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By: Andrew Rawlinson

We obviously get send loads of press releases about gigs and festivals all the time but every now and again one crops up and makes us go “Woah, that’s some line up!” and that’s exactly what happened when we got the presser for the inaugural Ritual Festival in Leeds next month. We hastily dispatched Andrew Rawlinson with a bag of questions for promoter Dan Vaughan to find out more.

(((o))): What was the inspiration to begin organizing Ritual festival?

My inspiration behind Ritual was my love for festivals and music, I spend my entire summer at festivals and I don’t think that will ever stop. I’m currently in my 3rd year of Uni and wanted something to do ready for when I graduated.

(((o))): How did you get into booking and promoting shows and what was the first show you put on?

Ritual is my first show, Im part of Deadshot Live Events and have helped friends run festivals, I have helped with some tours and collaboration shows but really this is my first attempt. A lot of people in bands tend to take it up. At one point I was sat rounding waiting for an official route, volunteering and wondering when I would get my shot. There’s no way to get into it really, just go for it.

(((o))): It’s a hell of a lineup you’ve put together, Conan, The Body, Slabdragger & Ohhms all being particular E&D favourites. How hard / easy was it to pull together?

I look at the lineup everyday and wonder how we did it but amazingly enough the bands themselves were easy to book, getting a headliner was pretty tough. I did feel at one point though that no one took notice of us until we actually announced bands like Conan, Full of Hell, The Body and 40WS.

(((o))): Is Ritual a ‘one off’ event or do you have long term plan for it?

Ritual hopefully will continue for as long as it can, we already have started thinking of next years. I want it to grow and become something the fans and bands look forward to every year. I have some crazy ideas for Ritual, I want to make it a full on experience.

(((o))): Does the name’ Ritual’ have any specific significance to the festival (or just to you)?

“Ritual” was in my list of names for the festival from the start, I think listening to Doom until the early hours is to blame for that. I always had something along the darker theme, I wanted to keep it as one word and stay away from adding “Fest” to the end.

(((o))): Damnation Festival is also in Leeds and is well established, what do you believe Ritual offers that Damnation may not?

Damnation and Temples are two festivals I look up to, If I can achieve half of what they have, Ritual would be a success in my eyes. I think Ritual is takes elements from both yet Ive added my own twist on it. I wanted to see some fresh blood play alongside some established favourites, introduce groups of fans both young and old to bands they may not of normally listened to.

(((o))): Why did you choose ‘Canal Mills’ as the venue for the festival?

The decision to go with Canal Mills was made by myself after seeing what Outbreak Festival achieved, the venue was ideal really. We had originally thought of Leeds Uni but it was set to be under refurbishment over that period.

(((o))): How has the lineup evolved from initial planning to the eventual outcome?

If I look back at my first list of bands for the festival, I would go back and slap myself. I took advice based around how much bands pull and what’s best for business. So happy I read and article somewhere basically stating that if you put on a show you would enjoy, if it fails at least you stayed true to yourself and all you lost was money. That theme has stuck with me massively. Since then I would say at least 70% of the lineup from then we managed to get, the rest was some well timed tours and local bands.

(((o))): If money was no object what five bands would you book for next year?

5 Bands that’s a tough one, I will stay away from the big hitters such as Black Sabbath. I think it would have to be Mastodon, Electric Wizard, Behemoth, Ihsahn and Between the Buried and Me. If I could I think I would also try to get Infant Annihilator too.

(((o))): Anything else you want to get off your chest?

Just to give a shout out to Ollie Horner, Tyler Lowe-Fowler and Brett Baker too.

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