70000 Tons Of Metal

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February 12, 2010 by Dan Swinhoe

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“Metalheads don’t really mix with normal cruise guests like families with kids and retired people looking for a vacation in the Caribbean.” This may be the reason you don’t see many Slayer T-shirts on Thomas Cook holidays.

Woodstock didn’t appeal, so they made Monsters Of Rock. Now metalheads have decided they don’t like normal sea travel, so the answer is 70000 Tons Of Metal, a four day cruise from Miami to Mexico and back, with some fine metal blaring from the stages on deck and down below.

Andy Piller, the man behind the idea, explains how the most epic voyage since Moby Dick came about. He says: “I live in Vancouver BC very close to the cruise ship terminal. So one day about three years ago I was sitting with my friends on my balcony having a few beers.” He says: “Obviously we had one too many because I remember asking those guys, hey wouldn’t that be cool to charter one of these and put a heavy metal festival on? That was when 70000TONS OF METAL was born.”

There is going to be three stages; one on the  deck and two down below.So far only eight out of the forty bands have been announced, including Sodom, Epica and the mighty Amon Amarth. And with around 2000 tickets available this means there is only  about 10 fans to each musician. and with two shows for each band and any amount of jam sessions, this has potential for everything to get up close and personal. And while the headliners and most of the other bands have yet to be announced Andy says: “The response we are getting from all over the world is overwhelming!”

How the Deck stage will look

While he explains there are similar things around the world; some blues and classical cruises, a few one day events in Scandinavia, but he explains “As a full ship charter Heavy Metal festival this is the first one in history.”

A festival on a boat poses many different possible dangers, a permanently open bar and crowdsurfing with a large drop and vast oceans would normally be a worry, but Andy disagrees: “No one will go overboard since there are walls around that deck connecting to the “balcony” that goes all around the pool area.” and when asked about the dangers of festival sized amounts of alcohol on a boat he says: “Why? You are always just an elevator ride from your cabin!” Don’t break the rules though, or Andy threatens: “you can swim to Cuba, if you make it!”

This has been the culmination of a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and as Andy puts it: “Three years of my life!” He explains: “The Logistics are more demanding then at a usual show, but this is nothing but a new challenge. Nothing we couldn’t handle.” While the planning was fairly, getting the project off the ground was more of a challenge, Andy says: “The big thing was to secure the financing. Chartering a cruise ship is not really cheap and you need to have the money in advance.” Andy doesn’t reveal exactly how much but does hint: “We are talking seven digits here, so this was the big problem.”

The festival itself is in January of next year, but already Andy is planning ahead, he says: “We totally want to establish this as an annual event. I could imagine to grow it to an even larger vessel.”

The Majesty Of The Seas, where the festival is taking place

But he doesn’t it to get too big, he explains: “It would loose it’s intimacy factor and then it would be like every other major festival  We don’t want to dilute that.”

Visit the 70000 website to book your ticket now.

Original at: http://www.detourmagazine.co.uk/2010/02/10/70000-tons-of-metal-your-new-favourite-festival/

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