The organisers of Leeds’ independent metal festival ‘kin Hell Fest have been left with a £12,000 debt after it undersold by around 200 tickets.
Held on the first May bank holiday weekend (May 2-4) at Vox/Eiger in Leeds and even though it had a good turnout, as an underground/independent venture with no corporate sponsorship or massive backing behind them, the tickets that didn’t sell have left them in severe financial difficulty.
In the statement on their funding page Paul Priest says: “We’ve all promoted gigs/all dayers/played in bands for a lot of years, and wanted to have a go at something a bit special. To combine the spirit of a ‘bigger’ festival with the underground DIY ethics that we’ve all lived by for many years. Unfortunately it seems that it’s not entirely possible, as bigger bands bring about bigger outlays, bigger settings bring about bigger hire costs, and the need for more people brings about bigger costs in promoting it everywhere.”
With an impressive lineup including Napalm Death, Anaal Nathrakh, Onslaught, Massacre and more, it’s no surprise costs were higher than their 2013 outing. From a business point of view some may say it was a foolish decision to go ahead but unlike some of the big festivals with their Pepsi logos everywhere and £4 pints of Tuborg, this was about the music not the money. Although obviously they’d rather not have lost £12,000.
Paul continues: “We pushed it as much as we possibly could. Almost 20,000 flyers went out all over the UK to hand, the poster for the event went around the world and back again many a time over with friends, fans and the bands sharing it constantly. We had features / interviews in magazines including Terrorizer, as well as being included in a Top 10 Festivals of the year list, up there with the genuine big boys like Download and Bloodstock. Not bad for just a bunch of mates from Leeds / the North who simply love music. Unfortunately, this scene is also a cruel one at times. Sometimes the support/people saying they are coming in the run-up doesn’t always equate to ticket sales/people paying on the door, which was our main means of paying for everything. Some would say that’s a daft idea when there’s a lot of money at stake, but, anyone in the know in the DIY world knows that this is how it has to be.”
The money they did bring in went to the bands, venue hire, PA and all the rest but still left them with others to pay off.
“Despite efforts to sort out getting an official loan (via the bank, companies, other people) to clear the whole debt in one go, so that nobody is waiting around, we have been unsuccessful in getting a full amount, and so now, we go out on the street, our caps in hand, feeling soul-destroyed but still proactive and trying to stay positive, and trying everything in our means to put right this shortfall for everyone else concerned.”
This was just a group of friends in the business putting on a great event for metal fans. Without people trying things like this we’d just be left with Linkin Park headlining every festival as Carlsberg rake in dosh from their watered down piss. Nobody wants that.