Don’t Fear the Natives seeks support in Battle of the Bands

Don't Fear the Natives.
Don't Fear the Natives.

Members of a popular local band are appealing for the votes of people in Derry and Donegal as they aim to be a headline act at Vantastival and win top music equipment.

‘Don’t Fear the Natives’ from Inishowen, have been enjoying a great year and were delighted to be chosen to perform at this year’s Vantastival festival in Co. Louth.

Singer Claire McDaid told the ‘Journal’ the festival, which takes place from May 31 to June 2 is one of her favourites to both attend and perform at.

“It has a great community atmosphere and is really child friendly. Myself and Denis (guitarist) played it last year and headlined the Glassworks Stage. It’s the most fabulous place and we had the best time. So, we were hoping and praying that we’d get chosen to play as a full band this year. We were delighted to be told we’re playing the Firestone Stage.”

As well as being chosen for one of the biggest stages, ‘Don’t Fear the Natives’ are also one of 12 acts picked to take part in ‘Battle of the Bands.’

The winning band, which will be chosen by a panel of music industry professionals, will receive a significant prize package including music equipment and recording time worth over €4,000. They will also be featured as the headline act on the Firestone Music Station stage at Vantastival 2019 and as a Main Stage act at Vantastival 2020.

The 12 acts will be whittled down to five by public vote and will then participate in a live final at the ‘Odd Mollie’s’ venue in Drogheda on May 2.

As the ‘Journal’ went to Press last night, ‘Don’t Fear the Natives’ - a six-piece alt-rock outfit - were in first place, but Claire stressed how they are up against some other really well-known acts, many of whom are based in cities.

As far as Claire knows, ‘Don’t Fear the Natives’ is the only band in the north west to be chosen to perform at this year’s festival and the band is hoping the community will get behind them.

She said: “We don’t normally do this sort of thing, but this is really high profile and exciting. If we got into the final five, it would mean we could get down there and hope we’ll impress the judges. You play on merit and to win this would mean a lot to us. As well as the brilliant opportunity to headline, the prize of over €4,000 would mean that we’d be able to record a new album. That would be our dream.”

If you’d like to vote for the band to make it into the final five of Firestone Battle of the Bands long on to www.vantastival.com/firestone-battle-of-the-bands-2018-2/ or see ‘Don’t Fear the Natives’ on Facebook. After voting, you must ensure you also validate your vote via your email address.

The vote ends on April 21 and a vote can be logged every 24 hours.

Claire, on behalf of the band, thanked everyone who has voted so far. She said the band is working on a whole load of new stuff, which they are very excited about. Their acclaimed EP ‘Stupid Heart’ continues to make waves and Claire told how it has been recently gaining fans in countries such as Canada and Australia.

“It’s fantastic and I’ve been in a whirlwind of emails and Twitter, from people telling us how much they like it, which has been lovely.”

She said they never take any of their success for granted.

“It’s been a really exciting start to the year and we just want to thank everyone for being so supportive. We really do mean it. We’re so humbled by the support and really appreciative.”

‘Don’t Fear the Natives’ are also “very excited” to be performing at Buncrana Music Festival this year and “there is a lot of buzz around that.”

The band performed on-stage last year with Welsh giants ‘Feeder’ and their debut ‘Stupid Heart’ stormed up intothe iTunes Top 20 on the day of its release.

The E.P. showcases their differing styles, from full on alt-rock, to a delicate, laid back sound familiar to fans of their online Youtube series, the Folkswagon Sessions, performances recorded in Claire’s VW camper van, with the beauty of their hometown Buncrana, in the as a backdrop.

The reviews of the EP were hugely positive, with music magazine HotPress stating: “ . . . Cracking debut release! . . . We can’t help but think of Joni Mitchell when listening to our Stupid Heart favourite, ‘This Tide Will Turn’.

In short, ‘Don’t Fear the Natives’ are definitely ones to watch.”

Lorraine Boshell at INMO was also a fan, stating:“an anthem for broken hearts, with Claire’s soaring vocals wrapped in a maelstrom of spiralling guitars.

The Stupid Heart EP Available to stream and download from all Digital Services.