UK Music Festivals In 2012: The Rise Of The Rock Festival


Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the meteoric rise in not only the number, but also the quality of annual UK music festivals in the past 10 years? Actually that goes for all of Europe but if I were to get into that then we would be here all week!

As a youth I remember getting really excited by the oncoming Monsters Of Rock Festival (now named Download Festival) as well as the Reading Festival (and later the Leeds Festival). They were the only 2 that I went to year on year for a time and as a rock/metal music fan were really the only full-scale weekend festivals that existed playing that kind of music back in the 90’s/early 2000’s. I guess the other big name music fests of the time would be Glastonbury Festival, T In The Park and the V Festival but these have always been way more mainstream playing a wide range of pop, indie, rock and world music.

So sticking with the rock/metal festival theme; it really does blow my mind just how many more festivals there are to choose from in 2012. Here is a list of the main ones:

Download (formerly Monsters Of Rock)
Sonisphere
Reading/Leeds
Bloodstock
High Voltage
Hard Rock Calling (formerly Hyde Park Calling)
Hammerfest
Damnation
Supersonic (music, art and film)
Ghostfest
Hevy

And I’m sure I will be missing 1 or 2 others……

It seems to me that spread across this huge list of festivals are some insanely good line-ups. Maybe it’s just that there are simply more and more bands to choose from year on year with new bands constantly breaking through on top of the abundance of already established bands. I guess the more music mankind churns out the more platforms we need for showcasing it all year on year.

The main thing that I have really noticed about the current festival circuit is the sheer spread of genres available across the board. Pretty much every style is catered for at one festival or another. Back in the day it was hard to find a festival that could cater for your wide range of tastes let alone fests that were catering for some of the more niche genres. I’m not saying that any one festival currently covers everything as that’s going to be nigh on impossible for somebody that has very wide musical taste but some of them are getting pretty close and if you can afford to go to 2 or 3 fests during the year then you are getting pretty close to seeing everything that you would wish while in a festival environment. Your major fests like Reading/Leeds, Download and Sonisphere cater for a massive array of indie, rock, metal and extreme genres hosting bands of all sizes from new up and comers through to the biggest bands on the planet while smaller more niche fests like Damnation, Bloodstock, Supersonic and Hammerfest cover the more straight up metal, alternative, avant-garde and extreme end of the spectrum. Then High Voltage and Hard Rock Calling do a superb job at catering for the classic rock, prog and AOR fans among us. And for the modern metal, hardcore and extreme metal heads we have the rapidly rising Ghostfest and Hevy festivals.

Also, it’s been noted that the past few years have been the best I’ve known for reformations of classic bands and these reformations are being offered top dollar by festival promoters to bag the exclusive shows and give their festivals top billing. Over the past few years we have had comebacks from Black Sabbath, System Of A Down, Soundgarden, Queen, Faith No More, Alice In Chains, At The Gates, Carcass, The Mars Volta, Refused and many more. These returning big names manage to generate real excitement and buzz for a festival and add a whole new level of excitement to the experience. For a lot of people it will be the first chance they have had to see these legends live and to watch them in a festival environment is a really great experience.

Well, that’s our thought for the day. I guess the past week of great sunshine and warm weather as well as countless festival line-up updates across the online news sites has got my brain switched into festival mode. Maybe I’ll set up a tent in the back garden and start camping out there for the next few weeks listening to loud music and drinking cider.

If anyone notices festivals that we have missed then drop us a comment and let us know.
For reference, you can find out more about all the festivals listed above by visiting their Wikipedia pages here:

Download (formerly Monsters Of Rock)
Sonisphere
Reading/Leeds
Bloodstock
High Voltage
Hard Rock Calling (formerly Hyde Park Calling)
Hammerfest
Damnation
Supersonic
Ghostfest
Hevy

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Clothing is my business… and business is good!


Well, here we are. Our very first Blog post. Feeling a little late to the blogging party to be honest but better late than never I guess!

So, I thought I would use this first post to briefly put down in words why we started this new venture named Eyesore Merch, who we are and where we are going. Hopefully some of you will be interested in what we have to say and what we are doing and if so, check back in occasionally to see what’s new.

