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  INTERVIEW WITH DAVE RITCHIE, FOUNDER AND ORGANISER OF LES-FEST

Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid.

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les-fest

With the third annual Les-Fest (Scotland's only award winning Rock and Metal festival) just weeks away, MetalTalk caught up with the festival's director and all round good guy Dave Ritchie to see how the festival is shaping up.

Firstly I asked Dave how preparations for Les-Fest 2014 going?

Dave: "We are getting there! It has been a much longer process this time around partly because up until the end of February we didn't know we were on the move and secondly because there are so many pieces of infrastructure to bring in to the new site."

Article continues below...

 
 


So, how many tickets have been sold and how many are still available?

Dave: "We were working on a licence based on the site used for the previous two festivals so we can't sell a huge amount this year. At the last count there are about fifty weekend tickets, less than one hundred single day tickets and a couple of hundred camping tickets. We are well ahead of where we were at this point last year, though."

The festival is at a new site this year, so how much added work have you had since the venue change was announced?

Dave: "Too much! This year the festivals being held on what is essentially a green field site, so we need to bring in marquees, lights, staging, sound systems, generators, fuel tanks, floodlights, fencing, toilets, showers, caterers, bars, signage and much more. To be honest, the list is so long I have forgotten half of it but come the start of the festival, everything will be in place."

les-fest

For those who use public transport, is the new venue easily accessible for those without a car?

Dave: "In many ways, being the type of festival that it is and with a large number of people camping we have to hold it in a rural location, but perversely even though we are now further out into the country, the transport links are far better! There are coaches to and from Edinburgh, Dumfries, Ayr and Lanark that pass within a few hundred yards of the entrance to Wiston Lodge itself.

"For those who are coming from Glasgow and the west coast, you can take a train to Lanark and from there, it's just a 20 minute bus ride and then a short walk once you're off the bus. For those who are not sure, all the details are on the official Les-Fest website – just click on 'Location' on the main page and you'll find all the details including a postcode for a satellite navigation system for those who are driving there, a link to the Scotrail website for those who need to buy train tickets and bus timetables for services running to and from Lanark, Edinburgh and Dumfries."

As in the past, will the main stage be enclosed this year?

Dave: "With people buying tickets in good faith well in advance and also being used to the luxury of a covered venue over the past two years, we felt there was no option other than to set up the main stage within a marquee this year. Yes, the weather can be a bit unpredictable but this way if it does turn out to be a bit wet, everyone can stay dry and if the weather, as we expect it will be, is fair then we can take the sides off the marquee and everyone can sit in the sun and watch the bands."

Is the plan to make Les-Fest an open air festival from 2015 onwards?

Dave: "We have always maintained that the third year of the festival would be crucial. If people come out again and support the event then it should really establish the festival on the UK summer festival circuit. Once that is the case then we have plans to take the main stage outdoors.

"I have already looked into staging for next years event which will give us greater production opportunities, for example, there should be more scope for the bands to use bigger lights and pyrotechnics, and we're confident that that in turn would attract larger bands so we could increase the capacity at the festival from a coupe of hundred to a couple of thousand. That's all in the future, though, so our minds are currently concentrating on this year's festival"

les-fest

Will there one main campsite only?

Dave; Yes, there will be one main campsite, a family campsite and an artist campsite. To be fair they are all roughly in the same area but they will be segregated."

How far is the walk from the campsite to the main stage arena?

Dave: "From the campsite entrance to main arena entrance it's only about two hundred yards, so not very far at all!"

Will there be band signing tables at this year's event?

Dave: "We have a host of ideas planned including signing and photo opportunities, trade stands, a larger back stage and press area, so you will really see the event developing this year compared to previous events. We have a few things still to confirm but it's all looking like it's going to be a very exciting weekend for the bands and for those attending it."

How many bars will there be?

Dave: "At the last count, three. That includes the main arena bar which will be selling cider, lager and shorts as well as a selection of locally brewed ales including the our very own branded ale for the weekend, 'Wiston Whistle Wetter' which is brewed by Sulwath Breweries based in Castle Douglas. There'll also be a Jagermeister Ice Cold Shot Bar and a smaller bar near the CackBlabbath sponsored acoustic stage, so there's a great range of refreshments, and something to suit everyone."

les-fest

Keeping with the theme, I ask what types of on-site catering will be available?

