Danger, danger: High Voltage Festival returns

Dane Cobain looks forward to High Voltage Festival 2011 with who to see as well as a Spotify playlist to get you into the mood.

So what’s this all about? Sounds dangerous…
Only if you end up in a circle pit. High Voltage is a festival “custom built by rock fans for rock fans” and is set to welcome some of the biggest names in metal and rock ‘n’ roll. Taking place from 23-24 July in London’s Victoria Park, last year saw performances from ZZ Top, Black Label Society and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Really? So how come I’ve never heard of it?
Yes! Maybe it’s because last year was the inaugural event, an event that was heralded as a success by VF earning a lofty 8/10.

What’s the atmosphere like?
Unlike your Downloads and your Sonispheres, High Voltage takes place in the middle of London and attracts an older and more mature bunch of metal-heads. Of last year’s event, VF said: “In general people were quite relaxed with no noticeable crowd trouble and a good time vibe throughout the weekend.”

So how do I get there?
Located less than thirty minutes away from any of London’s main rail stations, the nearest tube station is Mile End on the Central and District lines, a ten-minute walk to Victoria Park. There’s no parking or camping at the site, so make sure you know how you’re getting to and from the festival before you leave.

And tickets? What about those?
They’ll set you back £56.50 for the day or £99 for the weekend, excluding booking fee.

Not bad! Who’s playing then?
Let’s see – on Saturday (23 July) you can feast your ears and eyes on Judas Priest, Slash and Thin Lizzy, while Sunday (24 July) welcomes Dream Theater, Black Country Communion and Jethro Tull.

Is that it?
Of course not, there are three main stages welcoming around forty different bands, and that’s just the music. The park will also welcome the High Voltage Beer Festival, offering over thirty beers and ciders and a folk, acoustic andbluegrass stage. There’ll also be an exhibition on the late, great Evil Knievel.

I’m in – who should I go and see?
Try these out for starters:

Slash – Sweet Child O’ Mine

Rock ‘n’ roll guitarists don’t get much more iconic or influential than Slash, the former Guns ‘n’ Roses axe-man whose recent debut solo album featured Ozzy Osbourne, Chris Cornell, Iggy Pop and Dave Grohl. With a hit-filled back catalogue to choose from, the guitarist dropped anthems including ‘Sweet Child of Mine’, ‘Slither’ and ‘Paradise City’ at last weekend’s Oxegen Festival.

Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back in Town

Formed over 40 years ago, the Irish rockers are responsible for mainstream hits like ‘Whiskey in the Jar’, ‘Jailbreak’ and ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’. After the tragic death of guitarist and vocalist Phil Lynott, the band decided to continue as a tribute to his memory, performing at Sweden Rock Festival, Download and Hellfest earlier this year.

Judas Priest – Hell Bent for Leather

Headlining on Saturday (23 July) on a UK festival exclusive, the five-piece have been credited with introducing leather and studs to heavy metal. With 16 studio albums to choose from it’s impossible to predict what they’ll play, just dust down that biker jacket and get ready to bang your head and throw up the devil horns.

Jethro Tull – Aqualung

If you still think Jethro Tull is a person, go back to V Festival, study Wikipedia religiously and come back again in a couple of years. Ian Anderson and Co. are still going strong over 60 million album sales after their formation, set to headline the Prog Stage on Sunday (24 July) with another of the festival’s exclusive UK performances.

Black Country Communion – Black Country

It’s not every day you get to see a supergroup, and Black Country Communion are exactly that – where else would you see bluesman Joe Bonamassa and Jason Bonham (John Bonham’s son) perform with Derek Sherinian and Glenn Hughes, who between them have fronted Black Sabbath and performed with Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Kiss and Alice in Chains?

That’s not enough, give me more!
Gary Moore? We can’t, he sadly passed away in February, but you can catch his old band (Thin Lizzy) on the main stage. If that’s still not enough, check out our High Voltage Spotify playlist here.

I’ve got a short memory – remind me of the important bits again?
It’s probably all of that head-banging! High Voltage festival takes place from 23-24 July in Victoria Park, London. Judas Priest and Dream Theater are set to headline, with tickets on sale at £56.50 for the day or £99 for the weekend.

Click here to buy High Voltage Festival tickets.

Click here to view the High Voltage Festival line-up.