Astral Festival have announced the first wave of acts set to play their inaugural festival in 2019.
Taking place on Saturday 6th July, the festival will take over SWX, Rough Trade and The Lanes.
The festival, presented by Stolen Body Records and previously known as Bristol Psych Fest, has exclusively shared with us the first wave of acts for the 2019 edition.
Japanese dark noise lords, Bo Ningen top a heady bill that also features Salford heavy-hitters, Gnod, garage-rock legends, King Khan & The Shrines and the almighty Bristol noise enthusiasts, The Naturals.
Also joining them will be London’s rock n roll terrors, Creatures, French psych wizards, Slift and Bristol’s exciting experimental project, EP/64.
We sat down with Astral Festival organiser and Stolen Body Records owner, Alex Studer to discuss the ins and outs of running such a festival.
Q: Bristol Psych Fest has been given a mighty looking revamp into Astral Festival. What were the main factors behind making this decision?
Alex: I didn’t like being trapped under the umbrella of ‘psych fest’. They pop up everywhere around the world and it’s great but I feel it restricts us. You can hear people saying “that‘s not psych” and I just thought, well this is my festival, my vision and so let’s give it its own name. It’s still very much a psych fest, but I feel I can stick whatever I want on there and really give this festival its own character.
Q: Psych Fest had become an integral part of the Bristol Festival calendar. With that in mind, how would you like to approach Astral Festival, and what direction would you like to pursue that perhaps differs from the way Psych Fest was run?
Alex: Every year I try to make it bigger and better. Last year I changed to a new, three-venue festival and so this year I want to make that better than last year. I want everyone to feel comfortable, have fun and not feel like I’m ripping them off for any reason. I’d love to have a venue where I can be in control of what drinks we serve, security and things like that, but that will come in the long run. That’s not to say anything against the current venues; I’d just like to have more control over everything, so it’s truly curated by Stolen Body Records.
Q: Bristol unquestionably has an enthusiasm for all manner of underground and esoteric sounds. What is it about holding the festival in such a city that speaks to you?
Alex: I guess it just works. Everyone’s very open-minded, so you can stick just about anything in front of a Bristol crowd and they’ll give it a go. That said, the festival is intended to also bring people in from outside of Bristol to get a taste of what we have to offer. We support the local artists and artists on the label, obviously, so people get to see things they might not otherwise see if it were in another city.
Q: The line-up already embodies that ethos for eclectic and vibrant curation. What is it about running a festival such as this that is so exciting to you?
I dont know anymore! I love it and I hate it. It’s an incredibly stressful thing to put together, but when it finally falls into place it’s very rewarding. I think if I didn’t have to deal with booking agents, my life would be a lot easier. I like to stick music on that I like and sometimes that’s not all the same genre. I’ve had a lot of help from Nathan (Bad Luck Magazine/Captain Süün) and all the stage managers from last year – Diego (Old England) who just became a Dad – congrats again man! Ash (Snuff Lane) and Danny (who runs Pull Print and prints up all our merch). It’s been a blessing having these guys; so much stress was taken off me last year, I can’t imagine doing it without them.
Astral Festival takes place on 6th July 2019, tickets are available from here. For the full line-up, view the poster below.