Hevy Festival – Port Lympne

By Tom Aylott

The festival season is in full swing, and the week following the growing Sonisphere saw Hevy Festival take to it’s first ever weekender and strike onto a winner.

Perhaps among the smallest camping festival of the year that the ‘alternative community’ will take interest in, Port Lympne in Kent hosted a few thousand hardcore and punk fans for a weekend containing one of the best value line ups of the summer. Set in a compact camping/arena set up, Hevy’s intimate feel worked to its advantage all weekend, and the short distance between stage did wonders for avoiding clashes.


[March of the Raptors]

First up on Saturday’s mainstage are Feed the Rhino, and though the crowd are up for it and it’s a sign of good things to come, there’s not much that makes the band stand out, and the sound doesn’t really hand them any favours [2.5/5].

Shortly after, a band that you can’t really accuse of not standing out, but you can accuse of being straight up ridiculous. TRC are one of the weirdest, yet inevitable, amalgamations in UK hardcore, and there are the first -really- silly slamdances of the day involved for their set. Short of saying “I don’t get it”, the energy is great, but to agree with the on-stage sentiments of the band themselves, I have no idea what they’re doing on that stage [1.5/5].

Eaststrikewest seem a little out of place at Hevy amongst bands doing much more brash things, but they don’t dissapoint at getting things kicked off on the festivals second largest stage, with some soaring choruses and accomplished musicianship aplenty [3/5].

Biggest surpise of the day is the excellence of recent Small Town Records signing Heights. Not because of any previous dislike, just that they showed up and made light work of owning the Red Bull Stage. Thoroughly enjoyable growly and melodic hardcore, and a band to check out if you haven’t already [4/5].

To everyone’s delight Trash Talk show up and manage to recreate the kind of chaos that put them on the main stage in the first place – and do some damage to security and photographers on the way through. Frantic and high-energy hardcore is exactly what this weekend is about, and there’s a fairly unanimous thumbs up from those witnessing the bedlam [4.5/5].

Ex-every band ever March of the Raptors are still mere months in the making, but their debut release and subsequent impressive stage show is garnering much attention. Vocalist Jamie has the best dance moves in hardcore, and the musicianship all around is impeccable [4/5].

Rushing all of 40 seconds across to the Red Bull stage, Blitz Kids get some epic singalongs and frenetic crowd action on the go and give material from the upcoming and old alike an airing. This is a band that will always have a trouble finding a box to fit into, but when you’re got the tunes and live show to back it up, being spazzy power rock thingy whatsit band ain’t so bad [4/5].

Despite high hopes for Fucked Up bringing it when they hit the main stage, they feel largely out of place apart from a few great moments. They sit in the club of bands for the weekend that seemingly have a hard time maintaining energy in a larger event, and I’d much rather have seen them pack out a smaller tent [2/5].

Band of the weekend is usually a close call, but handing it to Comeback Kid, they deliver live, plain and simple. From start to finish, their set is a lesson in hardcore for even the more experienced bands of the weekend, and a performance many in the genre could only hope to acheive [5/5].

Gallows as a live band provoke a range of emotions. At Reading last year they were excellent, and they seemed to struggle to deliver in the same way. It might be the Clash cover that just feels a bit lazy, the sound or even that the band that graced the stage before them set the barre too high, but there seemed to be something lacking [2/5].



At a glance Me Vs. Hero are possibly amongst the festivals strangest inclusions because there’s really not much ‘straight up pop-punk’ dancing around the bill. Looking a little closer, there’s enough here to satisfy or interest those here for the less heavy Main Stage day, and those here for the grittier stuff later in the day. The sound didn’t do Me Vs. Hero many favours, but they’re always entertaining live, and not a bad thing to kick the day off with [3/5].

Failsafe fail to do much with the setting they’ve been landed in, and their placing on the bill seems a little bit odd. It’s not that they lack in talent and decent songs, but grabbing the attention of the early afternoon crowd staring with a bit of disinterest is difficult, and they’d have most definitely fit better on one of the smaller stages where the following could get their voice up for a singalong [2.5/5].

Canterbury, about as curiously placed on the main stage as the previous band, take to the setting much more naturally, and produce a great set. ‘Gloria’ is a perfect festival song, and they seemed to be enjoying themselves thoroughly [3.5/5].

Young Guns are built for big stages, and draw in the biggest crowd of the day so far. The exponential rise of the band will likely not rely on Hevy festival, and the crowd’s sustained borderline apathy seemed to frustrate vocalist Gus at points, but it’s top notch delivery and full of big tunes [4/5].

In the Red Bull tent, something very special happened on Sunday afternoon. Throats, spurred on by a pack out audience, completely reaffirm their reputation as an essential live band and pulled out one of the sets of the weekend. A perfect setting for a band seemingly becoming one of UK hardcore’s finest prospects [4.5/5].

Devil Sold His Soul, supercharged by Andrew Neufeld [Comeback Kid]’s appearance on guest vocals, sound amazing. Songs from recent album ‘Blessed & Cursed’ prove yet again that they deserve all the respect they’re getting on both sides of the pond, and it’s so hard to not to see the band going from strength to strength [4/5].

Napalm Death are every single thing that you could ask for at a festival such as this. Brutal, entertaining, energetic and great musicians. The crowd, unsurprisingly, end up going absolutely mental. Napalm Death know, and have known for a long time, how to get a crowd going and put on a good show, and the atmosphere is unrivalled all day [4/5].

The James Cleaver Quintet get the best spot of the weekend for a ‘small’ band. Who else would you rather be playing to than a load of people waiting to see Glassjaw with nothing better to do (apart from watch Polar Bear Club)? The Local heroes stage has been a bit lame all weekend on the whole, but they deliver a spectacular performance. Alongside the trademark climbing stuff and crowd surfing antics, it’s a coming of age for a band that’s been hovering on the edge of a radar for a while, and stunning to watch [5/5].

There’s been points this year when giving Glassjaw a bad review has caused some arguements on the internet. Thankfully, no such problem will exist here as the band are much, much better than they were at Wembley in January. It’s tough to put a finger on what it is exactly that makes them better, but the supercharged atmosphere and a decent setlist probably had something to do with it. By no means the best of the weekend, but it’s refreshing to see the band on a good run of form [3.5/5].


A stellar line up all around, and plenty to keep the audiences happy, Hevy Festival 2010 will go down as a success. There’s plenty to work on as the food was a little overpriced and unsatisfying, and the extreme sports didn’t really make the impact you’d hope, but the intimacy of the whole thing made it special, and it’ll be hard to see another festival match up in terms of experience and value this year. A big [4.5/5] for the weekend.


Below you can see some images from the weekend! Click any to see the full gallery of photos! Shot by Maryam Hassan….

Comeback Kid


Young Guns


Me Vs. Hero


Blitz Kids


Trash Talk






A shit cartwheel from Tom