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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Late Update for Thursday October 20th, 2011

 *** Firefest Festival 2011 ***


Focus on: Firefest 2011

Location: Rock City - Nottingham, England.

When: Fri. 21st - Sun. 23rd October (This weekend)

Sorry folks, I'm holding off on the news today - To be honest, there's not that much to share that's really that exciting ... - as I also wanted to share a little something with you all about a special event happening this weekend, that has become an annual pilgrimage if you will, for melodic rock fans the world over.

Yes indeed, this coming weekend is Firefest 2011, a melodic rock event that is annually put together BY rock fans, FOR rock fans and each subsequent year, I see and hear that more and more rock fans want to be a part of it.

So, why is it so special?
Put simply, two rock fans that know a few people in the industry - Obviously! - decided to try and put something unique together that has clearly succeeded, as the event is now in it's eigth year.
The likes of melodic rock, AOR, call it what you will has often been criticized, picked on for either being just too slick or just not hard rocking enough, sometimes, too wimpy even for some.

The special and magical thing about Firefest, is that every year these two guys usually manage to persuade a band or artist, into reforming sometimes for a one off occasion, but often these acts decide to stick it out together and make new music, both Kieran Dargan and Bruce Mee deserve huge praise for what they do, they really do. Take a bow gents!

They also often manage to line up acts that are generally known as 'studio projects' for labels such as Frontiers, Escape Music, AOR Heaven, etc, to play out live sometimes for the very first time, so once again, you can see the draw of the Firefest event.

This year's event sees a reformed - in 2010 - Coney Hatch playing a rare European date in the special guest spot on Sunday.
The Canadian band that features frontman / guitarist / vocalist Carl Dixon who was almost killed in 2008 in a terrible car accident in Australia.
Coney Hatch released three very good albums indeed, especially the excellent second and third albums 'Outa Hand' and 'Friction.' The self titled first one, never really grabbed me like the other two, but there's still good material there nonetheless.
Anyway, I'm sure these Canadian rockers will impress the Firefest audience, I personally think that they always deserved more.
On Sunday night Unruly Child will be the headline act ...

US rockers Warrant were due to headline on Saturday night, but controversially pulled out a mere five weeks before the event, so former Journey - For ten years! - and Tall Stories frontman Steve Augeri and his band have stepped up to the mark, from being special guest they've moved up to headline spot on Saturday night.
Augeri recorded three studio albums or maybe that should be two and a half, when you reconsider the 'Red 13' EP, 'Arrival' and 'Generations' as well as an excellent live DVD.
Steve Augeri has already promised that fans will not be disappointed by the show they will perform on Saturday night. Journey fans, be prepared!

Former Survivor lead vocalist Jimi Jamison, has just released the special album, 'Kimball / Jamison' along with former Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball. Last year at Firefest on the Sunday night, Jimi Jamison apparently turned in an excellent performance in the special guest spot to headliners Nelson, many said he stole the day. Well, that perfomance earned the man a return to Firefest as Friday night headliner. Have fun Jimi!

As well as Jimi Jamison last year, many AOR fans were extremely impressed by the performance of the reunited - Yes, originally just for 2010's Firefest. - UK AOR dream machine, Strangeways.
Well, they also got asked to come back again this year and will play as special guests to Steve Augeri on Saturday.
A new Strangeways album was hoped to be released at Firefest ... Have your wallets / purses ready lads and lasses!

With Warrant pulling out on the Saturday, Firefest need another act to be brought in for the Saturday and Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman, Journey), Robert Sall (Work of Art) and Eric Martenson (Eclipse), who are known jointly as W.E.T. agreed to step in to bail the Firefest team out.
W.E.T. will play just before Strangeways.
Good job guys!

Fans of AOR guitar hero's will no doubt be well pleased to see Jeff Paris and Mitch Malloy on the bill this year too, Jeff Paris has been away from AOR for far too long, how about a new album eh mate?!
Jeff has recently been touring with Keb' Mo' (Kevin Moore), not to mention being part of Ringo Starr's 'Liverpool 8' touring band. Don't worry rock fans, I'm sure you'll hear some Jeff of old on Saturday night!
'Mitch Malloy 2' is released this month, so expect some newies from Mitch.

Another act that sadly had to step out from Firefest this year were Sunday's planned opening act, US rockers Farcry, who this year released the much praised 'Optimism,' album through Kivel Records.
Guitarist and founder member Pete Fry, was absolutely gutted to not have his band play this year, but when it was announced that Newman would step in for them, Pete and leading 'New'man (LOL!) guy, Steve Newman - Good friends - it was agreed that since Pete had already booked his own plane ticket for England (To just attend Firefest as a fan) - I believe - before he even knew Farcry were going to be asked to play, that Newman with Pete, would include a Farcry number in their set.
Can't be bad, eh?!
Newman seem to go from strength to strength in recent years, having got on the festival circuit a few years back now, in 2009 they went down a storm at Z Rock festival, that John Waite headlined, played at Firefest last year too, that was so well received a live album 'Another Step Closer - Live at Firefest 2010' will be available at the event. Newman earlier this year also released their excellent studio album, 'Under Southern Skies.'

Firefest will also feature, the excellent Terry Brock - Yes, double dipping! - playing a solo set on Friday before hooking up with his bandmates Strangeways on Saturday, not to mention the slick Vega currently working on album number two, playing on Saturday as well as U.S. rockers Silent Rage and Talon to complete Saturdays bill.

Newer acts, the quite recently popular Houston and Serpentine wrap up the Friday night bill, with Kane Roberts, Alien and the much recently praised White Widdow, who hail from Australia being the other acts completing Sundays bill.

Firefest is an event, that I frequently hear from so many people, is such a fun event and it seems to pull in around at least 500 or 600 returning fans each year, so that speaks volumes for the festival.
I one day sincerely hope I can make it to the show, as it certainly seems to be THE melodic rock / AOR event of every year.

If you're going, I'm sure you'll have fun, if you hadn't already planned on going and you love AOR / Melodic rock and you're not that far away from Nottingham, get yourself along there, you're sure to enjoy it!

Rock on Firefest, long may you continue!

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