Lynne, this will be the 9th SOS festival, can you give us the reason why you started it; was it purely to showcase Rocksector signed bands.
The festival was started to showcase local , Rocksector and up and coming bands. Manchester at that time didn’t have its own summer festival and we were working with the Civic at that time putting on events such as the Helloween Ball and other rock nights. It was my idea to put an all day festival on and it seemed to take off, with Heavens Basement headlining our first one and has now expanded into a three day festival.
I feel that a festival needs great beer and good food all reasonably priced to help it succeed, the festivals original venue, Radcliffe Civic Hall provided all this and more, I take it you had a very good working relationship with them and this obviously helped when you needed to find the SOS festival a new home this year, when out of the blue the council decided to re-develop the Civic Hall area for housing.
Sadly the civic is being demolished this year to make way for affordable housing, but we have moved only a short distance away to the Longfield suite in Prestwich. It has lots more to offer such as Air conditioning and the town is beautiful with lots of bars, hotels and restaurants. The Longfield will be providing beer offers and reasonably priced food also for SOS fest, we have a good working relationship with the staff and they always deliver.
Is this new venue, the Longfield Suite in Prestwich going to be the SOS fesstvals new permanent home, or is it too early to tell?
We’ll have to see what the regulars think of it. We love to hear feedback. We have had offers from other venues to hold the festival in Manchester town centre, but we would like to keep it in the suburbs as the festival is a for all the family and the town centre venues are mainly 18+.
The death of Dean Hocking ( bass player in Nightvision ) came as a shock to everybody, I take it was a no-brainer in re-naming stage 1 the The Dean Hocking stage?
We loved Dean, he was such a character, he would light up the room when he walked in. We had belly laughs at his antics. It was a sad day when he passed away so yes it was a no brainer to name the stage after him.
Do you think people fully understand just how hard it is to put on a festival?
We do have a solid bunch of family and friends who help us every year at SOS fest. From putting posters up, handing flyers out at other festivals. It is hard work, promotion and organising starts at least 12 months before the festival actually kicks off.
Your two sons Chris and Luke also put a lot of work into the running of the festival on the day do they all know who’s the boss.
I’m the boss LOL. Yes they all help although Luke won’t be there this year, as he will be in Germany performing at Bang Your Head fest with Iced Earth, he will be helping before hand with promo though.
Each year the standard of bands playing gets higher and higher, do you think it is because the bands now give the festival a lot more respect than maybe they did in the early days?
We get thousands of bands apply each year as the festival grows, we don’t actually go looking for bands they come to us. I think SOS fest is more established on the festival circuit these days, the bands want to play it, the press want to attend it and fans want to see good bands play it. It’s a no brainer as its cheap as chips too, we don’t actually run this to make us rich, we hold this to have a good time. Its like a big three party We urge rock and metal fans to come and find your next favourite band as the old guys won’t be around for much longer!
What are you planning for the 10th one?, will it be extra special, a big international band or maybe the return of the 1st festival’s headline band: Heaven’s Basement?
We have started booking bands for the 10th anniversary, it will be extra special so watch this space.
SOS FESTIVAL :3 day Indoor Rock & Metal festival. July annually @ Radcliffe Civic Hall, North Manchester. WWW.SOSFESTIVAL.NET
Bookings / PR Manager
Rocksector Records (independent record label)
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