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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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He will be Megadeth's tenth guitarist in the band's thirty year history and he replaces the departed Chris Broderick...

odium CANADA'S ODIUM ISSUE STUDIO UPDATE AND OFFER FREE SONG DOWNLOAD
As the album comes together in the studio, Odium have no plans to slow down on the live performance front...

videscape VIDESCAPE IS THE NEW WAY FOR MUSICIANS TO MAKE MORE MONEY FROM VIDEOS AND AUDIO
VidEscape is perhaps not a site many musicians and bands are familiar with but all that could change in the coming months...

van halen VAN HALEN SHUT DOWN HOLLYWOOD BLVD FOR SPECIAL JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE PERFORMANCE
The band performed a forty five minute set to fans who were given free tickets to attend the outdoor event...

status quo STATUS QUO TO ROCK ROCHESTER CASTLE FOR A RECORD FIFTH TIME
The Quo will perform at the picturesque Norman castle grounds on Wednesday July 15th with support from Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel...

skarlett riot SKARLETT RIOT ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
Dubbed the 'We Will Rise' Tour to promote their new EP, 'We Are The Brave', the band will be joined on the trek by The Raven Age...

whitesnake BREAKING NEWS: DEF LEPPARD/WHITESNAKE/BLACK STAR RIDERS ANNOUNCE DECEMBER UK TOUR
Tickets go on sale at 10.00am on 1st April from Live Nation UK with pre-sale and VIP ticketing information coming soon...

doro DORO CONFIRMED FOR ROCK IN RIO AND ANNOUNCES HUGE EUROPEAN TOUR
"This is amazing and a dream coming true. I think that we might also play my hymn 'All We Are'."...

wasp W.A.S.P. SIGN TO NAPALM RECORDS WITH NEW ALBUM SET FOR RELEASE THIS AUGUST
Almost six years have passed since the world saw a new studio album from Metal icons W.A.S.P...

evil scarecrow EVIL SCARECROW SET OFF FOR 'ROAD TO DOWNLOAD' TOUR
Grab the chance to catch the Nottingham maestros of Metal around the UK before their appearance at Download...

bruce dickinson IRON MAIDEN ISSUE BRUCE DICKINSON HEALTH UPDATE AS NEW PHOTOS OF BRUCE EMERGE
Things are looking very positive concerning the Bruce Dickinson cancer situation...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN TO RECEIVE O2 SILVER CLEF AWARD
The iconic band have won the Outstanding Contribution To UK Music category...

the darkness THE DARKNESS REVEAL FIRST SINGLE 'OPEN FIRE'
The single and the forthcoming album 'Last Of Our Kind' promise an explosion of rock following the band's break ...

thunder THUNDER APPEAR ON WEEKEND WOGAN BBC RADIO SHOW
Thunder's new album 'Wonder Days' went straight into the Top Ten of the UK album charts and they have just completed a highly successful UK tour...

aj pero BANDMATES AND STARS PAY TRIBUTE TO TWISTED SISTER AND ADRENALINE MOB DRUMMER AJ PERO
Pero was on tour with Adrenaline Mob when members of that band were unable to rouse him on their bus on Friday morning...

red dragon cartel RED DRAGON CARTEL NAME MICHAEL THOMAS BECK IN LEAD VOCALIST CHANGE UP
Darren James Smith is out, and a new era begins. The saga continues...

walls of jericho WALLS OF JERICHO ARE ENTERING THE STUDIO
The band will start work shortly on their first full length album since 2008...

beyond forgotton shores DORMANT INFERNO & DIONYSUS ANNOUNCE SPLIT RELEASE 'BEYOND FORGOTTEN SHORES'
India's Transcending Obscurity label produces a Doom Metal double...

icon I.C.O.N SIGN TO METALBOX RECORDINGS
With a follow up album to 'New Born Lie' on the way and an extensive touring schedule, 2015 sees I.C.O.N in full flow...

soldierfield SOLDIERFIELD RELEASE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR 'THE ONLY WAR'
The video is from the latest acclaimed release 'Catharsis'...

serpentine SERPENTINE ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF THEIR ALBUM 'CIRCLE OF KNIVES'
The new studio album contains ten brand new songs from the melodic rock quintet...

rival sons RIVAL SONS HAVE RECORDED EXCLUSIVE RECORD STORE DAY TRACKS
The limited edition 7" contains two previously unreleased songs...

styx STYX RELEASE 'LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS'
The definitive live show is available on DVD, CD, Blu-ray and digital formats...

electric wizard ELECTRIC WIZARD CONFIRM FULL SUPPORTING CAST FOR HEADLINE SHOW AT THE ROUNDHOUSE IN LONDON
The Cosmic Dead, Purson and Moss are added to the May 15th bill...

mike porcaro MIKE PORCARO OF TOTO DEAD AT 59
The rock world was shook again on Sunday morning, March 15th 2015...

sick of it all SICK OF IT ALL LAUNCH NEW VIDEO FOR 'GET BRONX'
"This video serves to show people across the world that as gritty and unpretentious as hardcore music is, it still translates to the big stage and doesn't need a tiny, intimate atmosphere to work..."

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT LAUNCHES 'THE WHEEL'S TURNING' LYRIC VIDEO
"In contrast to the primal and gothic nature of much of the album, 'The Wheel's Turning' has a fun and nostalgic vibe..."

corbitt WARBEAST'S BRUCE CORBITT ISSUES UPDATE FOLLOWING HIS HEART SCARE
Bruce has been undergoing tests and has an important message to share...

enter shikari ENTER SHIKARI ANNOUNCE INTIMATE DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL WARM-UP SHOW
Catch the band at Bristol in June before their slot headlining Download's second stage...

tony iommi TONY IOMMI, NAPALM DEATH AND LAMB OF GOD APPEAL TO INDONESIAN PRESIDENT FOR BALI NINE DUO CLEMENCY
All artists are hopeful that their words will be persuasive and encourage President Widodo to grant clemency...

serpentyne MEDIEVAL FOLK ROCKERS SERPENTYNE UNLEASH NEW VIDEO FOR 'VALKYRIES'
Over the last few years their live show has become quite the spectacle...

tank TANK REVEAL ALBUM ARTWORK FOR 'VALLEY OF TEARS'
"He's injected so much new energy and inspiration into the band since joining us in 2013..."

mike portnoy MIKE PORTNOY IN MEGA "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM" MOMENT AFTER HAVING TO WAIT AT HOSPITAL
However well intended, the post comes across as though he is expecting to jump the queue due to his "status"...

armored saint ARMORED SAINT TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM THIS SUMMER
"There's everything from classic Armored Saint rocker songs to epic songs and we all dug deep deliver something special..."

david gilmour DAVID GILMOUR ANNOUNCES 2015 SHOWS
The dates will coincide with the release of his as yet untitled fourth solo studio album...


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