REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
PHOTOS by GAZ DAVIES of Gaz Davies Media, CARRIE-ANNE POLLARD, ANDREW EVANS and ESME KNIGHT
Seven stages, almost seventy bands, one day.
The seventh Macmillan Fest took place in Nottingham on a grey, rain-laden Saturday afternoon in early September.
Despite the torrential downpour outside, it didn’t seem to dampen anybody’s spirits, as they had something else on their minds: to enjoy a day of quality rock, supplied by some top bands.
But the bands were not here to line their pockets with the revenue, they were here mainly for a good cause: to raise money and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support, with the organisers hopeful of adding to the £20,000 they have raised over the last seven years.
The festival got going at 1pm in the main hall of the legendary Rock City venue, with Leeds female-fronted hard rock outfit Chasing Dragons getting things off to a good start with a heavy, fast-paced set.
An hour later, it was time to venture down to Rock City’s basement for Sister Shotgun, a metal group from the Black Country.
Fresh from a well-received slot at Fort Fest the day before, they vowed the crowd with a set which, both musically and visually, had an abundance of energy and intensity.
Photo (C) Andrew Evans
Another band from the West Midlands playing the festival were Liberty Lies, who had also played Fort Fest the previous day.
They turned Rock City’s basement into one big moshpit, with a pulsating set aided by the screaming vocals of Shaun Richards and the sublime playing of the guitars, bass and drums.
There was also a connection with Sister Shotgun, with their frontwoman Chloe Ozwell joining them on stage for a collaboration, on what was her second appearance of the day.
Photo (C) Esme Knight
Manchester alternative rockers Autumn Ruin were next in the basement, their set doubling as a launch for their newly released debut EP ‘We Make Our Own Damn Luck’ and sandwiched between gigs in London and at Fort Fest.
They played with much enthusiasm and it suggested that this is a group who are on the verge of breaking through on a substantial scale, so much so that I feel confident enough to say that the next Macmillan Fest they play, it will be as one of the headliners.
Another band who have had a good year were Blood Youth, who were playing at Stealth nightclub.
The Harrogate outfit played a set consisting of a sound that was a fusion of pop-punk and metal that captivated the crowd, with each band member seemingly on top of their game.
Rounding the day off at 9pm, back to where it all started in Rock City’s main hall, were legends SikTh, who have recently been on tour in the USA supporting Periphery, and had only arrived back in the UK the previous evening.
However, there was most certainly no sign of fatigue, as they almost literally raised the roof off the building with a highly-charged set, taking the fired-up crowd on a musical journey across the last sixteen years and the full spectrum of metal.
It was one of those gigs where everything seemed to go right and also the perfect way to end what had been a marvellous day.
Credit must be given to Kris Davis and his team for putting on such a brilliant and smoothly run event where, like with the majority of music festivals these days, the objective was to make as much money as possible, but the crucial difference here was that it was for the benefit of those most in support on what must be a very difficult period in their lives.
TO MAKE A DONATION TO MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT, GO TO THEIR OFFICIAL WEBSITE AT www.macmillan.org.uk