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Siege of Limerick – Interview

Next weekend sees the latest installment of Ireland’s premier metal festival – the Siege of Limerick. The lineup simply says it all.

And yet we’re going to say more.

Specifically to organizer John from Bad Reputation – the promoters that run the whole show – who’s taken five minutes out from that very special madness in the hours before the big day to have a quick chat with MI. Thanks to Ken Coleman for the photos.


What strikes me about the Siege is its popularity within the area. It looks packed from photos of the previous ones. How have you gone about building it, and what has been the key to ensuring people look forward to it locally, and now beyond?

The Siege does appear to boggle the minds of many – ‘how does it work?’ and ‘What? Where? Limerick? Really?’ All this confusion, and in some cases cynicism, I think helped in some way to bolster the interests to come and bear witness to the ‘spectacle’ over the years.

Limerick always had a small but somewhat disparate metal scene, seven-ish years ago we sought to cement it together a bit and the Siege began and built from there. It started as a very provincial affair in those early days (our smaller venue days) – locals, the bands and the occasionally lost Dub filled out that venue just fine. But then that venue closed so we had to evolve or die.

It’s been phenomenal watching it grow. We found a home in Dolans four years ago and we had to put a far more conscious effort into making it work on a larger scale. We significantly upped the production value and lineup through hunting down more sponsorship money and pushing the concept relentlessly.

As a result we’ve been able to expand the day to draw acts from further afield and bring in some pretty savage headliners and more established national and international acts.

It’s true we still have a very strong local following, but with past few Sieges we’ve been able to grow interest nationally and even more recently internationally – granted this international draw angle is still very nebulous, but it’s no less encouraging.

But specifically from the local standpoint I think it’s this national draw and the pilgrimages made as such that has cemented their interests – it’s generally seen as a good day out amongst those with any sort of interest in live music in Limerick, and we’re glad to have that accolade.

The lineups then are a key factor in garnering interest from the East and the North of the land. These are always well thought through, and a conscious effort is made to reflect both our own personal interests and also what seems to be going down well nationally and internationally – we’re picky with Siege lineups and for this we’ve lauded by some but equally shunned by others for being somehow ‘elitist’ – you can’t please everyone, it’s not our job to give every whisp of a metal band in this country with a youtube video a big gig, we may have strong community values but we’re not a bootcamp or a charity.

Equally though this is not say we don’t give young bands a chance, there’s always ‘youngfellas’ on the bill and we’ve seen significant growth in younger metal fans in this area, who really do revel in the Siege experience. Allowing under18’s in till 7pm has really helped grow the underground metal scene down here – the young patch brigade is out in force.

How on earth have you made entry free?

Sponsorship through a number of sources, Tuborg at the moment and Jagermeister, all attained through the support of Dolans, that and a lot of moaning and meetings. We do this event not for profit at our end and I think many bands, given our track record of Sieges, understand the community ethos we have about running it all. Merchandise helps cover some expenses too.

It is a bit like the loaves and fishes at times and it’s always tight come Siege day. For sure some day we won’t be able to do it for free any more but we’ll keep it going like this for another bit.

It’s a killer lineup once again, how hard was it to try top Primordial from the last time?

I think Primordial was a special Siege for everyone, with them and Mourning Beloveth on the top of the bill it was always going to packed house. This time around we looked to go back to more of the lineup we had for our 10th one and bring a real mix of styles. We’re delighted to have the likes of Malthusian and Hexxed coming to Limerick for the first time. This lineup wasn’t so much a matter of topping the last one it was more trying to keep up the standard, and I hope we’ve achieved that.

Who are you most looking forward to yourself, and what would you say about the diversity of the bill?

Cruciamentum, I’ve wanted them to play the Siege for a while now but it was never feasible. I saw them with Necros Christos a few years back and they were the band of the night for me, been a fan ever since.

The bill over all is a collective effort between Ciaran and myself and encompasses both our tastes, we’re both into different stuff – he’s a proggy hippie and I’m into the crusty, odd and grimmer stuff.

We both agree on traditional heavy metal though, if we didn’t all would be lost! Thrown in then are few recommendations we’ve gotten, the odd younger acts, and some more obscure stuff. We’ve had From The Bogs Of Aughiska play twice before and I just love the atmosphere they create. That and this year we have a third stage.

This third stage has allowed to dedicate some more space to acts around the edges of the metal world like Lynched, who have seen quite a bit of support on this site, and rightly too.

Were you tempted for a big name headliner of a level above the likes of Primordial – is that something ever on the cards, or do you plan to stay in this ball park for the time being?

Primordial, recognition wise, will be the biggest we can do with the current format of the festival. We have ideas about how to expand the festival, but we’re going to cautious about the whole thing.

What is the single biggest headache of organising a festival?

Budgets – money, money, money must be funny.

The bottom line – get there.

Interview by Earl Grey ::: 16/10/14

  1. I’ve been down to it three or four times now and have a blast every time. Looking forward to playing at it.

  2. open face surgery Says:

    7 years. Fuck. Where does the time go?

  3. Vile Regression Says:

    I’m honoured to say that we’ve played a couple of Sieges now, even going back as far as the Baker Place days, and it’s clear that The Siege has become such a big deal because of the hard graft put in by John and the rest of the Bad Reputation lads.

    They’re extremely organised and professional and such nice guys too, they deserve all the success.

    Can’t wait for the 26th!

  4. My favourite day(s) of the year. Whole heaps of messin’ and craic!

  5. One thing I love about siege is that almost everyone comes to it from all parts of the country so it’s really good for catching up with people you’ve not seen in a while.

    ..discovering some new bands is always great.. like Zatokrev etc

    ..and the fact that its fookin FREE \m/.(>.<).\m/

  6. Really looking forward to this-should be deadly.what way does it work for admission?will it be full house and closed doors early or am I safe enough getting down in the afternoon?

  7. They will keep letting people in all the time but if a venue becomes full they’ll operate person leaves-person can come in type thing for just that area. This happened last April during Primordials set. So if it’s looking really really full then just make sure you head down to the stage the band you want to see is on good and early.

  8. Cheers mate

  9. The last one was my first time going. Rare aul craic.

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