ENVOYEZ VOS INFOS :

CONTACT [at] RADIOMETAL [dot] FR

Interviews   

The Love Boat


Just like most of the excellent decisions taken by your humble servant through his own life, the adventure of the 70 000 Tons of Metal started as a joke after an evening of great boozing. Next January, this idea will finally turn into real. Instead of freezing your balls off in Europe, why wouldn’t you come on a Carribean boat trip, among with at least forty metal bands (Death Angel, Epica … ) ? Andy Piller, the organizer of this first ever metal cruise, has frankly answered our questions concerning the difficulties and the backstage organisation of this one-of-a-kind journey at sea …

Event : 70 000 Tons Of Metal
Dates : From the 24th to the 28th of January, 2011
Journey : Miami – Cozumel – Miami
Website : www.70000tons.com


« One day about three years ago I was sitting with a couple of friends on my balcony having a few beers. I obviously had a few to many because I asked: ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to charter one of these and put a heavy metal festival on?’ That was when the idea of 70000TONS OF METAL was born. »

Radio Metal : Can you tell us about the genesis of the project?

Andy Piller :From my apartment in Vancouver BC I can see the cruise ship pier. One day about three years ago I was sitting with a couple of friends on my balcony having a few beers. I obviously had a few to many because I asked: « Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to charter one of these and put a heavy metal festival on? » That was when the idea of 70000TONS OF METAL was born.

Before starting this project, did you have any experience in organizing concerts, and more particularly festivals?

The last ten years I was mainly working as tour-manager for various bands all around the world. Before that I have been a concert promoter for many years and organized several hundred shows. So it is safe to say that I know the business.

Most bands in the line-up are on the same labels (Century Media, Nuclear Blast…). Did you use the fact that most of them know one another very well to spread the information and compose the line-up quickly?

No, the record companies were not involved in this process, however due to my many years in the industry I know most of the booking agents and many artist managers personally. That certainly helped.

What was the reaction of the bands you contacted for this first edition? Were they immediately receptive?

Most bands were very excited about the idea from the moment on we approached them. Only very few artists declined the offer to participate, mainly because they did not like the idea to be “locked up” with 2,000 fans for 4 days on a boat. I can totally understand that this is not something for everyone. Because while at sea, there is no-where to go. You are stuck on that boat. The only option would be to lock yourself up in your cabin. But that does not make any sense. So it only really appeals to artists that actually like to hang out and party with their fans.

Booking all these bands during four days must have been a challenge. What was your approach to convince them? Did you present this cruise as a way for them to have a few days’ holiday? And a holiday in the sun, in the middle of January?

In most cases it did not need much convincing. Most bands loved the idea from the beginning on. Over all the ones coming from northern countries. Who wouldn’t want to go the Caribbean instead of being stuck with snow, rain and cold weather?


«Only very few artists declined the offer to participate, mainly because they did not like the idea to be “locked up” with 2,000 fans for 4 days on a boat.»
What difficulties does organizing a festival like 70,000 Tons of Metal represent, compared to a « regular » festival? Organizing the cruise must be a lot of work, since you have to offer various activities to the passengers when there are no shows…

Oh there are going to be shows from the morning until very, very late at night. Apart from that there will be work shops with some of the musicians on board, meet and greets, metal karaoke, we will have open mic nights and so on. Apart from that there are many activities that are provided by the cruise line like sports activities etc. The main challenge is that all this is takes place on a much more confined space compared to a land based festival. Bands have to share equipment and in some cases their crews etc.

I guess that, given the revolutionary dimensions of the project, you can’t really rely on previous experiences… since there are none!

There are other music cruises that cater to different audiences, over all for Blues and Classic Music for many years. So some of the aspects of running such an event can be learned form those, but of course no one has done it with Metal before. However all my crew are industry veterans that have all worked dozens of years in the live music industry, working on thousands of shows, literally. So I don’t expect any problems we are not able to handle.

On the other hand, are there any aspects that are simpler to deal with?

Simpler I wouldn’t say, but the uniqueness of the event somewhat helped promote it. We have booking from all continents. Would we put the same billing on a normal festival I don’t know if we would have people form all continents coming. What really surprised us is the amount of bookings we get from Australia. Not only that this is really not around the corner, but over all there it is Summer in January, so the “I hate the cold whether, I want to go in the sun”-factor does not count.


«Don’t forget that all meals including room service and stuff like this is included, you are sleeping in a floating luxury hotel etc., so it’s actually quite cheap. […] Last but not least let me mention that alcohol prices on board are actually quite moderate since we are in international waters and therefore it’s all duty-free.»
Given the very nature of the project, you can’t really “start small” and expand gradually. Since this is a cruise, it will have to be very impressive from the very start. How did you manage to convince your partners and the promoters?

You are right, you can’t start small. There are other music cruises around that charter only a part of the ship and the rest of the passengers are normal cruise guests. That may work with Blues or Country music but not with Heavy Metal. I don’t think it would go down very well to have 1000 headbangers and 1000 normal cruise gusts incl. Families and Retirees on the same ship. The biggest challenge was certainly to secure the financing of the event. I can’t say how much, but we are talking seven digits here. Taking into account that this project is three years in the making shows you that it was not so easy.

How did you choose the departure point for the cruise?

Already from the start we were focused on the Caribbean since we wanted to do it in the Winter time and the Caribbean is the perfect place to be in January. Not to hot, but also not cold. There are only a handful of departure cities that make sense. Looking at the fact that we have bands and fans that have to fly in from all over the world, Miami was the logic choice. Last but not least it was a marketing decision, Miami is just more “sexy” then Fr. Lauderdale or Tampa for example.

Do you intend to renew the experience in the following years? If yes, will the city of departure change every year?

Unless a very good reason comes around why we should not leave from Miami, that’s where it’s going to start and end also in the following years. I can however very well imagine that we will sail a different route and make different stops for future editions.

When will the line-up of the festival be complete?

The bands will be announced over time. Expect to have the complete line up before the end of the year. That’s all I can say at this point.

The cruise will take place in January, a few months before the summer festivals. You can therefore avoid all competition with these much less expensive festivals. The bands are also more available at this time that during the summer. Was this choice of date intentional?

Yes, avoiding competition with the summer festivals was one of the main reasons for choosing that time-frame. I do however not see us as overly expensive. Don’t forget that all meals including room service and stuff like this is included, you are sleeping in a “floating luxury hotel etc., so it’s actually quite cheap. If you would go to a big city and stay 4 nights in a good hotel, go and eat at restaurants every day and go to see a show every night you likely spend the same or more. Last but not least let me mention that alcohol prices on board are actually quite moderate since we are in international waters and therefore it’s all duty-free.

It’s time for the stupid question of the interview: the goal of the festival is to party during 4 days in a very rock’n’roll atmosphere. Are you sure you’ll be able to transport enough alcohol on the ship?

Luckily this is the responsibility of the cruise line. Rest assured we will have enough alcohol on board, not only don’t we want to have a mutiny on our hands, hahaha, but it’s in the cruise line’s best interest because the more booze they sell the more money they make.




Laisser un commentaire

  • Arrow
    Arrow
    Alice Cooper @ Paris
    Slider
  • 1/3