2013 Re-CAP from Jay Chetwynd
Well, where to start? When I put this event together in January, I had been dreaming of it for many years. I had modest expectations from the beginning and knew it would be one Helluva fight to succeed with such an endeavour. But once I commit to something, it is committed. Through financial doubts, some serious illnesses and the fact that I live 1800KM away from the venue... I knew I had a tough, but fun struggle ahead.
My choice to scale the event down to one day must have been pure luck. With the hurricane, if day one had not been cancelled, it could not have happened anyway and could have risked the future of the event. We squeezed 12 bands into one day and did it pay off....? Keep reading.
First people I need to thank is my wonderful lady and my terrific little guy Raven Jett. They ARE my lifeblood, so nothing would have flowed without their inspiration.
The second person I need to thank is Lex Coulstring. I called Lex up and we met over the phone (though I had gone out to support his band before). I explained to Lex the uncertainty of the event's success and Lex made it very clear that his motives were like mine, not financial, but for the pure love/passion for the scene. We mashed our heads together and came up with some great ideas for the posters/websites. Lex's genius put it all together in a presentable fashion and made me really proud of my choice to ask his involvement.
When it became clear that sponsors were going to be tough to find for a HEAVY METAL event, I stepped it up a notch and worked double-time for several months to fund the event from my own pocket entirely. I knew in my head what bands I had in mind for the event, but after making a call for submissions on a Monday, by THURSDAY evening I had received 388 submissions. From Europe, U.S.A., Western Canada and of course, the Maritimes. I could have brought in a "headliner", but it would have increased ticket prices quite a bit and I wanted to prove this event before expecting people to pay lots to get in just because of one headliner. Small steps turn into giant leaps.
Once the bands were confirmed, OF COURSE, a lot of the bands that did not have the chops to be confirmed started working their hardest to bring failure upon the event. Rumours started flying, the hate mail started pouring into my inbox and it became the norm for me to have to deal with nasty, bitter folks everyday. Again... I pressed on. Into NS I flew for a promo run of the Maritimes, distributing a couple thousand posters, with help from friends and bands ( Steve McDonald, Emden Tsaltas, Jake Gracie and many more). It came to my attention during this time that some other "Metal/Hard Rock festivals" had been conceived to happen in the region, so I crossed my fingers, wished the best for these events and hoped to Hell that they would not make my event tougher for folks to take seriously.
EXCLAIM Magazine, The Chronicle Herald, The Coast, We Love Metal.com, radio stations, West Jet, etc. all started approaching me about the festival, so I knew I was onto something good. The word was spreading BIG TIME. But the fight was really just beginning. When I erected some promotional signage in the Valley, which is not cheap stuff considering the time/fuel, materials, etc., I had it brought to my attention that some local bands were going out of their way to destroy these signs, spray-painting my white signs black and my black signs white. Now THAT is commitment, especially since I used a ladder to place those signs. Ahhh, the power of bitterness.
The next time I came to NS, I replaced all of the vandalized signs. Days later, they were vandalized again. But I pressed on. I knew the folks behind the vandalism, but as happens in today's world of no accountability for one's actions, when I addressed the issue, suddenly I was the bully...hehe. Funny how that works. Some humans are programmed to wish failure upon the endeavours of others because they are not brave enough to attempt things they wish they could. I get it, as annoying as it is.
I worked hard through the spring to fine-tune the event and kept my head on my shoulders to maintain modest expectations. My friends helped to fill the voids while I was far away and I cherish all of them for it.
Flash forward to September. I fly into NS and the first week is spent with Kiggy distributing the last 1200 posters and 4000 hand flyers. We met awesome folks on the road and saw the love for music that people still have. By the beginning of the week leading up to MMHRF, the weather forecast was getting SCARY AS HELL. A hurricane.... nice. But I kept my head held high and decided to press on, as those forecasts are rarely correct 100%.
By Saturday morning, things had cleared up, head bangers were starting to arrive at the park and we were ready to rock. The first band on was DARK ENVY. I did not know what to expect, but when I heard the first chord of the first song, my expectations were blown away.
Next up was KONJURER, who I had also booked on blind faith. It paid off in terms of the music. Chris Lewis had also worked very hard to spread the word about the event and when that guy speaks, folks listen. Then HITMAN took a sniper shot at the audience and nailed their target. By the time VICIOUS hit the stage, the crowd was well-primed and aware that they were at the PERFECT PLACE for a Lover of the Loud. Sitting back listening to VICIOUS and watching the fans have fun was a great moment indeed.
