Hella Rock Festival 2024: Eight Bands, One Day, £20

With the news that Standon Calling and another eight UK festivals have either cancelled their 2024 shows or finished for good, the news that Hella Rock Festival will launch this year is music to MetalTalk’s ears. Eight bands for £20, this is a grassroots phoenix rising from the flames.

Gorilla Riot, The Soul Revival, Tattoo Molly, King Kraken, Bang Bang Firecracker, New Generation Superstars, Luna Kiss and The Black Shucks complete the Hella Rock lineup, which will be held at HMV Empire in Coventry on 31 August 2024.

The festival is the brainchild of James Pilling, guitarist with Tattoo Molly, who will tell you that James is always full of ideas. Hella Rock was one that hit James on the run-up to Christmas.

“I thought Coventry doesn’t have a festival,” James told MetalTalk. “Not a hard rock or Heavy Metal festival anyway. We’ve got other festivals that are more local to the area. Within the day, I found the name of the festival and the poster, and I had a list of bands that I thought would be good for the festival. Millions of other people do festivals as well, so I can’t take credit for it. I’m sure I stole some ideas along the way.”

The level of bands and the focus of the Hella Rock festival are things that struck a chord with MetalTalk straight away. “I was struggling to get Tattoo Molly onto the festivals,” James said. “Festivals are a very difficult thing for bands to get on to. As soon as you get on to one, then you gradually get added on to all of them. So I said, well, let’s do our own festival.

“I thought I’m gonna put on a festival with bands that I want to play with, bands that I’ve seen on the festival circuit that I really want to play with or bands that I’ve wanted to play with in gigs.

“That was one of the main ideas behind the festival. To try and get as many bands together that we either have gigged with in the past or wanted to gig with in the future and create your own opportunities at that point.”

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31aug6:00 pmHella Rock Festival | HMV Empire, CoventryHMV Empire

The HMV Empire has been very supportive towards Hella Rock. “The staff there, the owners, the sound and lighting technicians, everything about them is just perfect,” James says. “They’re so supportive of the festival as well. We’ve played there a few times. It’s nice for, especially for local bands in Coventry or smaller bands, to be able to get on a stage and actually hear yourself and get treated a bit like a rock star as well.”

The venue can be partitioned off to hold a crowd of 300 or opened up to a 2,000 capacity. With a backstage area, the idea is to treat the bands to the rockstar experience. “I think if you don’t like being treated like a rock star, I think you’re lying to yourself,” James says. “Everybody wants the brandy glass with brown M&M’s. You want the rider. You want the crowd. If you can get that along the way and be treated as such, I think it is appreciated, especially for the bands.”

Blackstar Amplification are on board, as are other sponsors. The tickets are on sale from today, but at £20, this is not a money-making exercise. “I’m not in this to gain anything myself,” James says. “I’m in a band, so I get to play to a decent crowd and with some fantastic bands. That’s the only thing I’m gaining from this whole weekend. It was important for me to know what it’s like to be in a band and play festivals.”

The Grill Shack will be there to provide food on-site at a reasonable price. They will also cater for the bands. The whole organisation around this event is aimed at value for money for the crowd and the experience for the bands.

The Association of Independent Festivals reported that 36 festivals fell last year across the music spectrum. One hundred events have disappeared since the peak in 2019, when there were 600 live music festivals in the UK.

That Hella Rock is there this year to promote grassroots bands is exceptional. If it takes off, then who knows what next year might bring.

“There is no financial gain for me personally or for the festival,” James says. “I’ve not even thought about next year. It’s one big gig, and if it takes off, then maybe next year. But I can’t have Tattoo Molly play every year.”

MetalTalk will take a team to Coventry this year, and we will be featuring all the bands on the run-up to the festival. £20, eight bands and one day. This just might be the best ways to throw your support behind grassroots music this year.

£20 tickets are available from Ticket 24/7. For more details visit HellaRockFestival.com. All our Hella Fest 2024 MetalTalk coverage can be found here.

Hella Rock Festival 2024 - HMV Empire, Coventry. 31 August 2024
Hella Rock Festival 2024 – HMV Empire, Coventry. 31 August 2024

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