumped up for. They played some really great tracks and even had the dance and trance fans coming out from their stage indoors to take part in the frenzy that followed with a moshpit to Killing in the Name which managed to crash the photo pit fencing down to the joy of the crowd. I think everyone got a little excited!
Headline band were due up and the penultimate day to the release of their album Sci-Curious, the band the crowd had been waiting for, Axis Mundi appeared on the stage to rapturous applause. I knew right then, this was going to be an epic performance, but they really had to be on top of their game. The eyes of Hinckley was on them, BBC reporters, their manager who helped them with getting their album ready, friends and family and 12 performances before them that in turn, were amazing. No pressure lads… and by god, they did not feel the pressure. Lead singer Shaun Garner destroyed that stage and had every one of the crowd bouncing to the sounds of the bands ‘raverock’.
I have described Axis Mundi on TBFM as a mix of Prodigy, System of a Down and Pendulum and you could get all 3 but Axis just have that edge that still signifies them with their own brand of craziness that makes you want more and more. They pounded the stage, into the crowd, climbed on anything and everything on the stage with such professionalism, it was safe to say, Axis Mundi stole the show! A real crowd pleaser, even for those who are not really into the music, you could still enjoy the buzz of the crowd and the energy being thrown out from the stage.
So it was the end of the second day on stage 2, everyone super tired after that musical workout so it was time to thank the bands and the stage crew for their hard work, grab another cider and head, once again to the acoustic tent to see what weirdness we were in for tonight.
I think everyone heard about the first night in the acoustic as the place was packed when I arrived around midnight. We had chairs as drums, more beat-boxing, poetry and AC/DC songs. It was a great was to chill down and hats off again to the organisers for putting on this chill tent for those who didn’t want to rave all night!
Day 3 was a bit of a wash out. The heavens opened up, people were tired and the problems started! The stage flooded a few times, but we re-arranged things to try and keep everyone dry and safe but it just wasn’t going to happen. Several meetings regarding the safety of the bands were had before we had to call time a little early. Thanks to the gods above for that massive dose of rain! We still got to see a few bands though with The Dead Beats kicking off before The Demons of Ruby Mae got a real soaking! Rufus, from Worcester had been partying backstage with us all weekend and were not on til 4pm Sunday so they were gutted when we called time on the stage before the blue skies popped out for an hour. They played a great set to the stage crew and the few people that were left and closed the show with some awesome original music.
All in all, a great weekend. So many things went right, very few things went wrong. There was over 100 acts playing over the weekend and with the early bird camping price of £25, that was one hell of a bargain. We are already looking forward to next years festival and hope that we can build on the Hinckley Music Festival year on year.
It was a pleasure to be part of something right from day one and again, we have to say a massive thanks to Bill for all the hard work (and money) that he put into making this a very awesome and successful weekend.
Can’t wait for next year!