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Stonedead 2023 was another incredible success. What makes this festival so special? We asked the artists and VIPs...

Stonedead 2023 - Sold out!

Stonedead 2023 was an incredible event. Celebrating its fifth anniversary, the Friday night party saw The Karma Effect, Kira Mac and Myke Gray’s Skin kicking the event off in fine style. Okay, the show may have been temporarily halted due to the fact that we were actually being thunderstruck, but this did nothing to dampen the fans’ spirits. The Saturday main event saw the sun and the heat prevail as Collateral, South Of Salem, Florence Black, Deraps, King King, The Answer, Therapy?, Black Star Riders and finally headliners Blue Oyster Cult all delivered first class sets. 2023 saw the event selling out before the full line up of bands was announced. Why was this?  To quote one specific fan, this festival treats its fans like adults inthat they are allowed and trusted to bring in a reasonable amount of their own alcohol. Additionally, the organisers have worked hard to ensure that all food and beverage prices are kept to reasonable levels, and it has to be said that taking this approach has ensured that fans get to enjoy a full experience and one which goes without incident. But what about the artists? What is it that they think is special about the Stonedead Festival? We have some very important people this very question and here’s what they had to say:

Stonedead 2023
Stonedead 2023

Paul Anthony, Planet Rock

Paul Anthony, Planet Rock
Paul Anthony, Planet Rock

I think mainly what makes it so special is it's arranged by fans, put on by fans and enjoyed by fans. Everybody's on the same page, from the organisers who started small through to what we have today. It's a no brainer because rock fans know what rock fans like, and when you’ve got rock fans actually organising the festival, organising the bands and organising the hospitality it just works on every level. Everyone's on the same page from the start so why wouldn't it work?! And when you’ve got weather like this – touch wood – it just adds to the occasion!

Sam Wood, Black Star Riders

The whole vibe of this is just fantastic! We are very lucky here in the UK in that we’ve seen in the last few years independent festivals popping up and providing another arena for people. Obviously it’s great that we’ve got the Downloads and the Bloodstocks but that’s a totally different level to all of this, whereas festivals like Stonedead, Steelhouse and Call Of The Wild the vibe is always great. At Stonedead, everyone is so lovely, it’s so well put together and it’s really making a name for itself! It’s run by people who care about it. I love this festival!

Black Star Riders
Black Star Riders

Paul Mahon, The Answer 

The Answer
The Answer

I guess because it’s one stage it takes you back to the way festivals used to be, not that I went to many festivals in the 80s, but you think of Donington where it was just one stage and five or six bands and the crowd went to see every band and the band got the fans’ full attention. It’s kind of a step back to that I think. It’s in contrast to a modern festival where you’ve got the main stage, the second stage and all these tents and sometimes you don’t know where to go and there could be a clash with your favourite bands. Stone that is much more focused and you get a sense that the funds are there to see you rather than just be at the festival.

Krusher Joule

The thing about Stonedead is that it’s run by fans, made by fans and is for the fans, and that’s the most amazing thing about this festival. Thank you very much for everyone who comes to it! Rock hard, rock heavy, rock animal!

Andy Cairns, Therapy

Well, Stonedead for us was a no brainer because we were aware of the festival for a start but our agent got in touch and went “Do you want to play Stonedead?”. We knew where it was and it’s not far from where Neil (Cooper) our drummer lives. With The Answer, Black Star Riders and Blue Oyster Cult, we love these bands, but then also what made it was that we like that is ‘one day, one stage, one monster rock show’. That’s what Donington used to be like and that’s what made it special: it was one day and you put everything into that one day. The one thing we found over the 33 years of touring is how bloated festivals have become and a lot of them have lost their original power, I think. And I think if you keep it exciting and concise – that’s what we liked about it. 

Myke Gray

I think ultimately the reason this festival is so far ahead of all the others is that it’s a festival run by fans for fans. The people who look after the bands, they do it in a way which is unprecedented. I can’t think of any time where I’ve ever been treated so well at a festival and I’ve been doing this for 40 years. It’s just that they really care. The level of detail the promoters put to the bands means that when the bands play they feel privileged to be here because they’ve been treated so well. I would say that is the foundation of why this festival is so good. Of course, when you get a happy band they go on stage and it transmits into the audience. Whereas a lot of bands can get treated really badly and so then they go on stage and feel slightly abused sometimes – but this is the complete opposite! We go on stage knowing that we are being looked after and it’s our obligation to transmit that to the audience and then the audience sends it back! It’s a circle and it’s a beautiful thing which I’m very proud to be part of – twice!

Collateral

Jack Bentley-Smith & Angelo Tristan Of Collateral
Jack Bentley-Smith & Angelo Tristan Of Collateral

Jack - It’s one stage, 5000 people, a brilliant crowd and with just everyone up for it!

Angelo – It’s one of those pocket rockets. You get here, you can camp out if you want, get the experience of camping over and then you just fucking get to enjoy it for one day and then get as fucked as you want and that’s it. There’s no like trying to hold yourself for three days. On a three day festival, by the time it comes to Sunday, everyone’s absolutely shattered. Everyone’s on the boat here. But there are so many reasons. We’ve seen pictures from the opening bands over the last five years and then everyone is treated like a multimillion-selling platinum band. It makes you feel like that. As a band ourselves, trust us that when you feel like that and you’re made to feel like that you don’t want to fucking leave!

The opening of the festival...

Enjoy the video footage below of the incredible Collateral taking to the stage with the opening track Big Shot from their self-titled debut album. This was the starting gun to what was an incredible festival!

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