We continue Virtual Festivals' Darwinian look at the types of festival species you're likely to find in a field near you. You won't see any of these on Springwatch...
Different rock and metal types are really only distinguishable by the fading emblem on their HMV-bought t-shirt. Though the differentiating becomes increasingly difficult once a metaller removes the said shirt to expose a pale and sweaty inner core during a ritual known as ‘moshing’.
Moshing is a group activity in which species nod their heads vigorously, swing their arms and crash into one another along to the music. New comers are to proceed with caution when attempting to mosh, as inexperience may lead to them hitting the ground.
Other distinctive marks found on metallers may include tattoos and piercings, though from birth they are only likely to adopt one of three haircuts: long, bald or dreadlocked.
Metallers communicate through deep, lengthy roars of "ROCK!" It was once assumed that this exasperation was due to pain, but recent studies lean towards the idea that the entire species have been deafened by double kick-drums and amps turned up to 11. Communication is now achieved through elongated speech, horn-like hand gestures protruding tongues.
Nicknames: metaller, headbangers
Festival drink of choice: lager
Where can they be found?
Rebellion Festival 2009– The Winter Gardens, Blackpool – 6-9 August
For fans of punk, when punk was at its safety-pinned best – we’re thinking The Damned and Stiff Little Fingers here – this four-day event stretches out the best of yesteryear and its modern day minions in The Winter Gardens, Blackpool. No camping though, its all hotels and B&Bs, so you can even trash your room like its 1977! Though, VF doesn’t condone that sort of rebellion…
Tickets: £80 for an early bird four-day ticket.
Hammerfest 2009 – Prestatyn Pontins, North Wales – 24-25 April
Rock bible Metal Hammer has decided to swap its pages for stages - six to be exact - and put on their own festival this spring at Prestatyn Pontins. Pontins you say, but wait. Firstly, where’s more metal than Wales? Miners in the area have been digging up copper, silver and gold for centuries. Secondly, the site is more rock than most festival sites with abseiling, go-karts and an indoor swimming pool. Oh, they’re even throwing in 50 masters of metal to complete the weekend.
Tickets: prices start from £150 per person, based on two people sharing a room.
Download Festival 2009 – Donington Park, Castle Donington – 12-14 June
Basically Satan's summer holiday, this three-day metal and rock festival is the biggest axe wielding, circle pitting and mosh crazy date on the circuit. Taking the baton from the old Monsters Of Rock, Download crushes the concrete at Donington Park each year with the heavyweights of the metal and rock world, which will include a reformed Faith No More this June.
Tickets: £135 – weekend camping pass, with more prices available.
Slam Dunk Festival 2009 – The Refectory, Leeds University, Leeds – 24 May
Without a basketball in sight, this one-day festival is fast coming the Michael Jordan of the emo and punk scene. Held in the sweaty Refectory at Leeds Uni, the festival features an all-star line-up with You Me At Six, The King Blues, The Ghost Of A Thousand and more as well as bouncing crowds [sorry, dodgy basketball pun - Ed], a bar and a barbeque – swish!
Tickets: £21 day pass.
Sonisphere 2009 – Knebworth House, Hertfordshire – 1-2 August
Sonisphere is new for ’09 and it’s set to be the biggest thing to head to Knebworth House since Kelly Osbourne supported Robbie Williams there in 2003. Mammoth gig legends Metallica will top the bill along with Linkin Park, as the event locks horns with Download for sound supremacy of the biggest names in the business and with two alternating stages of music, fans shouldn’t miss a roar.
Tickets: £157.50 weekend camping pass with non-camping and coach plus ticket packages available.
Bloodstock Open Air 2009 – Catton Hall, Derbyshire – 14-16 August
BOA is set for it’s fifth birthday this summer, but unlike parties for tykes of the same age, the metal and trash event is more likely to celebrate by smearing cake into Coco The Clown’s eyes, collapsing the wall pasting table, sending the French fancies flying and cranking the pass-the-parcel tunes up to 11. Expect electrifying live acts like Carcass and Arch Enemy as well as bar, market stalls and metal karaoke.
Tickets: £99.95 – adult weekend camping pass.
UK Deathfest 2009 – Leeds University Union – 3 May
From the brains behind Damnation Festival, UK Deathfest is one-full day of metal and all its cronies: death metal, doom, sludge, grind and trash. It may sound like a line-up of ghouls on Ghostbusters, but it is set to be much scarier than that with Akercocke, Benediction and Repulsion among the 16 bands set to tear the Leeds University Union to shreds.
Tickets: £19.50 – day ticket.
Supersonic 2009 – Custard Factory, Birmingham – 24-26 July
Supersonic is the thinking metallers’ festival. Far removed from the depths of the thudding boots and neck-breaking mosh pits, the three-dayer is for the more avant-garde metal and heavy rock fan in us - i.e. those that aren’t averse to wearing blue over black. Expect the experimental and expect things loud, Rodins of the rock world.
Tickets: on sale 2 April.
Reading and Leeds Festivals 2009 – Little Johns Farm, Reading and Branham Park, Leeds – 28-30 August
Like a mass exodus to the opening day of the January sales, there’s traditionally one day a year at both of these events that is marked as the holy metal day. As the indie kids scour and hide in the NME tents, Rock Gods take over the main stage tearing speakers and eardrums apart in equal measure. Metallica, Maiden and Mastodon have kicked started circle pits before, so expect to see a metaller of ten (thousand) down the front this year.
Tickets: on sale 30 March