New England Metal and Hardcore Festival Follow-up with MassConcerts’ Scott Lee

Posted by on April 29, 2009

Metal Insider checked in with MassConcerts figurehead Scott Lee after another wildly successful New England Metal and Hardcore Festival and Metal Insider Summit. Scott shares his thoughts on show promotion, putting together lineups, hippies and whether or not he possibly, maybe, may have liked the NEMHF merch this year.

How would you rate 2009 NEMHF to previous years? It was another sell out this year, so how else (besides financially) would you measure success compared to previous years?

Metalfest keeps getting better and better. This year we had the best looking merch we’ve ever sold. I also think we had a fine blend of metal and hardcore bands. This year’s feedback has been very, very good!

Did you try any new things in designing the fest this year? New set ups, activities, etc? What worked/didn’t work?

This year we brought back the 3rd stage at Chasers Lounge, and that went over very well. It gave us a chance to feature some good local and regional bands. Who knows, maybe one day one of those bands will headline NEMHF!

Did you try anything new in promoting the fest? What do you think is the most effective way of promoting large-scale festivals like this?

Everything is effective…print, radio, postcards, flyers. Everything works! It’s all very important.

2009 was a much more top-heavy lineup than previous years, with headliners like Lamb of God and All that Remains being supported by mostly up-and-coming acts. Previous years have seen much stronger acts in the middle of the lineup, but not necessarily someone as big as LOG headlining. Was this an intentional move, and do you see this model being repeated next year?

It really wasn’t intentional. You go after the biggest bands you can. There is so much involved [in deciding performers]…what’s hot, what’s not. Who has new releases out, who is having reunion tours, etc.

2009’s NEMHF had a unique situation – a show as big, if not bigger, taking place down the street as Grateful Dead played at the DCU Center. Do you think the invasion of hippies in an around the festival affected the show in any way? Got any good hippie stories?

Yes, I definitely think it was good humor to watch the dirty idiots walking around with one finger in the air, repeating “one” over and over again. (Ed. Note – Metal Insider learned that weekend that apparently this is how hippies let people know they need a ticket.) I also think hippieville (Ed. Note – a makeshift shantytown in the Palladium parking lot, where hippie wares were traded.) was interesting…it looked like Mash #4077. One of the sound guys went out to his car to grab something, and his car was covered with blankets and they had a tent set up over it, and they were selling paraphernalia off of it. He was not happy, to say the least.

You also organize the Rock and Shock festival at the Palladium in October. What can we expect this year?

I am only one of the promoters involved with Rock and Shock. Gina Migliozzi is the other. You should expect tons of vendors, and plenty of horror movie stars to satisfy the horror fans out there. Plus tons of great bands!

You were a panelist for the second year in a row at the Metal Insider Summit at NEMF. What did you take away from it this year?

A bottle of water… just kidding! I learned a lot when Brian Slagel polled the crowd about how they find out about new music, whether through MySpace, magazines, ads etc.

What can we expect for NEMHF 12? Bigger bands? More Days? Bigger Sponsors?

Yes, yes and yes! But I don’t think we’ll be able to outdo ourselves with merch, though! We did good this year!

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