At a time of instability, with well-known festivals disappearing from the grid (the most recent of which being Temples), there are still ambitious individuals willing to take risks in order to develop a local scene and keep live music thriving. Without such individuals, the UK music industry would be lost, and yet they rarely get the attention they deserve as focus invariably falls upon the acts. Larger-then-life industry figures such as Andy Copping (Download) aside, successful promoters often stand in the shadows, watching from the side of the stage with a well-deserved sense of pride as their acts deliver blow after blow to the audience. It can be a thankless task, and yet, when it goes right, word spreads and bands start to seek out the best known nights, fully aware that if you want to reach a wider audience you need to do so in conjunction with venues that can offer good sound, a good vibe and, most of all, a good night out. Being a web-zine from the very heart of the Midlands, we’ve seen one such promoter establishing a brand that, in a very short space of time, has come to be highly respected and the culmination of that work is the mighty Uprising, a festival which we have already covered in some detail (read about it here).
At the core of Uprising is Simon Yarwood of Resin Promotions. Putting on a series of nights at Firebug, Simon has worked tirelessly to reinvigorate a scene widely perceived to be on its way out just a few months previous, and Leicester has seen visits from numerous up-and-coming (and fully established) acts in the last year. The shows demonstrated that a lust for live music was still present in Leicester and the result has been the return of Bloodstock’s Metal 2 The Masses event to Leicester,with the last few months seeing Firebug rammed to capacity as bands from across the East Midlands have battled it out to win a coveted spot on the New Blood stage. Of the initial thirty-five bands, five remain standing (Blood Oath, Final Coil, Garganjua, Conjurer and Temple of Lies) and you can read more about them in our detailed feature found here. With Uprising just a week away (and if you’ve not bought tickets, kick yourself hard, and do so) we thought it the perfect opportunity to catch up with Simon to discuss his inspiration, his ambition and his band, Resin (who also play Uprising on the acoustic stage), and how his experiences have led him to become a promoter.
1. This has been a busy year for you – how did Resin Events get started?
Memories of Firebug and Leicester city centre having a healthy supply of metal gigs slowly gnawing away at my brain coupled with the knowledge that I had garnered a certain amount of respect for the quality of bands I’d put on a bill whenever my own band played firebug made ResinEvents a viable undertaking.
2. It’s often the case that you read about events being poorly attended and ‘scenes dying out’, yet your events have largely been well-attended. What aspects do you think contribute to successful promotion?
At its simplest it really is having good bands play and make sure they sound great , after that you really are judged by the paying public, you can hype over social media, wallpaper the city with posters and make it free entry, but if people don’t enjoy it when they’re in front of the band then they won’t return. Most people won’t have heard or be familiar with most bands on a small venue bill so you have to know that they trust your ability to only choose the best. I think over the last year I’ve gained that trust.
3. Your shows are largely in the heavy realm, but also quite eclectic in terms of the genres represented. What do you look for in the bands you book?
They have to impress me. I’m not a full on death metal fan, I’m not a full on glam rock fan, but I do appreciate when a band do what they do well with enough originality to make them stand out. If I hear any talk from other promoters (and yes the best ones do pass info along, good or bad) that a band might let me down or be disrespectful to my audience I won’t touch them.
4. The reason for this interview is, of course, Uprising – a major event for Leicester. Could you tell us, first of all, about the festival itself for those who’ve missed previous posts.
I’ve always done things as big as I can and taking on the Bloodstock Festival Metal 2the Masses this year made me sit down and think there must be something we can build around that that will put Leicester in some small way on the “metal” map.
5. How did the idea for Uprising come about – it seems like a grand undertaking?
My partners in Uprising are heavily involved in festivals at DeMontfort and also the Leic O2, so once we sat around a table to discuss its viability with their knowledge of events and the backing of the local council it became a no-brainer.
6. What are the major challenges, as a promoter, involved in putting on a day like this?
Money first and foremost. You move away from an all-day event at a pub or small venue, to one with over 1,200 capacity that has its own heritage and reputation to uphold, and the costs just sky rocket! Making your event appeal to people isn’t just the bands, it’s everything: the venue, the bands, the organisation and reputation of the people behind it all have an impact.
7. Are there plans to make this a regular event?
Ask me on June 5th !
8. Always, with such events, it’s the bands that take the attention but there are many unsung heroes behinds the scenes – how many people have you involved in the festival and how do you go about bringing them into the fold?
There are upwards of thirty people behind the scenes making the day as good as it can be, many of them for free, but all of them because they are the absolute best at what they bring to the table.
9. At a time when there are so many festivals appearing and, sadly, disappearing, what would you say distinguishes uprising?
A difficult one for me to answer from the inside, but we do have HELL giving the people a full pyro show normally reserved for outdoor festival shows. We also have an iconic venue in the centre of the country, a work ethic that hopefully shows and we do have a selection, from across all genres, of the best bands around.
10. You are also involved in a well-respected local act, Resin. Could you introduce the band briefly?
We play dirty emotional grunge music if you’re not put off by that description check us out ?
11. Resin are playing the acoustic stage – what should fans expect?
A mix of original material and some stuff everyone will know, expect a room full of lyric sheets and a singalong.
12. How would you say your experiences in the band have influenced your growth and ethos as a promoter?
Everything about me as a promoter comes from me as a band member. I’ve watched rooms empty before we play because there’s a band on that should still be rehearsing. I’ve travelled 100 miles and not even been offered a drink of water and I’ve also witnessed the most gracious hospitality and the greatest lineups. I judge every show I put on by how I’d feel if I’d just played it.
13. Any final words?
See you Saturday! #UPRISING
Uprising Festival Tickets are just £17.50, although a limited number of tickets remain with the M2M finalists for just £8.00 – another reason to check out local acts!