Ever since it started in 2009, Devilstone festival gained a reputation as an annual festival for metalheads. Today, with eight years of experience, it has grown into an event that offers a wide range of genres for a wide group of alternative music lovers. If you visit the Dainuva valley in Lithuania’s Anykščiai region from July 14 – 17 2016, you might just find out what extreme rock’n’roll – the festival’s main slogan – means.
To give you more insight into what’s coming up, Eglė Aleksandravičiūtė, one of the festival’s main organisers, gave Music Export Fund some answers about this year’s event, its future and the current situation of alternative music in Lithuania and its neighbouring countries.
Music Export Fund: The festival is growing and becoming more diverse in genres, so where is Devilstone heading and how does its future look like?
Eglė Aleksandravičiūtė: It is true that every year in Devilstone you can find more and more genres. We try to incorporate various music from psychedelic post-punk to indie rock projects and of course the heavy scene.
Our vision is to dissociate ourselves from the idea of genres themselves and concentrate on contemporary, relevant, significant artists and good content. What that content is – speed metal or some electronic music project – is of lesser importance.
One look at Western alternative music is enough to see significant changes – genres are being mixed, sounds are being experimented with, and visuals and styles are being made. If you listen to metal, you’re not necessarily a metalhead and vice versa – the metal audience is ever more often “won over” by electronic music projects, for example.
In the future, we want to see these trends on the Lithuanian scene as well. We want our listeners to be prepared to discover new music and not to constrain themselves to only one particular genre.
MXF: There are eight bands from Lithuania in this year’s line-up. In your opinion, what’s the situation of alternative music in Lithuania and its neighbouring countries?
Eglė: In the Baltic region, we may not have a lot to choose from in terms of the metal scene. However, in Lithuania we are seeing a rise of rock, post-punk, psychedelic rock and it’s very pleasing. Many new bands with great potential are popping up; bands that don’t want to only play for friends but wish to go on tour, have some management, a label or even an agency. It seems that young artists are finally understanding the principles of the music industry. That’s why I’m hoping that in the future we’ll have local bands headlining festivals abroad.
Similar processes are happening in our neighbouring countries. In Latvia, a rock boom was felt a few years ago. An Estonian band ”Holy Motors“ (who will perform on Friday afternoon) were one of the most interesting and relevant bands that played during this year’s Tallinn Music Week.
MXF: From the perspective of the festival, do you want to reach more visitors from abroad? Do you feel more interest from foreign audiences now than you used to?
Eglė: We have a fair amount of communication with Latvia and the amount of Latvian visitors is growing every year. We’d like to expand to Poland, but it’s a more complicated audience – they are already being tempted by festivals in Germany or Czech Republic.
This year, after announcing the headliners, we got some unexpected attention from France, Belgium and the United Kingdom – it appears that even they rarely get to see such bands as Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Behemoth, Batushka and The Soft Moon in one single event. The more we erase the boundaries between genres, the bigger and more intellectual – or should I say more musically sophisticated? – audiences from abroad we lure in.
MXF: What will the people who decide to skip the festival miss out on the most?
Eglė: I’d like to note that in this year’s Devilstone, the synthesis of art and music genres will be felt as strongly as ever – there will be a photography exhibition, plus art performances with sound created by a music project made exclusively for this festival, plus or visually dynamic shows that will remind you of some kind of ritual. You will not only listen but also see, feel, and experience.
Devilstone festival will take place on 14-17 July, so grab your tent, sleeping bag and prepare to feed your ears and soul with the many forms of the alternative!