Hawkwind frontman Dave Brock has been explaining to Prog why this year's Hawkfest will be the very last, explaining his fears that the "big business" infrastructure of live music is threatening non-profit events.
This year's event takes place at at the historic Winter Gardens in Morecambe as well as Johnny's in Marine Road, between September 9-11 and Hawkwind will be joined this year by Soft Machine, Curved Air, Arthur Brown, The Blackheart Orchestra and former member Tim Blake, with Ginger of The Wildhearts who will be appearing with his band The Sinners, UK post-punk outfit The Membranes, Son Of Man, Tosh, Prime Sinister and The USA's Dust Mice also appearing.
"After 20 years, this is the last ever Hawkfest because it is no longer viable to run a non-commercial event in this world of ever increasing commercialisation," Brock explains. "Our aim was never profit, but was to keep ticket prices low, attain the best possible experience for the fans and provide value for money, whilst putting on family friendly, creative, musical events.
"Despite the fact that most artists and musicians are supportive of this ideal and are happy to join with us to recreate the old free festival spirit, the infrastructure of such events has become big business. We are faced with escalating production costs in an industry which is often driven by profit to such an extent, that the atmosphere and magic of the occasion is lost.
"Without increasing ticket prices significantly, it’s impossible to continue to stage the intimate “happenings” which made Hawkfests so special. Sadly I think we will see more and more small festivals being squeezed out of the event market."
Hawkwind launched Hawkfest back in 2002 as an attempt recreate the atmosphere of festivals of old, as an alternative to the currently heavily commercialised events, for the band's fanclub members. Hawkwind were joined by Astralasia, Litmus, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Spacehead and Tim Blake among others.
This year's event event hopes to help secure the future of Morecambe's Winter Gardens as a music venue. Children up to 12 years are free of charge but must be accompanied by an adult and children's tickets must be booked at the same time as ordering adult tickets. Under 18s will not be permitted in Johnny's after 9pm, but are fine to be in The Winter Gardens.