Dave: "Wiston Lodge themselves offer excellent vegan, vegetarian and health food options but we will also have award winning pizza, coffee, cakes and if you don't fancy any of that, there will be home made burgers, pasta, noodles, baguettes, breakfast rolls and many other culinary options. More importantly these outlets will be open early morning and until after the main stage closes, so you can still get a bite to eat after midnight. The caterers really are top class and very reasonably priced too."

Are there campsite rules regarding campfires?

Dave: "The main campsite is on a field that is farmland for the other eleven months of the year, so we cannot allow any fires or BBQs at all and we'll be very strict in enforcing this rule. What we will do, however, is we'll set aside a specific area for BBQs and there will be a fire pit in the main arena and at the Tipi site."

How many toilets/showers will there be?

Dave: "We don't believe we have had issues with toilet numbers in the past, it was just unfortunate that they were not serviced properly. We have addressed that issue this year, however, so as well as being a number of toilets at the lodge itself, there will a portable toilet/shower block over at the camping area plus another set of toilets and urinals over at the main arena and in the backstage area. We will also make sure that these are serviced daily! (smiles)"

When does the campsite open and when does it have to be vacated by?

Dave: "The site will be open from 8:00am on Friday 27th June so you can get there early and be all set up and ready for the first bands onstage. As a rule, everyone has to leave the site by 12 midday on Monday 30th June which should be more than enough time".

As we bring our chat to an end, Dave sums everything up by telling me: "To be honest, I think for those people who have never been to Les-Fest before, they will see a really good ‘boutique' festival developing and for those that have been to past events, they will see a stunning new setting. We intend to grow and develop the festival at Wiston for many years to come and I've spoken to the owners at great length about what I want to achieve, and I'm happy to say that we're all working towards the same goal – making Les-Fest bigger and better each year."

les-fest

Les-Fest is being held at Wiston Lodge, South Lanarkshire between Friday 27th - Sunday 29th June and tickets, which are selling fast, are currently available from the official Les-Fest website.

The full confirmed line up for Les-Fest 3:

Les-Fest 2014 Main Stage Line Up (in alphabetical order):
Bacchus Baracus
Bad Touch
Bleed From Within
Cambion
Crash Mansion
Cypher 16
Deadly Circus Fire
Defy All Reason
Demonic Resurrection
Disposable
Dog Tired
Falling Red
Fahran
Fireroad
Fury
GutterGodz
Haerken
House of X
Incassum
Incinery
Inferno
Martyr de Mona
Mask of Judas
Massive Wagons
Nexilva
No Sin Evades His Gaze
Reign of Fury
Sa-da-KO
Savage Messiah
Signed in Crimson
Spill 16
Spirytus
Stormbringer
Skreamer
The Burning Crows
The Dirty Youth
The King Lot
The Wild Lies
Vantage Point
Voodoo Vegas
What's The Damage?!
When Our Time Comes

Les-Fest 2014 Cackblabbath.com Stage Line Up (in alphabetical order):
Bad Touch
Black and White Boy
Captain Horizon
Christie Connor-Vernal
Cloustopia
Curran
Incassum
Inferno
Pat McManus Band
Static Rock
Steel Threads

Les-Fest Online:
Official Website: www.les-fest.co.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LesFest

Thanks very much to Dave Ritchie for taking time out of his hectic schedule to talk to me.

Dave Ritchie photo - (c) Dave Ritchie 2014
Wiston Lodge photo - (c) Johnny Main 2014


29.5.2014






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panzer PANZER STREAMING LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'THE LAST MAN ON EARTH'
Brazilian thrash/stoner act Panzer have just released a new lyric video on for the second track of the album 'Honor'...

bush BUSH ANNOUNCE OCTOBER 20th RELEASE FOR 'MAN ON THE RUN'
Multi-platinum alt-rock band Bush have announced an October 20th release date for their highly anticipated new album...

