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Music: Merthyr Rock Festival & Big Deal Clothing

As I’m pretty new to the whole blogging scene, it’s probably easier if I explain. My boyfriend runs the clothing line Big Deal Clothing, and as a result, I’m pretty heavily involved with it these days.

I think my ‘official’ title is something like PR & Marketing manager, but in all fairness, he’s done just fine for years even before I came along. But, saying that, I help out with everything from events, to social media marketing, to liasing with bands and PR teams for promotional purposes. It can take up a lot of time alongside a full time job and other activities (especially in his case), but luckily, right now, it’s fun.

One of the major parts of being involved with an alternative clothing line is heading out to a variety of music festivals. I’ll admit it – it’s one of the most fun parts for me, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. It involves long drives, early starts, and it can genuinely be less ‘glam’ than it might seem. If I’d have heard someone tell me that a year ago, I won’t lie. I’d have been caught up in the ideal of it being ‘cool’ or something. Don’t get me wrong – it has its super cool moments. But a lot of it means missing the bands you really want to see because you’re understaffed, or, more often than not, sadly being messed around by festival owners. You do meet tons of amazing people though, and get to do and see some pretty awesome stuff that not all music fans get to see. So for that, of course, we are grateful!

Merthyr Rock Festival came back for 2014, and I’m so glad it did. Under new management and in a new location, I can’t really say I know a whole lot about its previous guises, but all I need to know is how awesome it actually was this time around. Set in a beautiful town in the heart of the middle of nowhere in Wales, it was truly a hidden gem – intimate, but the most fun. Unlike a lot of other festivals, Big Deal Clothing was treated with utter respect from the outset, and I can only speak highly of the experience. When you’re working 12 hour days, the least appealing things in the world are grotty burger vans, and so to be given catering is like a dream come true! It’s a bit like a Unicorn or something though – a mythical experience, one which you’re pretty certain doesn’t exist. But hey, here – it did! I enjoyed a rather tasty beef stroganoff, so I can’t complain.

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*Worst pic of me ever

So, you’d think that it was perhaps just the Festival owners who kicked ass, right? Not so much. Everyone from the security, to the fans (aka our customers), to the other clothing stalls (you really ought to check out Heads Above The Waves) were absolutely the kindest, most hospitable people ever. I also definitely need to give a huge shout out to the One Hundred Band, who we sorted out with some hats in return for being just genuinely fucking cool guys. Considering that at some other point in the summer we did Nass festival (aka a school disco on MDMA), the whole time we were at Merthyr was such a refreshing contrast.

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The line up outdid itself – for us, the ‘Festival band of the summer’ has undoubtedly been Blitz Kids – we’ve seen them at too many events to count this year, but each time they play, they just give better and better than the time before. I actually supported this band waaaay back in the day on the Atticus tour (I sing…) and I’m just so happy for how far they’ve come, and the crowd at Merthyr just LOVED them. Other highlights were Reel Big Fish (given that I hate ska, that’s saying a lot), and of course Taking Back Sunday. I have no idea how they got these guys as a UK Festival exclusive, but I am so glad they did. I can’t think of a more deserving team of promoters, and again – I AM SO GLAD THEY DID.

I’ve grown up with Taking Back Sunday, and to see them, from the pit thanks to our AAA passes, was pretty awesome. I won’t lie, I’ve seen them side of stage a few times now, but I can’t help but feel like a giddy teen every single time I do. Adam Lazzara and his microphone spinning antics never get old, and nor does the feeling of acting like a ‘scene kid’ again for one night only… nobody needs to ask me how often these nights are though!

Possibly the most heartwarming part of the whole day/night though was on our way out of the Festival. To be appreciated in the way we were and all our efforts acknowledged with a simple “we know how hard it is doing what you do”. Short, simple, and yet words packed with maximum impact. This respect pretty much summed up the entire experience. Thanks, Merthyr!

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I love South Wales!

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