Bolt Fest 2015
After the success of Festwich this year we have two new tributes festivals, the first of which was held in Bolton’s Queens park. After a slightly late gate opening, not that anyone minded as the sun was out, Made in Wonderland are already on the 2nd stage when we arrive. Playing hard rock in the vein of bands like Faster Pussycat and early Guns N' Roses, they're a fun band to watch and an excellent opener.
Over on the main stage 182 cover Blink 182 and are ok but not being of fan of the band they cover it's back to the small stage. It's around here that a problem with the layout of the park becomes apparent. The site is basically a large rectangle with the two stages at opposite ends, which leads to a lot of sound bleeding from one stage to the other and unless you are right inside the 2nd tent you can hear both at the same time.
Next up on the originals stage is Peur an alternative band who didn’t strike a cord with me and from the few people watching not many other people either, so off down the other end of the park we go for some Pantera from Pantera UK.
Back on the small stage are the best original band of the day and certainly the biggest draw Bigfoot, a rock band with a distinctly American feel. Despite how good they are theres a lack of crowd again, at last years Festwich there was a mix between originals and cover bands , so people hung around after the cover band, or maybe more people from Bolton who attend tribute festivals prefer covers over originals.
Reet Hot Chili Peppers do a decent job of impersonating the Chilis on the main stage apart from the vocals which don’t quite gel with the funk style, maybe you need a Californian accent to make it sound right. Stuck Between Stories are a pop punk band from Wigan who are not bad but their style isn’t my thing so (you guessed it) back to the main stage we go via the beer tent which there's three of and at no stage (unlike Festwich) is there queue.
Ozzbest are one of the best received bands on the mains stage and deservedly so but I’d have preferred some more Ozzy era tracks over the set heavy Sabbath stuff. To make up for it they play the songs slightly heavier than the originals which just adds to the set. Arriving back at the 2nd stage just in time to utter the words these sound good before the singer says thank you good night, oh… Arcadia Versus play some very average jangly college rock that doesn’t interest me and besides the AC/DC experience are about to tread the main stage having seen a few 'DC cover bands now you realise with their back catalogue it's hard to get it wrong and the experience get it just right with a Angus impersonator and a spot on singer, best cover act of the day.
Sky Valley Mistress are a close 2nd to Bigfoot and another crowd pleaser; with a rock groove style and an excellent singer. Cale Lane are a bit on the intense side of metal core with two dueling singers/growlers, definitely worth checking out if you like that style. Fu Fighters cover all the Foo hits you’d expect and some tracks you won’t which only adds to their excellent set.
Natustro are an interesting alternative rock band and perfect way for us to end what was an excellent sunny day of rock, which thanks to a lack of trains between Salford and Preston for the summer was one day we had to cut short-ish…. Roll on Festwich.
Words: Ian Cassidy | Photos: Phil Goddard