Firstly what is Eyesore Merch and when did you start?
We are a new online shop that specialise in the retail of music and entertainment merchandise such as tshirts, hoodies, hats, bags, long sleeves, jackets and all manner of accessories. The idea had been brewing since early 2010 but was not put into motion until September 2011 so I guess we have been officially running about 6 months already. Damn, that went fast!

Why did you start doing this?
First and foremost Eyesore Merch was started through our sheer passion for the music. If we could spend every hour of every day listening to, reading about, watching and generally indulging ourselves in music then we would be very happy people. We do manage to spend a good number of hours a day doing these things but unfortunately there is also the little issue of needing to sleep occasionally so 24 hours a day is not totally possible.

After 8 years in the music industry at a record label it seemed like a good idea to try and go it alone and start our own venture. Recorded music in the form of CDs, vinyl and MP3  is becoming harder and harder to sell and make money from these days but merchandise and live music is still fairly stable even in these times of economic woe. We simply took the music industry experience and skills that we already have and utilised it to start our own music merchandising business.

What styles of music merch do you stock?
Our main passion is for Rock and Metal but we have a very broad range of styles throughout the store. You are going to find merch from bands as big and commercial as The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Queen through to total legends of rock such as AC/DC, Guns n’ Roses and Foo Fighters to metal masters like Iron Maiden, Slayer and Metallica through to the extremity of Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth and Emperor. The range is vast so just dive in and see what you can find.

Where are you heading?
We aim to keep growing our range and keep offering more and more exciting bands, artists and entertainment merchandise whilst all the time striving to reduce prices and offer faster service and better customer service. With luck we will be set up to start hitting the summer festivals in 2013 so that we can take the merch direct to the fans. UK Festivals such as Download Festival, Sonisphere, Bloodstock, Reading/Leeds Festival are all in our sights to begin with but with the hope to branch out into Europe to the likes of Hellfest, Wacken etc down the line.

Where can we find you?
Easy! Point your mouse at this link and click it: http://www.eyesoremerch.com

Who are some of the top bands that you stock?
AC/DC
Aerosmith
Anthrax
Asking Alexandria
At The Gates
Avenged Sevenfold
Beastie Boys
Black Veil Brides
Bon Jovi
Bullet For My Valentine
Bring Me The Horizon
Cannibal Corpse
Coldplay
The Cure
Deep Purple
The Doors
Emperor
Foo Fighters
Green Day
Guns n’ Roses
Iron Maiden
Kiss
Metallica
Napalm Death
Nirvana
Pantera
Pink Floyd
Queen
Slayer
Slipknot
The Beatles

What entertainment merch do you stock?
We currently stock TV/Film/Comic/Video Game and Branded items such as Batman, Superman, Thor, South Park, Peanuts, Family Guy, The Walking Dead,The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn. Charlie Sheen, The Crow, Green Lantern, Judge Dread and many more.
Visit this section of the site for more detailed info: http://eyesoremerch.com/t-shirts

So that’s really about the size of it right now. Its early days for our company but we are having a great time building it. We plan to give you updates on our progress as we go keeping you up to date with exciting new additions to the store, special offers and competitions as well as blog posts on the music we love, in the form of album reviews, gig reviews and general news that we find exciting and feel the need to share with the world.

Thanks for reading, sorry for waffling and please check back soon!

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What we stock:
Mens and Womens Band T-Shirts, Music Tshirts, Film T-Shirts, TV tshirts, Comic T-Shirts, Computer and Video Game shirts, Rock tees, Metal tshirts, Indie T-shirts, Death Metal TShirts, Black Metal tshirts, Thrash Metal tshirts, Grunge Tshirts, Hardcore T-Shirts, Punk tshirts, Hoodies, Hats, Bags, Tank Tops, Vest Tops, Patches, Textile Flags, iPhone Covers, Air Fresheners, Keyrings, Magnets, Mugs, Gloves, Wallets, Belts, Belt Buckles, Caps, Beanies, Badges, Posters, Scarves and much much more….