With the 6th installment of the British Steel Festival approaching, ZT caught up with event mastermind Phil Denton (also guitarist with Elixir) to shed some light on the highlight of the UK’s NWOBHM calendar.
ZT: Can you tell us why you set up the British Steel Festival?
Phil Denton (Elixir): I started the British Steel Festival, because we (Elixir) were playing at some great festivals abroad featuring many 80’s and NWOBHM bands, and it seemed that there wasn’t a festival in England for our type of bands. So I thought of starting my own festival for bands like us in our own country. The first festival took place in Milton Keynes, in 2006, featuring Demon, Elixir, The Handsome Beasts, Hammerhead and Overdrive and we moved to London for the third edition in 2008.
ZT: What are your thoughts on this year’s event?
I am very much looking forward to this year’s edition because we have some great bands on again this year, Gunslinger (featuring ex-Hawkwind bass player Alan Davey, who you will love if classic Motorhead is your thing), plus NWOBHM bands Gaskin, Weapon and Soldier joing us, Elixir, on stage.
Every year has got a little bigger and better. I have a regular team to help me now, including Paul and Felicity at Arcane Productions, John Tucker who works on the official programme, plus Matt, Jake and Alison who help out with the video recording, merchandise stall, catering for the bands and all the other jobs that need doing behind the scenes. We also have a regular crowd who attend every year, including” The Spanish Contingent”, regulars from Holland, Belgium, Italy and Germany, and even one guy who comes every year from Japan.
ZT: So the event is about more than the music?
It’s definitely not just about the music, the festival has a great atmosphere too, and I am looking forward to seeing all the regulars again. It is almost like a family reunion that takes place every year. Of course new faces are very welcome too! If you haven’t been to British Steel before, you will find a friendly and a kind of celebratory atmosphere, and a day packed with top quality classic rock and metal, and of course, we would love to see you there!