hmv previews… Hit The Deck Festival
Throughout the year, we're going to be bringing you a comprehensive preview of the summer's best festivals. This week it's the rocking double header monster, Hit The Deck…
Nottingham and Bristol, at a series of venues across both cities.
Bristol on Saturday April 19th, Nottingham on Sunday April 20th. Fortunately, it's a big holiday Monday the next day.
How did last year go?
Very well, the festival had expanded from Nottingham to include Bristol and it did so seamlessly. It also featured top notch sets from the likes We Are The In Crowd, Never Shout Never, We Are The Ocean and Feed The Rhino.
One whopping exclusive festival headliner in the shape of seminal alt rockers Brand New. Aside from that it's a solid line-up of punk, pop-rock, hardcore and metal crews.
Who else is playing this year?
Saves The Day, Neck Deep, The Blackout, Kids In Glass Houses, Save Your Breath, The Maine, The Summer Set, The Word Alive and lots more…
£32.50 for a standard ticket (that's with entry to the after party, they're £27.50 without), £50 for VIP, seems fair enough.
hmv talks to Amy Lawson, promoter of Hit The Deck Festival…
For those who don't know, how would you describe Hit The Deck as a festival? What kind of bands do you book and who goes?
"It’s an indoor alternative festival stretched over loads of venues in Nottingham and Bristol. We wanted to create a festival with something for everyone within the alternative scene. We’ve had all sorts of bands and artists through the last few years including Deaf Havana, Of Mice and Men, Underoath, Cancer Bats, While She Sleeps, We Are The In Crowd, Don Broco, and even amazing acoustic performances from Vinnie Caruana (The Movielife) and Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Rival Schools). We try to create a diverse festival that everyone would enjoy going to."
How did 2013's Hit The Deck Festival go? Were you happy with things?
"It was our first year of launching the festival in Bristol, which was great. To see the festival grow over the years has made me very proud and we wanted to make sure we step up our game each year."
Last year you added a date in Bristol as well as a date in Nottingham, why did you choose Bristol? Did it work well as a location?
"Our sister Festival Dot to Dot is already established in Bristol. DHP (HTD promoters) also own the Thekla and I book loads of great shows in the city so we know what a great place it is. So it seemed like the natural step for us to grow as there was no similar festival in Bristol."
What changes have you made for 2014? Anything we should look out for in terms of layout or new additions?
"2013 worked really well so there’s no point in fixing something that isn’t broken. However now we have established the festival in both cities we can try a few new things to add to the overall festival experience. Look out for some intimate Acoustic shows dotted about both cities!"
You've bagged Brand New as a headliner, how difficult were they to secure?
"I knew they we’re going to be in the country over that period so I approached them and gave them some information about the ethos of the festival and they really liked the idea. It’s a great booking as I’ve always wanted them to play and it’s an honour to have them closing out both cities. It always helps when you love the band as well!"
Last year you booked Don Broco and We Are The In Crowd to headline, why have you gone for a more established act this year?
"There are a lot of smaller festivals popping up all over the UK and we wanted to step up our game. It was a great success last year with the launch of the Bristol Site and we knew we had to book the bands the festival deserves."
Tell us about the rest of the bill, who are you most excited to see?
"I’m obviously very excited to see Brand New! However there’s going to be loads of great stuff across all the venues that I can’t wait to see. I’m really looking forward to getting a bit nostalgic with Saves the Day, Hawthorne Heights and Kristopher Roe. There’s also loads of newer acts that are going to blow people away including Neck Deep, Nai Harvest, Gnarwolves and Hands Like Houses. We have a little for everyone like The Blackout, Kids In Glass Houses, The Maine and for the heavier fans we have Brutality Will Prevail, Memphis May Fire, The Word Alive and Dead Harts and also few other later announcements which are going to be brilliant!"
As you now have dates in Bristol and Nottingham, are you looking to add more locations? Perhaps a date in Scotland or Wales?
"We’re not currently looking for anywhere else at the moment but in the future who knows. The more the festival expands and harder we work the bigger it’s going to get. We try and step it up every year to give people something they will remember and enjoy."
Finally, if you could book any band in the world to headline Hit The Deck, who would you book?
"I think I cracked it this year with Brand New as they’re one of my favourite bands but I definitely wouldn’t say no to the Foo Fighters or Fall Out Boy!"