Metal Festivals happen every year all over the world, these festivals are one of the greatest shows metal heads end up going to. Getting a chance to see metal bands from all over at the same venue, be it an open air stadium, or other concert halls. Many metal heads like myself have great memories from going to big festivals, hearing and seeing bands we are stoked to see, to discovering bands that we had never heard before. In the Northeast U.S. there is really only one big festival that has been happening annually since 1999. But that is just not enough to satisfy the appetite of metal heads across the region. This is when a drummer and tattoo artist from the Massachusetts area decided he had waited long enough, and was going to take matters into his own hands. Jamie Cross came up with Hothfest last year and is doing it again this year around. Hothfest -2016 we will be witnessing 30 bands over the course of two days. To make things even better its on a weekend, Saturday and Sunday, that means for most you wont have to miss work to go to an awesome metal show.
I had the chance to talk to Jamie and ask him a few questions about Hothfest 2016 to get an idea, what started it all, and what to expect.
Badger- So this is the second annual Hothfest, have you already noticed more exposure of this festival than when you did it last year?
Jamie- A little bit, I mean I’m trying a bit harder, I went to other shows and have been passing out postcards to everybody. Of course there’s Facebook and doing the old school thing driving around and putting up flyers but I’m just hoping for the best. It should be good
Badger- Yea I think so, and what prompted you to organize a metal festival in the first place?
Jamie- When I did it last year I kind of did it just for fun and it turned out pretty good, and then I had bands from across the states offering to play so, I mean I probably had one hundred bands offer to play this year so I had to pick and choose but yea it’s awesome.
Badger- That’s cool, that very promising now I am looking forward to 2017 already hearing that.
Jamie- I know right me too, I can’t wait
Badger- So what has the general reaction been from the bands last year? Were you like reaching out to bands last year, and this year they are coming to you to do it?
Jamie- Yea I reached out to a couple that played last year and they did well, and a lot were friends of bands so I had people say “ you gotta check out this band,” so I got a lot of that and bands started hitting me up offering to play, offering to get on it.
Badger- Now here is a metal festival with a lot of bands playing, do you have any sponsors for this? Or is it all you?
Jamie- No I do it all myself man,
Badger- That’s pretty cool, good for you man that’s awesome.
Jamie- Yea I just put like the music stores and logo on our artwork because they were letting me hang stuff up there to help out.
Badger- Now do you have any times for what time the doors open and what time it’s going to run till on Saturday, and then the same for Sunday?
Jamie- Yea I am not positive on that last year doors opened at noon, and bands started at 1. So I’m assuming the same, I haven’t figured out the times yet, I have a few other shows going on right now also that I am working on.
Badger- What other shows do you have going on?
Jamie- Well this Saturday I have what’s called jingle jam, it’s a toys for tots thing with 9 bands on that, it’s a metal show all ages two bucks bring a toy. It’s called jingle jam and there is a Facebook page for that too. I got a couple of tribute bands on that and some locals playing.
Badger- Any shows besides that one?
Jamie-Then after that, the next one is actually after Hothfest and its January 23rd and called musical masterpiece theater the art of the guitar edition. It’s going to be a metal show for the sickest guitar players. I have Mark Rizzo from Soulfly headlining, and then I have Dave Sharp and the Solar Power, a few other ones are going to be on that, and I am still waiting to hear back from them.
Badger-So I know, I can’t remember where the venue was originally going to be, but was it a case of so many bands and people showing interest that caused the venue change?
Jamie- No actually something had happened and they switched owners so I am actually having shows there now. I had already moved it so we are going to keep it where it is (Maximum Capacity) I know the guy that owns it now so and they own both venues so I will be throwing shows at both venues. Yea I have a big summer show I throw that has about 30 bands called rocking on the river and it’s my birthday bash, and we have that at the waterfront. So I already booked that again this year.
Jamie-That one’s kind of like Hothfest but the summer instead. I do about four or five big shows a year, when bands play every weekend people sometimes don’t want to show up. So (with a big show they are more likely to show up)
Badger- yea I know my old band we would play the same club almost every weekend because we were tight with the owner. But we knew that some people didnt want to come and see us every Friday or Saturday, it is what it is, and you always have the group that wouldn’t miss a show for the world.
Jamie- We have our first show in NH playing at the Shaskeen pub in Manchester. It’s January 2nd and I am pretty psyched because we haven’t played anywhere else except from around here so it should be fun.
Jamie- We sound like COC and Pantera that who we get compared to all the time, two of my favorite bands so I will take that. We are half rock half metal so.
Badger-Are there any updates you want the readers and local to know about this show? Your band? What you are putting into this, other stuff about you? I know you do tattoos so…?
Jamie-Yea I own a tattoo studio, I do some work for bands cd artwork, t-shirt all that stuff. At the shows the background for Hothfest that’s one of my paintings I did I actually just got the posters in for Hothfest, so I will be driving around and hanging wherever places will let me.
Bader- I know you had just done a painting event,
Jamie-Yea called who wants to paint with me. We had a blast, it was a lot of fun.
Badger-Is that something you think you will be doing more of?
Jamie-Yea every couple of months I am going to do it, this time around I am going g to limit it to around 25 people so I know and have them pay up front. We had a blast, listened to metal and local bands all night.
Jamie-If I could add one more thing the band Defeated Sanity will be here all the way from Germany they haven’t been in the states for about 5 years. So that’s going to be a pretty cool deal that they are playing at Hothfest and they are bringing a band called Iniquitous Savagery from Scotland with them so we have this whole European/ UK tour coming this way and also a band from California, and then metal bands from NH, MA, Vermont pretty much everywhere around here.
Jamie- Dehumanized will headline Saturday, and carnivore will headline Sunday
Jamie-Sunday is more of a local thing, and closer, and the travelling bands are playing on Saturday.
Badger-That’s pretty good planning, especially for like Defeated Sanity who are on tour. Thank you for setting up a sick metal festival, thanks for trying to keep the metal scene going around here, and thank you for the phone call.
Jamie- Cool thanks man.
So there you have it, I for one am looking forward to Hothfest 2016.
If you want to check out the bands before the show, here are a list of their FB pages