After two years Stonedeaf Festival is no more. This isn’t due to any issues with the event at all but just purely a need to change the name due to a rival event. Announced during this year’s festival, it was revealed that the new name of this rapidly growing gathering of the cream of the rock scene would be Stonedead and they have certainly continued the trend for stunning line-ups as the reveal of the bands booked thus far has proven.
Once again, the ethos is very much a music festival run by music fans and recaptures the early excitement and spirit of those early halcyon years of Monsters of Rock. In the two years since its inception, the event has grown from strength to strength and seems to have truly captured the hearts and imaginations of whole families and generations who just want to hear some of the best bands around in a friendly atmosphere that is well run, affordable and genuinely cares for the rock community that gathers there to worship at the stacks of Marshall Amps.
With two hugely impressive festivals under their belts already the announcement of the artists booked so far for 2020 will push the excitement levels up to 11.
Headlining will be classic rock supergroup Black Star Riders and anyone who witnessed them on their latest tour will know that the band are firing on all cylinders and knocking every show out of the ballpark.
Since forming in 2012 the band have certainly fulfilled their avowed intent to be the next stage in the evolution of Thin Lizzy and have very much grown their own identity whilst capturing the Celtic fire and spirit of the legendary Irish rockers.
Helmed by Lizzy axeman Scott Gorham and former Almighty frontman Ricky Warwick, BSR are titans in the rock scene and the immense talent and charisma of these two hugely respected musicians has led them to new heights.
Each album has continued to build the formidable machine and their lives shows have become the absolute epitome of what a visceral and exciting celebration of hard rock should be. One of the best bands in the world, Black Star Riders will blow you away.
Tyketto ripped up the rule book when they emerged and produced one of THE classic debut albums of all time in ‘Don’t Come Easy’ and have genuinely never looked back. Formerly fronting Waysted, Danny Vaughn brought his incredible voice and writing talents to form the band with three like-minded New Yorkers and lead single ‘Forever Young’ broke through big time, enjoying constant rotation on MTV.
Their rapidly soaring profile saw them opening shows for Bon Jovi and Whitesnake, often blowing the headliners off the stage with their own brand of street tough rock that had a gift of unassailable melody. Grunge put a dampener on things but the band regrouped and proved that you can’t keep quality down. Although the line-up has changed throughout the years, Vaughn has truly been the beating heart of these masters of their craft, his superb voice and stage presence never letting up.
After such a stunning start it would be difficult for most bands to reach that high-water mark but Tyketto have produced album after album of immense tunes, fueled by a craft and determination that Bon Jovi left behind years ago. Prepare to fall in love.
‘Bruising’ is the perfect way to describe Kris Barras as this former MMA cage fighter has produced album after album of muscular blues rock with his self-titled band as well as fronting the supergroup Sonic Blues Machine alongside ZZ Tops Billy Gibbons.
A man totally committed to his craft, Barras has toured relentlessly around Europe to growing audiences and each album has grown heavier and won more accolades than each previous release.
A player of remarkable sensitivity and verve, he’s certainly caught the imagination of not only the general public but also blues purists who have hailed him as one of the finest guitarists on the scene.
Latest album ‘Light It Up’ is a powerful testament to the importance of the blues as a genre while never holding back the punches and providing a crunching soundtrack that more than satisfies fans of rock too and his set at Stonedead should provide the highlight for many on the day.
Blaze Bayley is best known as front man for Tamworth rockers Wolfsbane and then as the man Iron Maiden handpicked to replace the departing Bruce Dickinson and latterly fronting his own titular band, constantly on the road and pouring blood, sweat and tears into every show.
His appearance at Stonedead celebrates his time with Maiden so expect some classic tracks from ‘The X Factor’ and ‘Virtual XI’ albums along with a few other prime cuts. A magnetic performer, Bayley will be bringing his own brand of Midlands Metal that will doubtless thrill all those lovers of British steel.
Arguably better than ever, Tygers of Pan Tang are one of the most legendary bands of the NWOBHM and follow in the footsteps of Diamond Head this year as leaders and vanguards of the genre who have appeared at the festival.
Featuring original guitarist Robb Weir, the band have seen themselves touring all through Europe and beyond to packed houses, rammed with people who appreciate the constantly high class of the writing and performances.
From the seminal debut ‘Wild Cat’ through to new album ‘Ritual’ the band have always brought the perfect mix of melody and heaviness that has been their trademark since they emerged from the wilds of Whitley Bay in the North East and they certainly show no signs of slowing down.
You would have to been hiding under a rock to have not heard of the perfect pairing of former Jagged Edge, Skin and Red White & Blues guitarist Myke Gray with former Voodoo Blood frontwoman Kim Jennett, such are the seismic ripples these two have caused.
One of the hardest working and highly thought of musicians in the country, Gray has played on some of the biggest stages in Europe and toured with giants of the rock scene, his skill as a writer and six stringer drawing plaudits from rock fans and peers alike.
With her incredible blues rock voice and commanding stage presence, Jennett has met her perfect mentor in the guitarist and has grown immeasurably since they started working together in the Summer of 2018.
With a well-received support tour with Black Star Riders and an absolutely incendiary show at Download this year under their belts the two have proven to be one of the genuine ‘must see’ acts on the live circuit and are destined to prove one of the truly legendary ‘’I was there…’’ sets in the history of Stonedead.
With the Special Guests and opening band slots yet to be announced it already looks that Stonedead 2020 will be one of the events of the year and at £50 arena entry or £60 arena and camping fee (cheaper for children) it’s an absolute bargain. The festival happens on 29th August 2020 at the Newark Showground and full details can be found at www.stonedeadfestival.co.uk. See you down the front!
Words by Paul Monkhouse for metal planet music