Jonni Davis the man, the myth & the legend behind Hard Rock Hell very kindly took time out of his hectic schedule & granted us a very brief interview
So you have the 10th Anniversary of Hard Rock Hell coming up you must be excited about this.
More than you would ever believe. It only seems like yesterday when we announced what we were doing and got the usual industry back lash towards new ideas..
Can you tell us a little bit about Hard Rock Hell and how it all came about?
I’ve been in the music & leisure business for some time, and I’d also been an artist. The real reason I did this was that I had grown out of traditionally styled festivals and wanted something different. I hate queue cultures: In an ideal world nobody should queue for anything! HRH was myself and others sitting down what our ideal Rock n Roll festival would be. The end result was Hard Rock Hell & what’s grown into the HRH portfolio.
Would you ever consider turning Hard Rock Hell into an outdoor camping festival?
Absolutely not! It’s not what we’re about. Every year we get asked to take an arena or marquee at major festivals. Every year, we refuse! We do residential festivals and close-knit community experiences, all laced with loud ballsy music
What do you have to take into consideration when organising a festival?
Every aspect from the moment of booking, to the journey there, the check in, bar service, sound quality, community-styled security, every aspect to make it as seamless as possible. It should be nothing but perfect, that’s always been our goal.
Do you think it’s important to have the right crew when working behind the scenes of a Festival?
100%. We’ve worked with many, but (like most bands) once you have a team that works together and well and shares the same values and vision, you tend to stick together.
We’ve all been around. I push people to apply change culture: things have to keep evolving and for that you only have to be open-minded and have a can do/will do attitude.
How did you become involved in working in the music industry?
I’ve lived in Ibiza for nearly 28 years, surrounded by it, I’ve been an artist and been involved around the globe as producer, promoter, artist and nutter. It’s all helped.
What do you think draws in the crowds to Hard Rock Hell?
Simple: the community does. It’s theirs: they tell us what they want, we deliver. They are our boardroom.
How early do you start booking bands in for the festival?
Used to be 6/ 12 months, it’s actually 18 months plus now.
Are you doing anything different for this year’s festival that you haven’t done in previous years?
Beyond belief! No-one will quite understand what’s gonna happen over this weekend. The HRH shenanigans have soared out of control. We’re here to shock and that’s what we will do!
What’s your favourite part of your job?
The fans. They’re like friends: They’re the heart, lifeblood and beating pulse of HRH. Without them we are nothing, I look forward to catching up with them for a couple of horns of ale and a good catch-up.
What band has been the most fun to work with & why?
Crickey! I think over 28 years I’ve booked over 25,000 acts. It’s hard to pick one, but I grew up (like most) through NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal): those bands were special to me and now I book n party with them, again. They’re all mates.
What’s the most embarrassing incident you’ve had either with a band or at the festival in general?
Only incident ever was on HRH 1, when the drummer of 9 Inch Nails lamped Nigel Glockler from Saxon. He was battered, climbed a wall to escape security, showing his arse, then fell and broke his arm. what comes around…
If you had an unlimited budget, what would be your dream HRH line-up?
Depends how many bands were involved, within what environment, but I would love Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and GNR to be on the same bill.
Is there anything you would like to say to the people who attend and support Hard Rock Hell?
They know my thoughts! I’m humbled by their loyalty and will continue to serve as long as they want us too.
Cheers JD it’s been a pleasure.