Stonedead Festival

Friday 26th and Saturday 27th August 2022

Newark Showground, Nottinghamshire

Could the festival that keeps getting better, get any better? With their fifth event, featuring a lineup of Revival Black, Massive and Black Spiders on Friday night, and Saturday featuring Blues band These Wicked Rivers, Kicking Valentina, Tygers of Pan Tang, The Treatment, H.E.A.T, Stone Broken, Vandenberg, Those Damn Crows and Michael Schenker Group. Although, I'm not going to go into an in-depth review of each band and their set list but a simple review of the festival itself!

To cut to the chase, yes it was the best Stonedead I have been to, although due to work, I have only been to two. As one of the photographers there, you meet many people; and those I spoke to who have been to three, four and even all of them, all said the same. So, what makes it different, what does Stonedead have that others don’t?

I think it boils down to the fact it is not a business, in the sense of making as much money as possible from the punters, i.e. fleecing them for merchandise, food and beer prices. Everything is reasonably priced and kept as low as possible. This year, beers and Guinness (ice cold too) were £4.90. I am a Guinness drinker and I pay £4.40 in my local in Teesside. Anyone travelling up from London must have thought they were in Spain with the cheap beer prices! Food was about on par with other festivals between £7-£10 per meal, but portions are a good size. And as for merchandise, about £5 per tee shirt cheaper than others.

Louise, Neil and Chris, the festival directors, are seasoned veterans of many festivals, and they will have heard the moans and groans of their fellow Metalheads!Armed with this knowledge and experience, it is my opinion that they are doing their damnedest to make sure those groans don’t make it to Newark. The choice of location is well thought out, a flat open ex-airfield with grassy areas between runways. Some good size buildings for offices and media. Easy access at about one mile from the A1.

Car park to tent? Download maybe well over a mile, Bloodstock possibly up to a mile……Stonedead on average 100m or less. Tent pitches? Perfectly flat everywhere, given it's a former airfield. Tent to Arena - on average about 200m to 300m if that, and suitable for wheelchairs, as again it is all flat.

Respectfulness? Lots of it. After the bands finish and people get back at their tents, sure the beers get cracked open, chat to the neighbours, have a laugh etc. Although, don’t ask me why, but people seem to turn their soundbars down, so only their immediate area can hear them and not the entire site, so you get a decent sleep!

Going on a budget? Take your own beers …..into the arena!!!! in moderation of course, pop back to your car if you need to! Friendliness? Courteousness? You name it.

Professionalism? Now bear in mind, nobody makes any money from this, so strictly speaking everyone involved are amateurs and volunteers, but you would not know this. The professionalism is there, it is just not paid for!

Festival staff and security? Money could not buy these people, absolutely priceless, common sense in abundance, helpfulness, knowledge, indeed it's the most professional festival IMHO.

Toilets? Cleanest I have seen, even on Sunday morning, still have loo roll in and pretty clean.

General cleanliness. Almost spotless, even on departure day. Without trying to sound elitist, it is a festival for Metalheads, old and young with adult minds. Those minds that are used to keeping their own properties clean, tidying up after their kids etc. You make the mess, you tidy it up, that kind of attitude, and long may that reign.

Is it perfect? Probably not, but for me and my (adult) kids, yes, it is. We don’t see any glitches, never heard any moans, but someone will have something to whinge about. You can’t please everyone all of the time!

The future. You are unlikely to ever see Iron Maiden, Metallica, Motley Crue et al, as the income and profit is not high enough. You will however see huge bands, up and coming bands. You will more than likely have a bloody good time, enjoy yourself, make and meet new and old friends and have the best time £70 can buy …..And hopefully go again and again

Long live Stonedead. You are a credit to festivals and have a moral ethos others should adopt. Proving it’s not all about money. See you in 2023. Tickets ordered. SYATB!

Tony Burgum