It had always been a bit of a running theme when Glasto line ups were announced every year and we would search through the 1000s of bands listed and play ‘spot the metal band.’ There was normally 1 or 2 token efforts but it would usually work out at about 0.1% of the entire line up. It seemed mad to us that such a huge genre wasn’t being represented properly at a festival that was famous for being diverse and eclectic. At that point though it was just a conversation, it wasn’t until 2016 when the idea to do our own stage came about. Glastonbury can be an inspiring place to be and a few of us from Earache travelled down that year to watch our band Blackberry Smoke on the Avalon Stage. We were exploring all the mad little stages on the way to Avalon and Dig (Earache founder) mentioned how the anarchic and political vibe reminded him of the early Earache days and going on marches with Napalm Death, Carcass etc. I distinctly remember him turning round and saying: “We should have our own stage at Glastonbury - we belong here”.
The beauty of Glastonbury is, much like Earache, its completely independent. This means they can do whatever they like and if they get presented a good idea that they like they can run with it. It took a bit of persistence but once we’d got our point across about metal/punk/rock being under represented and how we could bring something different to the festival they were totally onboard with it and very welcoming and open minded.
Earache had been asked to represent the world of heavy music on the biggest platform imaginable and so we knew this was a huge responsibility. We also knew we had to smash it out the park if we were going to be invited back for a second year. Our thinking was go big or go home.
Part of the reason for having the stage in 2017 was to celebrate 30 years of Earache Records and so Napalm Death were the first name on the team sheet. Their debut record Scum (MOSH003) was the album that put Earache on the map and its an emphatic opposite of mainstream music so it was perfect. For the rest of the line up we had a variety of Metal / Punk / Rock, ranging from punk legends like Dead Kennedys, Crass’ Steve Ignorant, Sex Pistol’s Glen Matlock , Extreme Noise Terror to some of the most exciting new extreme bands around like Ho99o9, Hacktivist, Wormrot and Heck.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of the bigger bands we approached didn’t seem to keen on the idea of playing inside a tube carriage. I think a few of the agents thought we were taking the piss until we sent them the photos. The thing we had on our side though was these bands, even though some of them are huge, had never been asked to play Glastonbury before and so even though it was a mad stage they wanted to get involved. Just the name ‘Glastonbury’ carries a lot of weight and prestige and bands realise that it is a big deal to play there. Unless you are Metallica or Motorhead, you aren’t getting an invite to Glastonbury and so we were the only way in for a lot of these bands.
We knew 100% that there was a big demand for heavy music at Glastonbury and we were proved right. They had to shut the gates to Shangri La for Napalm Death as the whole field was full to capacity. The Earache Express was ‘1 in 1 out’ the whole weekend with a queue stretching off into the distance. I think this helped our case in getting a bigger venue for 2019.
We never intended this to just be a one-off. We’re trying to start a movement in festival culture – you can no longer call yourselves diverse, eclectric or ‘something for everyone’ and then not have a stage dedicated to Metal. There is a huge demand for it shouldn’t be shunned any longer. Since 2017 more and more festivals have approached us asking us to host stages which just goes to show there is a big appetite for this.
Since Glastonbury 2017 we have gone on to open a brand new stage at Boomtown Fair called: The Earache Factory and had Dead Kennedys, Enter Shikari, Soulfly and IDLES headline and we have also confirmed a takeover at Camp Bestival 2019.
These are just some of the bands we have booked for our stages in the past 2 years:
PHIL CAMPBELL & THE BASTARD
FEED THE RHINO
AT THE GATES
EXTREME NOISE TERROR
STEVE IGNORANT (CRASS)
GLEN MATLOCK (SEX PISTOLS)
EMPLOYED TO SERVE
THE MURDER CAPITAL
SLAVE TO SIRENS
SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT
CHURCH OF THE COSMIC SKULL
BRUTALITY WILL PREVAIL
Summer 2019 is our biggest yet in this heavy music revolution as we take on 3 different festivals:
Glastonbury Festival 2019 (Scum stage in Shangri La + bands on the Turht Stage)
Camp Bestival (Earache takeover in the big top)
Boomtown Fair (The Earache Factory returns for a second year)
We need your help to keep this going into summer 2020! We want to keep put on mindblowing line ups but they cost a huge amount of money. The more donations we have the bigger the line up can be and the more festivals we can invade! Imagine if every metal fan in the country chipped in a quid then we could go MASSIVE with our line ups and invade more festivals with heavy music. So if you are a Heavy Music fan and you'd like to see more heavy music represented at mainstream festival in the UK then donate today. Feel free to mention which bands you'd like us to book for which festival and we might go and do it!