At this time, I decided to check in with my merch booth. When I walked in, I thought someone had robbed the place. Almost ALL of the shirts were sold, hoodies were sold out and even merch from my other festival was selling well. I was so happy.
BLACK CITY AVENGER then took the stage and were announced by my friend Evan Richard Banks from Limitless, who sponsored their set. They were the most ROCK band of the event and they tore it up with a crunchy set that made them some new fans. Matt Frizzell from the band had taken advantage of the "sponsorship incentive program" that I had established and the band earned twice as much as expected from the initiative they took in finding presenting sponsors for their set.
Next up was CHAOS THEORY. They were fierce and fun and seeing the crowds' reaction for them was splendid. All the boys in the band were feelin' good and I was feelin' good at the show they put on.
Now, the next band that came on was another blind-booking. Steve MacDonald from HERO'S LAST RITE had worked very hard to spread the word and their video for I AM ATOMIC basically sold me on having them. THEY WERE AWESOME and tore Fox Mountain a new butt hole with their set. Seriously, folks did not know what the Hell had just happened, they just knew it was heavy and awesome.
Thump, Thump, Thump.... like the rumble of a thousand mammoth feet, the sounds of BIG GAME HUNT grabbed the post-dinner crowd and squeezed tightly. Drooping the most F-bombs of any singer...heheh, Jordan Rose made the crowd fully aware who the band was there for.... THE FANS. Then all of a sudden, BIG GAME HUNT magically turned into THE FED PENNIES. The musical transition was seamless and there were was some "double-dipping" going on that many did not get at first. It was pretty cool! Jake Smith and the crew brought their A-game as usual and reminded me that this band is 100% one of the best bands in the Maritimes.
Look up.......WAAAAAAY up. It's the IRON GIANT. It had been a few years since I had brought them to town to open for Priestess. Thought I sure missed seeing P.J., the new unit held their own and blew the roof off the place... well, the sky I guess. It rained for one of their songs and they braved through it without a flinch.
Darkness had fully set-in and it was time for BLACK MOOR. For those in attendance looking for their fix of classic metal.... the boys provided. I got to actually stand in the crowd and enjoy a few tunes and got lost in the metal moment. Those guys mean a lot to me and it is great to see them continuing to carry the torch of Heavy Metal.
The night was capped off with a band that first appealed to me because of the elements of Black Sabbath, Kyuss and early Soundgarden that I detected in their tunes. BROKEN OHMS lit that stage up and had fun. By that time in the night, everyone was feelin' fine and we just went with it. Them busting out a few Sabbath songs to finish their set truly made the evening complete for many.
Now, here is the strangest part of the event. When the bands were done, I expected a MADHOUSE of noise and insanity to ensue for hours and hours. I looked around at there was barely ANY garbage laying around. There were NO people being out of line and I realized that this was the most-respectful crowd of ANY festival on Fox Mountain. I was so happy, I just could not believe how cool everyone was being to each other.
So, I am going to end this now for those that might be bored reading this. I am going to attempt to thank those that helped make this event a pleasant experience for all, but forgive me if I miss anyone. Sleep has been limited since then event and I am eager to get out to enjoy the day with my lady and celebrate my little guy's nine-month birthday. Kevin Guptell, Kiggy, Ed Boulter, Alicia Montague, Chris Anthony, Billy Brown, Jesse Harvey, Heidi Tupper, Brian Dempsey, Lex Coulstring, April Crouse-Sherman, Shane Sherman, John Ellingbo, Ed Boulter, Billi-Jo Tupper, Crystal and Wade, Cheryl Anthony and the canteen crew, Stephen Ruxton, Hants County Metal Promotions, The Collective and Kyle Young, Brad Beardsley and Lance Riswold at T&S, Tammy at Mama Sofia's and her crew, Justin Roy, Metal Mouth Media, We Love Metal.com, Stacey at Sugar Shok Candy Boutique, Rob Graves at Swiss Chalet, Hammerthreads, Fire Fetchits, Black Belt Machete, Limitless, Jenny and Megan Osburn, Neil Tupper, Gary Anthony, the bands and MOST IMPORTANTLY.... YOU, the people that support a small guys' vision and dream.
See you next September at MARITIME METAL & HARD ROCK FESTIVAL 2.
She's only gonna' get bigger and better!!!!! Join us for the ride and let's crank it!