Festival Review: Tons of Rock 2024 – Day 3

After Tool’s set the previous evening, the Tons of Rock festival site was closed and everyone told to swiftly make their way to the exits as there was an impending thunderstorm, but we were pleased to discover the next morning that the effects had not been as bad as feared and the ground therefore was not a complete muddy mess. However, the festival organisers had made the sensible decision to put protective plastic flooring in front of the main stage to prevent the slightly soft grass from turning into a mud bath by the end of the day.

SKYND (c) Katie Frost Photography

My first port of call on day three was SKYND on the Vampire stage. I photographed her last year at Bloodstock Festival and she was just as entertaining and fun to shoot as I had remembered. Her sound is described as “industrial rock” and the lyrics of all the songs were based on true crime. Not my vibe thematically, but she did put on a great show, and there were lots of people in the crowd who seemed to be big fans.

Next for me were English rock duo Nova Twins  who I had been looking forward to seeing live for a while. They played a brilliant set in the Moonlight tent stage and were a huge hit with the crowd. Their unique blend of rock, punk, and rap was energetic and fun, and both Amy and Georgia bounced around every inch of the stage.

After Nova Twins I headed back to the Vampire stage to catch another band who had been on my radar for a while but I hadn’t managed to catch live – Empire State Bastard. After missing their set at ArcTanGent last year, I was pleased to see them on the Tons of Rock line-up and made sure I caught their set. Front man Simon Neil (of Biffy Clyro) was a brilliantly engaging performer, and I enjoyed their “grindcore extreme metal”.

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Nova Twins (c) Katie Frost Photography

Next up were English heavy metal legends Orange Goblin in the Moonlight tent stage. Walking into the photopit just before they started their set and looking up at the mics on stage reminded me what a giant of a man vocalist Ben Ward is! The band’s set was a delightful mix of groovy, heavy, and just down-right metal.

Four bands down and I hadn’t yet made my way to the main stage, but that was going to have to wait a little longer as I couldn’t miss the opportunity to photograph Norwegian black metal hero Abbath who was playing on the Vampire stage. I have photographed him a bunch of times before, but he always brings so much joy (in a black metal sense) as his facial expressions and movements are so entertaining and make him really fun to photograph.

Finally I headed to the Scream stage (main stage) for American hardcore punk band Turnstile. To be honest I had not heard of them before, but they were full of beans right from the start, and throughout their set. Photographing them was a bit tricky as they had videos of the crowd and themselves projected onto the screens behind them, but their energy on stage was great to see.

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Abbath (c) Katie Frost Photography

Another band next who I wasn’t very familiar with – Gluecifer – hard rock from Norway. They were really popular, which explained their headline spot on the Vampire stage. I had originally planned to hot-foot it from that stage to the Moonlight stage for I Am Morbid, but to be honest I was quite exhausted so took the time to grab some dinner and have a little sit-down in the press tent.

For me the highlight of the day were of course English heavy metal royalty Judas Priest. From a photography point of view, what I instantly enjoyed was that there was no contract, and we were able to photograph three songs from the photopit. This is becoming quite a rare thing at this festival (and others) so it was very welcome! Judas Priest are a band that I had wanted to see live for a while so I was so excited to be able to watch some of their set up close – including opening track “Panic Attack”. They sounded great, the stage set was colourful and exciting, and Rob Halford seemed to have a different gold / silver / studded jacket for every song. After photographing our allotted three songs by friend and I dumped our gear in the press tent, grabbed a beer and watched some more of their set from the crowd. Despite being 72 years old, his vocals sounded fantastic and it was an honour to be that close to such a bloody legend and such an important figure in the queer metal scene.

All photos by Katie Frost Photography

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