We've had some gargantuan announcements over the years at Desertfest, but today's beats them all as we bring you a massive 27 bands, more specially curated stages and those all important day splits - with day tickets on sale too.
First up, we're rounding off our most diverse group of headliners in the festival's history with Belgium's Amenra as they celebrate their 20th year of ethereal heaviness at The Electric Ballroom on Saturday 4th May. Amenra's mission statement has always been to create music which leans more forcefully into the influences of the heart and the soul. Over the years, that goal has been achieved via a sound which, whilst rooted to post-metal, has delighted in straying into the realms of doom, sludge and hardcore to name but a small scattering of the paths Amenra have walked.
Through their countless releases, and their hugely respected respected Church or Ra collective, to say that Amenra have a wide reaching influence on the world of atmospheric heavy is a huge understatement.
As part of the 20 years of Amenra celebrations, we will also be playing host to the intimate CHVE x Syndrome at The Underworld on Sunday. This special event sees the solo projects of Amenra’s founding members - Colin H. van Eeckhout (vocals) and Mathieu Vandekerckhove (lead guitar) - collide; leaning more heavily into droning tones and much more personal and delicate than their work as a band, CHVE x Syndrome will be an experience unlike any other over the Desertfest weekend.
We would be proud to have Amenra headline Desertfest on any year, but to have them on the year they celebrate their 20th anniversary, and to have CHVE x Syndrome in the mix too, makes it all the more special for us and the band themselves. CHVE had this to say about his dual appearances:
“We realise that what we have is special, maybe one of a kind. That is why we want to celebrate it with you. and Thank you. For helping us persevere.
Throughout the year we will do a select amount of special chosen shows and Desertfest London will be one of those moments where it all comes together, where we all come together. And persevere."
But that’s not all for this announcement. Rounding off the main stages for year are Switzerland’s Monkey 3. Back in 2014, Monkey 3 were, for many, the introduction to the Desertfest weekend as they opened The Electric Ballroom on the Friday; and what an introduction that was. Well, now they're back for our 2019 edition, returning to The Electric Ballroom on Saturday 4th May and we should all expect to be blown away by the band’s psych mastery
Our brothers at The Human_Disease_Promo / WhenPlanetsCollide Stage once again return to Desertfest, this year taking place on Saturday 4th May at The Underworld. Staggerin’ Matt says of the stage:
”The goal of the HDP/WPC stage each year at Desertfest is to bring a mix of no nonsense, heavy as is out there, earth moving bands to the festival. Those which we not only dig personally, but who bring a dynamic and sonic force to ramp up the proceedings. For 2019 we’ve assembled another motley crue of riff rollin, mind twisting, and sense engulfing bands to tear your heads clean off, as well as some to simply start a goddam party!! Topping the bill, the riff muscle of Savannah, Georgia is brought back to The Underworld by the mighty bruisers Black Tusk. These guys have had a rough ride and we’re stoked that they’re still at it, so it’s an honour to welcome them to the festival. Dropping in straight underneath we’re living the doom dream of olde with Chicago legends in The Skull. Glasgow gives us two offerings this year in the form of explosive riff n roll filth-party heads Acid Cannibals, and to lower the tone whilst severely twisting some melons we also welcome their fellow city dwellers Headless Kross. As ever we chose to open up with a cataclysmic attack, hence why we’ve invited Brighton’s bleak hardcore oblivionist’s Kalloused to set the day into fittingly venomous motion. All this, plus another special band TBA soon means another heavy as hell year for the HDP/WPC stage at Desertfest to sink ya teeth into. Bring ear plugs, it’s gonna be a floor shaker!!”
We’re also welcoming a new member to the family this year with the RidingEasy Stage, showcasing a taste of what RidingEasy Records has to offer. Headlining the stage are Cincinnati, Ohio’s Electric Citizen who bring their time tested dose of heavy psych and mesmerising live clout to the weekend. Portland, Oregon’s R.I.P. meanwhile show off their dirty, sleazy, no-nonsense ass kicking brand of rock ‘n’ roll. L.A.’s Zig Zags wear their influences on their sleeve, but when those influences are every great band that falls between Sabbath and Wizard, that’s a pretty sweet deal. Doomed out psych is the order of the day with Alastor who are yet another great band from where else but Sweden? Finally, rounding off the Riding/Easy stage are Blackwater Holylight who are more than comfortable eschewing heavy in favour of slowed down and tripped out.
Elsewhere across the weekend, The Secret hit you like a clawhammer to the skull with their blackened crust to close out our Underworld announcements.
Friday at The Black Heart takes shape today with five additions. First up, fuzz explorers Skraeckoedlan are set to headline the stage, hot on the heels of their most accomplished offering yet, the recently released Eorþe. Blackpool’s Blanket have been creating sweeping Post-Rock soundscapes for nigh-on four years, and this year bring their sonic soundscapes to Desertfest. Groove metal is provided by One For Sorrow, who bring a uniquely English take on a style known for US masters such as Down, Crowbar and COC. High Priestess’ brand of enchanting, bewitching doom metal, filtered through a haze of psych and vintage rock will have The Black Heart bouncing too, as will 1968 who, as their name suggests, are all about those tripped out solos and chugging psych.
Three more added to Saturday’s Black Heart Stage, the first among them being Zed who drive toward catchy hooks, aggressive riffs and songs that play your eardrums like the punching bags they are. Joining them are Psychlona with their heads-down, chugging lysergic heaviness which takes no prisoners and pulls in the classic stoner rock. Tapping into classic heavy rock ideals and giving them a much-needed modern kick in the ass, Worshipper will make their Desertfest London appearance after a quick stop at our cousin’s gaff at DF NYC.
Sunday also sees new names for The Black Heart; to begin with are Surya whose experimental sludge/doom evidenced on 2016’s Apocalypse A.D. will be a singular highlight of the festival. Straight from the Steel City, Kurokuma bring a chugging, metallic slab of sludgy goodness to Desertfest. The blackened swagger of Liverpool’s Video Nasties makes a welcomed arrival at Desertfest this year too, with Mountain Caller rounding out The Black Heart with their long-form atmospheric progressive metal.
AND, if that wasn’t enough for you greedy lot, we have one more treat to announce; our first afterparty, which will see The Shrine’s psyche’d out NWOAHM scoop your brains back into your head after Om have blown them out at The Electric Ballroom on Friday.
One last thing too; with the day splits come individual day tickets, which you can find at the links below, alongside our remaining weekend tickets.
So all that - 27 new bands, new stages, day splits and day tickets - and we’re still not quite done, with our picks for each day at The Dev still to come. It’s already shaping up to be our biggest year yet at Desertfest. Grab your tickets below.