I lost my Desertfest virginity to the second Desertfest ever in 2013. The first thing that happened to my partner and I as we watched the Black Sabbath-channeling Kadavar tear up the Jazz Cafe was befriending a Canadian band called Chron Goblin. We spent the rest of the festival drinking/ smoking/ headbanging with these guys, who we still call our long distance and much loved friends. Maybe we were lucky, but for me it cemented Desertfest as a safe haven for heavy metal, doom, sludge and stoner fans to come to the home of rock in London, Camden Town, and have an incredible time.
The Chron Goblin boys weren't the only friends we made. The atmosphere at Desertfest has always been (in my experience) one of unending enthusiasm, inebriation and an incredible appreciation of what is still a minority genre. City-based festivals can be touch and go, but Desertfest has always been an awesome time and is now a staple of my summer circuit.
This year I'll be visiting Desertfest for the first time as Raw Meat's editor; absorbing as much music (and smoke) as possible. Before it all kicks off once more though, I asked the mastermind and promoter of Desertfest London, Reece Tee how it all comes together.
Raw Meat: How do you go about choosing acts out of all the amazing bands out there? You get such a great range of the huge and the upcoming. Also if you had to choose a favourite act they’ve ever had play, who was it?
Reece: Desertfest is all about pushing the underground scene, not just relying on the usual suspects but using our knowledge to mix the big names with the breakthrough bands. I really love the idea of people watching bands at larger festivals, having seen them a few years before at Desertfest. It’s all about passion for music and we have it in abundance, I’m never bored of finding these new bands and the thrill of booking one of your all time favourites is just amazing.
Each year we have had great headliners and each one is special to me as they meant so much at the time. In our first year in 2012, Orange Goblin’s support for the project really helped get the fest off the ground, and it’s an honour to have had them back again for 2014. Then in 2013, getting Unida out of hibernation to fly over and play was a dream come true, and for Garcia to talk with us and understand it’s a festival that is driven for a love of music was very important to him.
In 2014, I think we really pushed the boundaries of what we can do. Kvelertak are not a straight up stoner or doom band, you can’t really categorise them, but in my opinion it was one of the best festival atmospheres we have ever had.
Now, this year we have gone back to our roots and pulled some of the best names in stoner, doom and sludge together. I say this every year but this is the best one yet!
We'll let you know who we're most excited about seeing in the coming months, but for now enjoy Red Fang - 'Wires' (booked for Desertfest 2015) and start growing your hair.
Featured image is Chron Goblin at Desertfest 2013.