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DESERTFEST 2013

From 26th - 28th April, Camden will see four of it's venues opened up to what can be described as Stoner Rock's answer to The Great Escape.

"Desertfest is back, it’s bigger, it’s badder and it’s ready to tear you guys a new one!"
 
The UK's biggest celebration of Stoner, Desert Rock & Doom has returned for a second year. With more venues, heavier bands and a hell of a lot of hard rock promise. Not only have they put together an excellent lineup featuring the likes of Unida (lead by John Garcia of Kyuss, Slo Burn, & Hermano), Pentagram, Colour Haze, Yawning Man & Ufomammut, but they've even got two classic Stoner Rock bands to reform. Lowrider and Dozer have taken to arms once again, especially for Desertfest, and it's little touches of unique quality like this that will make it a must on the alternative music calendar.
 
DESERTFEST 2013
Livemusic thought the best way to introduce you, dear reader, to Desertfest is through an interview with promoter Reece Tee. So read on, and then head to http://thedesertfest.com/ to pick up your tickets!
 
Firstly, please tell us a little bit about yourself/yourselves, who are you, what's your background?
I am Initially just a music fan with a love of stoner and desert rock, I'm in a band called Steak and run a festival business that works on all of the major UK festivals. We started promoting shows in 2009 with Truckfighters and that side of things just grew from there. The festival business gives me pretty good understanding of how the process works, it's not an exact science and I have seen the big promoters lose a shed load of cash on getting the line up wrong
 
What made you start DesertFest, considering Desert Rock / Stoner Rock and all it's sub genres are arguably shrinking in popularity? Or is this something you feel is not true?
I would probably tend to disagree with this view that the scene is shrinking. I feel over the last few years it's growing. More promoters putting on shows, more people attending these shows and more bands emerging and finding some success. I think the word 'stoner rock' was a dirty one years ago, with anyone calling themselves a stoner rock band being slated by the music press for being a Kyuss cover band. That has changed now and there is much more respect for this type of stuff. We also work with a lot of doom bands and that scene has never been stronger in my opinion.
 
What are your favourite artists, either in the scene or not?
I always like to give Truckfighters a shout as they was the first band we promoted and we still work closely together on stuff. Another band that helped the festival in the first year was Orange Goblin and it's great to see them do so well recently. My favourite band varies from one week to another. I listen to lots of music so when I find something I like, I rinse it out until I can't listen any more. My latest victim is Wo Fat!
 
DESERTFEST 2013
How do you go about curating the lineups for DesertFest?
Start with a blank piece of paper and think shit, how are we going to do better than last year. I pretty much start with my fantasy festival line up regardless of what obstacles are in the way, then do everything I can to try and get them. This year there was no way I thought we could get Lowrider and Dozer to reform for exclusive shows at Desertfest but somehow it happened. 
 
Is it better for a festival of this kind to be set in Venues in a city other than a big open field?
I have always like the idea if a metal street festival. One of our slogans for Desertfest is 'Rock n Roll is taking back Camden'. I love it when I see a load of metal heads descend on the place for the weekend, like we are taking over. Maybe there is room in the future for an open air version but it would need to be very different due to the cost. We would need bigger bands to bring in more people and you have lost the unique atmosphere that we have at Desertfest. A summer Desertfest Open Air is a possibility although I would never move away from what we do in Camden in the spring.
 
Who would you perfect festival headliners be, past and present? 
I could list so many here. The line up we have this year I am really happy with and believe it will be one of those line ups that people will look at in years to come and say how amazing it is. You won't see Pentagram, Unida, Dozer, Lowrider all together anywhere again. There are still some great names to get to the festivals so hopefully in the future we will see Clutch and Fu manchu together!
 
DESERTFEST 2013
How much has the festival grown this year?
It was a sell out show last year so we decided to double the capacity and add the electric ballroom  and jazz cafe to the venues. It gave us a bigger artist budget and opened up to a few bigger bands. We couldn't have had Pentagram or Unida the way the festival was structured last year.
 
The line-up is really quite strong already, who are you most excited about seeing and do you have any more surprises up your sleeve?
We have quite a few bands to announce. People are now complaining that there are too many good bands announced and the clashes are going to be painful. As a promoter this means we have done a good job and we are doing our best with scheduling to make sure the clashes are to a minimum. 
 
What does the future hold for the festival?
I think we can keep the size of the festival to the size of this years for a couple of years now. It really needs to be selling out really early before we expand. I like the idea of expanding to more venues in Camden but will have to see how it goes. We already partner with Berlin and we are looking at other possible Deserfests!
Posted 6th February by johnbeyer
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