Interview with Stonedead co-founder Chris Sumby

Introduction

Stonedead festival is a one day event filled with some of the best hard rock bands of the past and present, combined into one hell of a lineup. Emanating from Nottingham’s Newark Showground on the 28th of August 2021, this is a must for any fan of old school rock, local or otherwise! Obviously this is another festival that was originally slated for 2020, but due to the ‘Vid they were not able to go ahead. Despite that, though, they have managed to retain a pretty similar lineup for 2021, a massive achievement considering the amount of world class bands they have booked.

A photo of the team behind the festival, who are like a family. They work tirelessly to make it happen year on year, like a well oiled machine.

Headlining the event are none other than the amazing hard/folk rock band Black Star Riders. The supergroup, currently consisting of members of too many huge bands to count (including Thin Lizzy, Breaking Benjamin, Stone Sour and Lita Ford, among many others) are currently supporting their awesome 2019 album ‘Another State of Grace’. Always a show stealer live, these guys are not to be missed, especially when the odd Thin Lizzy song sneaks its way into the setlist to drive the crowd into a frenzy!

Supporting them is the always great Terrorvision. Achieving huge success commercially in the UK in the ’90s with tracks like Perseverance, Josephine and the always fun Tequila. While not having released a studio album since 2011, the band are still beloved to this day and still pack one hell of a punch live, a must see for any rock fan.

Joining Terrorvision towards the top of the lineup are Glaswegian glam metal band Gun and Swedish hard rock band H.E.A.T. Both again are amazing live bands and feel like they are really at the top of their games right now. H.E.A.T, being one of the younger bands on the lineup, are really firing on all cylinders right now and Gun, feels like they are experiencing a bit of a career resurgence following 2017’s awesome Favourite Pleasures album.

Further down we have one of the breakout stars of the last couple of years or so, the Kris Barras band. These guys are great and are really starting to get somewhere, I keep seeing them pop up all over the place. There is also the always incredible Blaze Bayley, and not only that but he’s playing a set comprised of his five year stint fronting Iron Maiden. While not the most beloved albums at the time by Maiden fans, they have aged amazingly and have arguably one or two of the best songs of the bands entire catalogue on them, namely The Clansman. Also joining them are for my money the most consistent band on the lineup, Tygers of Pan Tang. Another great live band these guys have also put out some of my favourite albums the last few years, better than a lot of other bands around their age!

Rounding out the lineup are the last two bands, Myke Grey and Dead Man’s Whiskey. Myke Grey, formerly of Skin fame, is another that has had a definite career resurgence the last year or two thanks to his great solo project. Finally, London’s own Dead Man’s Whiskey are a great upcoming hard rock band, gaining momentum by the day as they play tours festivals around the country.

Interview with Chris Sumby

Q. What gave you the inspiration to start a music festival?

Reply: The inspiration came from The Monsters of Rock Festivals at Donington Park. One day with one stage and as strong a lineup as possible.

 Q. What is your favourite part about organising it all? 

Reply: The best part by far, is seeing the fans starting to arrive. The queue for the campsite blew us away the first year and we had to open it early to stop traffic backing up to the main road.

Q. Who is the most exciting booking you have made for the festival, be it this year or the previous two? 

Reply: The most exciting booking would have to be Skid Row.  For an event in its first year to have a multi platinum band with all those hits and rock anthems to pull out of their back catalogue was unbelievable.  And the fans thought so too. Seeing them open with Slave to the Grind, made every sleepless night worth it.

Q. Being a few years deep into the event now, what advice would you give for people wishing to follow in your footsteps? 

Reply: For folks starting out, have a good plan that’s realistic. Unless you have a massive budget keep things simple.  You’ll never please everyone, so try to stay focussed and believe what you are doing will be successful. Work at it and it’ll come good.

Q. If you could book two bands, one from the current crop and one from any period of time to play Stonedead, who would it be and why? 

Reply: As the classics go Rainbow would be great to have, simply because of that initial Monsters of Rock link and for more recent bands Airbourne & Nightwish would be two that would be excellent for us.

Q. What are your upcoming plans for the upcoming few years. Any hints you can give for future bands or events, I imagine it’s still a little too far in advance, right?  

Reply: Hopefully the next few years will see a steady growth and consistency in what we do.  We don’t want to be the biggest, just one of the best experiences for fans.We have our eyes on quite a few bands and agreements are being put in place for as far  ahead as 2023.  Let’s see what happens . 😉

The interview by musician, blogger & author – Joe Griffiths

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