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The questions we want answering in 2016

Festivals, tickets, streaming – there's a lot going on in the music world

These are the big issues metal faces going into the new year...

Will smaller festivals continue to thrive?

There’s no doubt our big festivals are looking better than ever this year, with Download (June 10-12) boasting Black Sabbath’s live goodbye, Iron Maiden’s first UK appearance since The Book Of Souls and Rammstein’s second fiery Donington showing. “Rammstein will be bringing a full-on show and we can expect some more tricks, too!” enthuses promoter Andy Copping.

Meanwhile, Crossfaith are the first of what will doubtless be many metal announcements for Reading and Leeds (August 26-28), but in 2016 we’ll also continue to see the rise of smaller fests providing intimate, tailored experiences.

Offering headliners Twisted Sister, Mastodon and Slayer for 2016, plus Behemoth playing The Satanist in full and Satyricon performing Nemesis Divina, Derbyshire’s Bloodstock (August 11-14) is one such festival.

“We’re keeping the numbers at 15,000 – for us it’s all about the quality over quantity,” says director Adam Gregory. “We want to maintain the incredible vibe generated at Bloodstock, and getting too big will put that at risk at the minute. Stable, organic growth is our plan.” Iain Game, organiser of Hevy Fest (August 19-20), which is moving to a new site in Newhaven, Derbyshire, reckons once people have been to a smaller festival, they’re more likely to return. “Lots of festival-goers cut their teeth on the larger festivals, but once you attend a smaller event, you’ll never want to go back,” he says. “At Hevy Fest, there’s a sense of camaraderie and community you just don’t get when you’re in a field with 50,000 other people.”

Perhaps the most specialist event of 2016 is London By Norse (March 17-19), a three-day series of events celebrating Norway’s metal scene. As well as three shows from Enslaved, one from Wardruna, and a performance of Skuggsjá – a suite of songs composed by Wardruna’s Einar Selvik and Enslaved’s Ivar BjØrnson – there will be an art exhibition from Gaahl and a series of talks. Co-organiser Simon Füllemann thinks a festival like theirs with a variety of experiences offers “intimacy, closeness and the spirit of having seen something that is not happening again in the same way, ever”.

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