Post 2011, the ever changing Hardcore/Metal landscape wasn’t looking all that good. Even though RAMfest was flourishing, we lost Seasons Wither and then venue after the other closed down.
From the ashes rose a host of – enter hardcore sounding name here – fests and events. Some of the organisers of these events saw the dwindling scene as an opportunity to take advantage of the small but steady live music hungry crowd and the gig hungry bands, by offering below par sound, lights, venues, prices and at times lineups, all just to make a quick buck. Just really shoddy shows. And then using poor turn outs or global warming or any other bullshit excuse not to pay the bands.
Other organisers however, wanted to help save the scene. Wanted to continue doing what other events like Seasons Wither have done. Wanted to give bands a good platform to showcase themselves and allow them to be entertainers. And to keep the Hardcore/Metal crowd entertained by giving them quality over quantity and surprising them with an occasional international band.
One of these organisers was and is Duncan Bell and his team at Turning Tricks Entertainment who were well known and trusted in the scene for representing and managing artists like Knave and Chromium. In 2012 they launched Krank’d Up Fest.
From the start it was evident that they wanted to go big by offering a lineup of 28 bands including big hitters like Fuzigish, Pestroy, and Newtown Knife Gang for just R100 at the door. The event had its hiccups, including a power failure, but all in all it was a success. However, if it would be a once off event like the others that came and went before it remained to be seen.
© Chris Acheson, 2012
Yet, we didn’t have to wait long and by November 2012 they posted the status on Facebook “Planning has already started for the 2013 Concert. “Bigger and better.” Duncan Bell and his team were only getting started. By going for the quality over quantity approach, they didn’t go out to book more bands, but scaled down from 28 to 22 and got Australians, Dead Letter Circus and New Zealanders, Decortica to play alongside more local big hitters like The Narrow, Facing The Gallows, Black Cat Bones, Pestroy, and The Drift.
This time there was no question if there would be another Krank’d Up Fest. There was also no question of Turning Tricks Entertainment’s intentions. To keep building the scene they so dearly love by booking and hosting quality bands and events that could contend with RAMfest. Even Decortica noted in their tour diary how Duncan, although busy, made time to connect with them in person and share his excitement about their set. They also noted how passionate he was about the industry.
It’s the small things.
Dead Letter Circus & Krank’d Team
And now, for the third year running and about two weeks away, Krank’d Up 2014 awaits. Featuring two internationals that inspired a lot of our own local bands. Americans, Unearth and Canadians, Protest the Hero. And like all previous Krank’d Up Fests, it will be held at Sundowners. Who since 2013 also started hosting “Battle for Krank’d Up” events where the local bands stand a chance of playing such an illustrious event.
Recently, Sundowners suffered some minor damage from a fire. And if you looked at all the messages of support, Spencer (venue owner) and his team received, you would know that Sundowners isn’t just another venue. It’s a collection of memories of everyone who has ever walked through its doors. Every inch from the walls to the floor have a story to tell and that is why people are so attached to it. Not only because it is one of the last good alternative venues, but because it has become a part of everyone in the scene.
No one could imagine Krank’d Up being held anywhere else but if the event continues to grow like it is now, they will eventually have to find a venue with a bigger capacity. But for now, let’s appreciate and enjoy these star crossed lovers of festival and venue.
Take a look at a few highlights from Krank’d Up 2013.
For more details, check out the event on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/events/297606100408586/
Words by Gareth Davies