So the first Radar Festival took place this year and Rocksins decided to pop along to see what would unfold.
The Venue, Casino, Guildford, is not normally somewhere you’d expect to go and listen to tech metal (or any metal as a fact) in the area. This became very apparent on the exit of the venue at night with locals expecting to head in, hit some jager bombs and go dance to some cheesy pop, only to end up getting told this weekend is not the norm. The second you were through the doors and up the stairs, it was apparent this weekend was going to be a very welcome, needed change of scene for many in the area. Guildford used to not be that far to travel to Alton for Tech Fest, but since moving away Radar Festival looked set to pick up where they left off.
The venue itself was split into two levels, the main stage as you walk in with massive bar area to the right. Downstairs had a smaller stage, but plenty of room to spill over into on the right with a bar and merch area for those who don’t like getting too packed into crowds.
Radar decided to split the stage times between the first and second stage, my favourite way of doing it (Ah I miss Sonisphere) so seeing all 31 of the bands on the lineup was possible, great value for money for the very agreeable sum of £60ish.
Highlights of the Friday include Visionist (7) fully awakening the crowd and showing a glimpse of just how good the weekend would be. A packed out second stage for Toska (9) who’s instrumental songs seemed to hit a note with everyone in the crowd loving what they hear and Monuments (9) with new singer Andy Cizek showing Monuments still have the power to whip the crowd in a frenzy.
Saturday highlights include Sithu Aye (8) who had to endure some technical difficulties at the start of his set, turning it around and really melting some faces with his guitar, Car Bomb (8) who showed us just how brutal their blend of technical death metal and Djent is and Animals As Leaders (8) ending the weekend with the use of an impressive laser show with lights hitting the chandeliers on the ceiling (classy venue!) and showing us just what experimental progressive metal really is.
Overall it was a mixed bag for me, on the one hand knowing its vital to support new music in the area, but at the same time only knowing a handful of songs by some of the artists playing, even after a spotify run through of songs before the weekend meant I didn’t get into some of the bands quite as much as I hoped to. That having been said, speaking to the crowd across the weekend, it showed just how good and needed a festival like Radar is in our area. (8/10).
Radar Festival 2020 is already on sale – with the first bands announced for next year including Hacktivist, our favourites Time, The Valuator, Toska returning to follow up their fantastic performance mentioned above, Plini, Humanity’s Last Breath, The Physics House Band and Dirty Loops making their UK live debut. Tickets are on sale from Seetickets – the early bird tickets have already sold out.