Hathersage Gala 2023

Lightening at Hathersage Gala

We were delighted to be invited back to play at Hathersage Gala in the Saturday night headline spot. Having played this event the previous year I had a good handle on the layout of the site and was able to navigate my gear laden car through the crowds to the back of the marquee. I’d unloaded the gear and started plugging stuff in when I was approached by couple of lads who introduced themselves as members the opening act – The Levitation. I told them to load their gear onto the stage and I’d give them a shout when I was ready for sound check.

The Levitation

The Levitation performed two sets of mostly original material interspersed with a couple of covers. Their version of Dick Dale’s Miserlou was outstanding. They are clearly destined for bigger things. Rather than try and describe their sound I recommend that you visit their Spotify page.


The forecast was pretty bleak with thunderstorms predicted but when these hadn’t materialised by 8pm we assumed that we had probably got away with it. How wrong we were. The heavens opened at around 8:45pm and water started to drip through on to the speakers. Purple lightening fractured the night as the rain intensified. Then the power went out. For about 10 minutes it seemed like the event was lost and that the weather had won.

Fortunately the audience contained a number of electricians who were able to work out where the issue was and how to fix it. With speakers repositioned and the marquee holding up we were able to proceed with the first set.

First Set

The rain had the effect of driving the entire field of festival goers into the marquee which meant we had a pretty full audience from the off. By the end of the first set we had the start of a mosh pit going. I had prepared a “Guitar Hits” playlist for the interval. This was by and large for vibe maintenance, but also had a market research aspect that I thought could help us decide what to add to our repertoire in the future. I slung this on and let the laptop DJ while we took a break.

Second Set

Given the response to the first set, and knowing that we keep back the good shit for the second set, we were genuinely concerned about audience safety. As usual Mr Brightside, Chelsea Dagger and Sex on Fire all went down a storm. Half way through Seven Nation Army Ben flung himself into the mosh pit and vanished. He crawled back onto the stage moments later wearing a random bucket hat just in time to deliver the final verse.

Maybe it was the young demographic in the audience but this must be one of the most high energy gigs we’ve ever played. We all agreed that we’d never seen an audience react with such enthusiasm. It was pretty awesome.

DJ Set

I’d put together a post set playlist entitled “Nailed On Bangers” and let the auto-DJ on my laptop run while we wrangled cables and broke down the drum kit. Every now and then I’d get a request from the audience and to my surprise, I was able to oblige. I honestly had no idea I had any Flo Rida. I was surprised that one of the biggest hits of the DJ set was Gimme, Gimme, Gimme by ABBA.

The curfew brought the music to an end at 1am and I eventually got away at 2.  What a night. I hope they have us back next year.