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'LIVE FOR THE FIGHT'
The video features Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) who is playing bass for the band on the forthcoming European Tour...

giants of rock GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL: FIRST BANDS ANNOUNCED
The reformed Family and pomp rockers Magnum will headline the event...

weapon uk ESTRELLA TO SUPPORT GILBY CLARKE ON TOUR AND ANNOUNCE A NEW SINGLE
The band are currently gearing up for a thirteen date trek with Clarke that includes dates in Wakefield, London and Edinburgh...

weapon uk WEAPON UK ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR NOVEMBER
Weapon UK have tour dates confirmed in support of their critically acclaimed album 'Rising From The Ashes'...

amulet AMULET DEBUT ALBUM 'THE FIRST' RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER: FIRST TRACK NOW ONLINE
The album track 'Mark Of Evil' has just been uploaded to Soundcloud. Raise your fists and bang your heads on this one...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER'S GUITARS STOLEN FROM GERMAN RECORDING STUDIO
German police are examining evidence and the studio for fingerprints and DNA evidence to help catch the criminals...

jimi jamison JIMI JAMISON OF SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY AGED 63
Jimi Jamison, lead singer of Survivor, very sadly passed away on Sunday night...

distorted harmony DISTORTED HARMONY UNLEASH FOOTAGE FROM 'CHAIN REACTION LIVE!'
The Tel Aviv quintet are looking forward to bringing their show to Europe this November...

ensiferum ENSIFERUM TO BEGIN RECORDING SIXTH STUDIO ALBUM NEXT MONTH
"We are convinced that this will be a ground breaking album for us and the whole genre. Modesty? What's that?"...

les-fest wildfire LES-FEST WILDFIRE ANNOUNCES FURTHER ACTS FOR SUMMER 2015
Max Raptor, Anihilated and more join the stellar array of main stage bands...

mystery deeexpus THE HOUSE OF PROGRESSION & THE MERCH DESK PROUDLY PRESENT MYSTERY & DeeEXPUS LIVE
It's a night of Prog at The Borderline on Tuesday 9th September, one of three chances to see this unique pairing...

butcher babies BUTCHER BABIES ANNOUNCE DETAILS FOR UPCOMING 'UNCOVERED' EP
The breakthrough Metal act have chosen five of their favourite tracks to get a makeover...

avenged sevenfold AVENGED SEVENFOLD RELEASE NEVER BEFORE SEEN ORIGINAL VIDEO FOR 'UNHOLY CONFESSIONS'
Take a fresh look at the 2004 track taken from the essential 'Waking The Fallen: Resurrected'...

reckless ambition RECKLESS AMBITION AND DIRTY LIONS TO PLAY THE ROCK PATCH THIS SATURDAY
Anyone who hasn't seen Reckless Ambition, then you are in for a real treat...

meshuggah MESHUGGAH ANNOUNCE 25TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS IN EUROPE
Celebrate 25 years of musical deviance on this tour which includes a date a London's Roundhouse...

mr big MR. BIG CHANGE RELEASE DATE FOR NEW ALBUM "...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL"
The original line-up are back with some of their most powerful material to date and their signature hard rock sound...

well eavy 'WELL 'EAVY - VOL. 1' COMPILATION TO BE RELEASED BY HANGMAN - AMULET'S OWN LABEL
Get down to the free entry release party in Camden on 29th August...

slipknot DEF LEPPARD TO PERFORM NFL PRE-GAME SHOW AT FIRST LONDON NFL GAME OF 2014
Joe Elliott: "I know what the atmosphere in the ground is like for 'our' football so I'm really looking forward to performing there before the NFL game..."

slipknot SLIPKNOT REVEAL NEW ALBUM AND TOUR INFORMATION
'.5: The Gray Chapter' will be released on October 21 followed by US dates with Korn...

hard rock hell HARD ROCK HELL 8 ANNOUNCES MORE ACTS
The Vintage Caravan, Blue Pills, Horisont, Spiders and Santa Cruz have been added to the line up for November...

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