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Interview: Resistanz 2020 with Leighton

We spoke to Leighton, the well known organiser of the world famous Resistanz festival at Corporation Sheffield, often shortened to 'Tanz', the German word for dance. The overwhelming support and excitement for the return of the festival has already played evident on social media and with tickets going on sale today, who knows how fast they will sell out!

Leighton.. A lot of pressure on one man's shoulders.

Q. Leighton thank you for taking some time to answer some questions about Resistanz festival. The emotions have been so very low since the last Tanz in 2016. However the excitement has been building higher and higher with your teasers and hints at the 2020 reunion over the last year or so. Now finally, at infest festival, you dropped the news (Some were lucky to stumble across the flyers) that Tanz is confirmed! What with 2019 a horror year for awful news everyday can you just once again clarify that we are not dreaming and Tanz 2020 is happening and not a cruel joke?

A. So yeah, Resistanz Festival or “Tanz” as it is known by a lot of our supporters will be back for a special event in 2020. The venue was actually booked some time ago but I wanted to make 100% sure I had everything needed (including finances) before an official announcement was made.

Q. What have you been up to the last few years and how often do you get bombarded with love and support messages asking for Tanz to come back and was there a final turning point that made you think, ‘that’s it, let’s do it!’ ?

A. Keeping busy really - working, some traveling, spending time with family, that kinda thing. For the last few years I’ve still been putting on club nights and DJing in my spare time. The festival organising takes up a lot of free time though and doing it 6 years in a row without a break was hard work, so it was nice to have a break from that and enjoy having time to concentrate on other things. People kept asking about Resistanz coming back, literally every time I was out clubbing or at an event.

Q. You booked some of the most incredible acts from across the world of Industrial music even from the very first festival. Obviously with each passing year the sheer success and LOVE for your festival grew exponentially and therefore it must have become easier with each passing festival but how did you manage to pull it all off, get the first festival off the ground and continue to book the superstars that you did?

A. A lot of effort and thoughtful planning went into the first event. A good year and a half before Resistanz 2011 was even announced there were plans being drawn up behind the scenes. That careful planning and hard work did pay off though. The feedback from the crowd, the crew, the bands/DJ’s that performed that first year surpassed expectations and word soon spread about the UK’s latest industrial based music festival. The hype was so great that following on from a break even after the first year, Resistanz 2012 was to be a completely sold out event. I wouldn’t say every year following became easier, as we were determined to make sure every following event would be bigger and better than the last. So with that in mind (although booking acts became easier due to the festivals reputation) we were putting more pressure on ourselves to find ways to better the experience for the fans.

Q. I remember a crowd, myself included who had just moments before been on cloud 9 after Modulate sound system brought a close to Tanz 2016, to being very tearful as you made the announcement that it really was going to be the last Resistanz festival as you needed to rest; especially as for most of the crowd it had been their yearly tradition and for others it was their first and last experience of what is now considered to have been the ultimate pilgrimage for Goths of the UK. So how stressful is it to put on a festival like this and how much harder will it be now that Brexit causes a lot of uncertainty in regards to band’s travel abilities?

A. Resistanz 2016 was a mixed bag of emotions for me. I was so proud to have been involved in such a special event and although I was looking forward to having more free time I would of course miss not only the three days of escapism but all the wonderful people involved. Yes I did shed a tear or two myself on the last night. The work load can be stressful. There is so much to consider putting on an event of this size. I think the only people that would truly understand or get a general idea of what that is like is other promoters. It genuinely took a year to organise each one. At one point we were actually booking bands for the following year while at the festival itself. With Brexit so much is uncertain that it’s hard to plan for it’s impact when nobody knows what is actually going to happen. We do expect the value of the pound to drop but that has already been taken into consideration. I don’t see any major issues with so much planning on our part being done in advance.

2016's Tanz art

Q. I would imagine you can’t yet tell us any of the bands you have booked, if any so far but can you give us any hints or clues as to how the musical line-up is looking? I for one would love to see Massive Ego, Biomechanimal, Modulate, and Karkasaurus on the line up!

A. You don’t know me very well if you think I’m going to drop any major hints about the line up before anyone has been announced. (E.V was worth a try lol) There will of course be international and domestic acts playing over the course of the three days at Resistanz 2020. There will be some UK debuts and exclusives, the return of some fan favourites, known acts and less familiar acts. Overall a nice eclectic mix of styles.

Q. Do you have any plans in the works to make Resistanz 2020 even more special than before?

A. I wouldn’t say there are plans to make Resistanz 2020 even more special than before. And in all honesty 2016 would be a hard one to top. However every effort will be made to ensure that this is a very special event that lives up to the reputation that we built up over the previous 6 events. I certainly wouldn’t want to miss it.

Previous six festival's artwork

Q. There was a lot of talk about non festival goers being allowed in to the venue after a certain time that may have been one of the prime reasons Tanz needed to take a break due to festival goers becoming uncomfortable around regular night out people. Are you able to talk about that at all?

A. Sure. You have to remember that the Corporation is a popular city center based venue that is open 4 days a week and has a regular crowd. The venue cannot afford to close it’s doors even for 1 weekend and loose a big part of it’s income. The point you make was raised after 2015 and that is why in 2016 we opened up the warehouse exclusively for the festival after parties. Once again in 2020 Resistanz will take over that space. To gain entry to the main Friday and Saturday night after parties you will need a festival wristband. No wristband = no entry. Should any of our festival attendees wish to explore the rest of the club (that many of us regular Sheffield folk enjoy week in week out) after the bands have finished they may do so at their own leisure and at no extra cost. Sunday will see us take over the whole venue.

Q. Your work is responsible for countless new friendships, stronger bonds of friendship, new relationships, and new found success for several bands. In essence the Goth family owes you a hell of a lot and I’m sure there will be even more love and positivity now that Tanz 2020 is returning. As head of the goth family then, should we start calling you ‘Daddy’ or ‘Pappa Leighton’? Haha In essence.. The goth family has always been good to each other in the UK, especially the Industrial fellowship. Has it ever hit home just how much you brought people together with your festival and gave us all a ‘true home’ each year?

A. Haha. In all seriousness I’m just a guy that loves music and loves sharing my passion for music with other people. Resistanz is a way for me to do this but on a much bigger sale than just DJ'ing or running club nights. It’s nice when people throw compliments my way but they don’t need to. I consider myself very lucky to be in the position to help put on an event like Resistanz. Having that opportunity and seeing people having a great time and forming bonds with other fellow beings, that really is enough. I’m not looking for any recognition.

Q. Anything else you’d like to add about what we can look forward to in future and will this be a one off reunion or will Tanz continue once more, and is there anything the community can do to help make 2020 run more smoothly?

A. For me, this will be my last Resistanz Festival. I have no intention of reviving it as a regular or semi-regular event. The demand for one more event has been overwhelming these last few years and so it’s a real pleasure to bring it back once more.

As for what the community can do to make ‘Tanz 2020 as successful as possible...Buying a ticket would be a good start (haha). I have the budget for the full Resistanz experience but there are still some things I would like to add. The more tickets we sell and the quicker we sell them would give me that opportunity to include these add-ons. Other than that, please spread the word. And remember this is only going to happen once. The last 6 have all sold out so if you truly wish to attend please don’t leave it too late to grab a ticket.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible April 2020.

Thank you for joining E.V Leighton!

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