CALL OF THE WILD FESTIVAL PREVIEW

GARETH ENDEAN

 

Festival goers really have never had it so good. Alongside the big hitters it seems like there is an endless choice of smaller, more intimate festivals popping up around the country. And as the weather heats up festival fever really starts to take hold. One of the newest festivals on the scene also happens to be one of the first of the summer, so we at DTFM thought it was only fair to have a chat with the organisers, Dave and Raz to see why we should don our trusty wellies-and-combat-shorts combo and head to Lincoln for the inaugural CALL OF THE WILD, and what was behind the decision to put on a brand new festival.

“For me it was very much a progressive step from the Rockmantic Weekender that I have organised for nearly 8 years,” states Raz, “it's always been my intention to build an outdoor event but I also needed to find the right partnership because it's a huge task to get it right, and too many people try, for the right reasons, but fail drastically, causing harm to bands and the trust of genuine gig goers who work hard to buy tickets.”

 
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“We have all seen so may fail in recent years,” continues Dave, “generally because most people don’t realise what is involved, poor sales get blamed, but it is so much more than that. We have both done events AND festivals before, so we felt it was time to take the next step for us.”

Although this is the first CALL OF THE WILD it’s clear that the organisers are not novices, even so putting on an event of this magnitude - 3 stages, 3 days of music and over sixty bands across those days - has been an eye opener. Eight months ago, Raz admits he would have classed himself as experienced “but now, knowing what really goes into this size of event I'd say no.”

“Sure, I have experience in lots of areas of the music industry from tour booker, management, promoter and small events, but without the added guidance of Dave & then Lee Byrne coming on- board as Event Manager, this would never have grown to scale we can now offer.”

And what they can offer is really rather impressive. They have assembled a hell of a line up. Established rock legends THE WILDHEARTS, cult heroes HARDCORE SUPERSTAR and exciting up and comers THE VIRGINMARYS are the headline acts and they’re ably supported by a who’s who of the best bands on the scene right now. The likes of TAX THE HEAT, THOSE DAMN CROWS, TRUCKER DIABLO and WITCH TRIPPER will all be appearing as well as DTF faves like PSYCHOBABYLON, TANTRUM and THEIA.

“We are so proud of what we have achieved with this line-up, how could we not be, now we’ve just gotta get ‘em all on stage!” laughs Dave. “The target for me personally was THE VIRGINMARYS, I have known them for years, love what they do and how they do it, I also know how much they have suffered for it. One of the 1st things I ever said to Danny was “One day, I will have you guys headline an event with me”. It only took about 8 years, but here we are!”

Raz continues: “The early stage of this festival we planned to cap at 500 and Dave booked his friends THE VIRGINMARYS, who I also am a huge fan of and have been for many years. I saw them open for GUN in Langholm and they blew me away. I had already spoken to a few bands including BULLETS & OCTANE and KICKIN’ VALENTINA, so we thought that was about our level for year one. However, once we had to move location and were blessed with getting Lincolnshire Showground, Dave and I thought let's aim as high as we can afford to. THE WILDHEARTS have always been my dream band to headline anything outdoor I got involved in, so we just went for it. HCSS has also been a dream come true. To bring them over for their only UK appearance in 2019 is just amazing. Again, a band I've followed since day one. Love them!”

Or as Dave puts it: “Raz and I both love THE WILDHEARTS, so we figured, feck it...nothing to lose, let’s go ask them to play...”

 
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What’s also noticeable about the line-up is the broad spectrum of rock that will be on show. Bands playing classic rock, stoner metal, punk and everything in between will be at the festival. 

“The diverse line up was something myself and Dave consciously arranged, and the addition of local Badlands Festival stage was the icing on top. We've already got our sights set on some big names for 2020 and our intention is to develop COTW steadily over first 5 years.”

But who at this event are they most looking forward to seeing?

For Raz it’s “all [the] headliners and sub headliners, KICKIN’ VALENTINA are a must. HANDS OFF GRETEL, THE HUMAN PROJECT, DUCKING PUNCHES... it's pretty endless to be honest. One band that has really stood out for me personally are MISS VINCENT on the Badlands stage. Early slot Friday but a must see.”

And for Dave, “aside from headliners I am particularly excited to see what A JOKERS RAGE are going to do on that main stage, TOMORROW IS LOST is a no brainer, HANDS OFF GRETEL and THOSE DAMN CROWS, LORDS OF RUIN on Friday are a must see.”

While they are clearly proud and excited about the fantastic selection of bands they have assembled this year, they’re not resting on their laurels plans for 2020 are already underway. And they certainly don’t lack ambition, asked who their ideal headliner is they both plump for METALLICA, however they’re a little more realistic when discussing next year’s plans.

“Looking short term we're talking about bands such as THE OFFSPRING, POISON, SLASH, SOCIAL DISTORTION, L.A. GUNS or MICHAEL MONROE. We've got lots of ideas but it will depend on what cycle the bands are on regarding touring or recording. 2020 will be much bigger than this year, that's for sure!”

Their ambition and enthusiasm for the event, both this year and in the future, is the driving force behind what promises to be a fantastic weekend, but despite their ambitions their basic plan is a simple one as Dave explains, “we are just about bringing good music, great bands to as many like-minded people as possible, we are not interested in bullshit, our focus is a great weekend (in the sun hopefully)” and while there’s not a lot they can do about the weather, it sounds like they’ve got everything else under control. This is no mean feat considering the amount of work that goes into planning an event of this size and the pressure they are both under. 

“Remember that we are all fans of these bands first and foremost,” explains Dave, “so we need to get it right for them as much as ourselves, probably more so actually, a lot of the fans that will come to the festival are our friends, so we need to get it right for them, then there are their friends, so what really weighs on my mind with all of this is the level of trust so many people have in us to deliver a top notch event.”

“None of us had any idea how much work this would involve,” continues Raz, “and we went in eyes wide open with some experience. We just hope we get it right for lots of music fans.”

In truth, to the outsider these concerns seem unfounded, they’ve already put together a stunning line up, they clearly know what the fans want and are working hard to ensure everyone has a great time at what looks like being the most exciting addition to the festival calendar for quite some time. And it’s not just great music you lucky people can expect from COTW. As Raz says there’s also “great toilet and shower blocks! A friendly but very secure environment with a huge range of food stalls and market stalls. Professional bar set up and short distance from parking to tent. Disabled access and platforms...”

“Yup,” interjects Dave, “all of that AND Cloven Hoof cocktails!”

And if that isn’t enough to wet your whistle for the first ever CALL OF THE WILD FESTIVAL, then frankly I don’t know what is?

 

CALL OF THE WILD takes place on the 24th-26th May at the Lincolnshire Showground, Lincoln

For more info and tickets go here:

https://callofthewildfestival.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/CallOfTheWildFestival/