The event, which was to have taken place at Killyleagh Castle, near Ash’s hometown of Downpatrick in County Down on August 1 and 2, has been called off due to the troubles caused by the recent Drumcree stand-off. Promoters say ticket sales were badly affected by the marching season in Ulster and the violent scenes at Drumcree.
“Recently, people have been focussed on the political situation in Northern Ireland,” promoters Wonderland explained, “not on entertainment events.” Sources say the festival had sold just 1,000 tickets per day.
Music venues and bars in Northern Ireland have been badly hit as the troubles developed through mid-July. The Northern Ireland tourist industry is currently losing an estimated ‘2million a day in cancelled bookings.
Meanwhile, Ash’s new album has been delayed because the band were unhappy with the original mixes. The album, ‘Nu-Clear Sounds’, will now be released by Infectious in late October. It had originally been scheduled for a September 7 release. The album was produced by Chris Kimsey who’s previously manned the studio desk for Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and The Who.
Sources close to the band say they felt the record lacked the “bounce” of debut ‘1977’. When the Kimsey sessions finished in April the group were left wondering what to do with the songs. They’re now remixing a number of tracks with ‘1977’ and Oasis producer Owen Morris. “That’s why we’re back at Rockfield Studio,” Tim Wheeler told NME.
“When we got to the mixing stage, it wasn’t turning out how we wanted it. Owen’s really enjoying doing this record with us. He came in at a late stage and didn’t have to do all the hard work of recording. He’s just having a laugh.” The band also recorded a new song for the album just days before their T In The Park appearance.
Song titles on the album include ‘Jesus Says’, which looks like being the first single in August, ‘The Wild Surf’ (previously titled ‘Fifties Song’), ‘Ebbing Away’, ‘Projects’ (written by bassist Mark Hamilton), ‘Fortune Teller’, ‘Where’s Our Love Gone’, ‘I’m Gonna Fall’ and ‘Numbskull’. Musical influences on the album include Iggy Pop, The Rolling Stones and the New York Dolls.
Ash are also gearing up for their biggest tour yet. The band’s manager has described it as a “U2-type extravaganza” and the band are finalising sponsorship for it. Shows take place at Guildford Civic Hall (October 12), Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall (13), Portsmouth Guildhall (14), Cambridge Corn Exchange (15), Norwich UEA (16), Leeds Town & Country (18), Middlesbrough Town Hall (19), Glasgow Barrowlands (20), Hull City Hall (22), Llangollen International Pavilion (23), Manchester Academy (24), Sheffield Octagon (25), Wolverhampton Civic Hall (27), Hereford Leisure Centre (28), Leicester De Montfort Hall (29) and London Kentish Town Forum (31 and November 1).
Tickets for the UK tour are available from the NME 24-hour ticket hotline on 0870 1212 500.