by ZAK SLOMAN
Tomorrow, The Hairy Dog in the city of Derby – increasingly becoming seen as a premier venue in which to see both established and emerging bands/artists – will be playing host to the fourth Derby Alt Fest.
This year’s festival looks all set to be the biggest and best yet, having been extended for two days for the first time, and containing a bill comprising of some real top quality outfits from the genres of rock, metal, and alternative, including Sworn Amongst, Raised By Owls, and Death Remains, which isn’t bad for something that started out as a simple EP release show in 2016.
To find out more about all of this, I spoke to the festival’s founder/organiser Liam Barlow, and he had much to say:
How did the initial idea for the Derby Alt Fest come about?
Alt Fest began in 2016, when my old band This Is Hate booked out The Hairy Dog for our EP release. We wanted to put on a stacked line-up for the day, with something for everyone (basically to sell tickets), and on the lead-up to the event, the name Alt Fest came along, and it just stuck.
When did you start planning for this year’s festival?
Planning starts the second the previous year ends, we get the date locked in, then we move forward from there, and a lot of work goes on behind the scenes finding bands, making sure it stays alternative, and not just a full-on heavy fest! (laughs)
For those who are going to the Derby Alt Fest for the first time in 2019, what can they expect?
This year is going to be the biggest yet, from advance tickets, to the bands playing, and it just gets better every year, but you will have to come on the day to see for yourselves!
For the first time this year, the festival will have an additional day, with an event called “The Hangover” taking place on the Sunday. How did that come about?
In all of the previous years, we have had to cram every act into one day, which could get a bit messy, to be honest, and bands ended up having to play shorter sets. With “The Hangover“, we have managed to spread the bands out over the two days, and no main stage act has a shorter set time than 30 minutes, which is good for them!
Also, the name “The Hangover“, well, it speaks for itself, as on the Saturday – myself included – people will enjoy having a few drinks, so I think there will be a lot of sore heads on the Sunday!
This will be the fourth Derby Alt Fest. What have been your personal highlights of the previous three?
My main personal highlight is seeing how it has grown and progressed, and you can just look at the posters over the years to see that!
However, something that stands out for me was having Dave McPherson (the lead singer of InMe) play the acoustic stage last year, and seeing him jamming all those big InMe tracks acoustically up close, was really sick!
And honestly, did you ever expect the festival to grow like it has when you first started?
Did I ever expect it to grow? No way! (laughs) Like I said, it was just meant to be an EP release show, but people really liked the idea, and had a fun time there, so I’ve just kept moving it forward.
What is your current opinion of the rock and metal scene in Derby?
The scene in Derby is not that great, which doesn’t really make sense, as The Hairy Dog – for me – is one of the best underground venues in the UK. However, I’m changing that with my new music promotions company Unearthed!
I know this will be a difficult question to answer, but which bands/artists are you personally most looking forward to seeing this year?
You can’t ask me that! (laughs) Obviously, I’m looking forward to seeing every band…*cough* King Abyss *cough*
And lastly, what is your future aim, in regards to Derby Alt Fest?
My aim for Alt Fest is for it to become the biggest independent festival in Derby, and I seriously don’t think it will be long until you see a full weekend line-up and multiple venues.
I would also love to do an outdoor gig at some point, but I don’t think that the dog walkers at Markeaton Park would really appreciate some slamming death metal, do you?
However, they might actually, who knows?
TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE FOR THIS YEAR’S DERBY ALT FEST, AND FURTHER INFO ON THIS CAN BE FOUND HERE.