Lemmy made his way back to Port Vale in 1981 for the Holocaust festival, a Heavy Metal occasion in his native town. The event also starred bands such as Motorhead, Triumph, and Vardis. The festival could result in a possible temporary shift of the residents to pave the way for the festival. The showdown saw metal fans from all over Great Britain, and Europe at large flock the event grounds.
The festival was set to take place in Burslem at Vale Park during the summer of 1981. Vale Park was considered to be the ideal venue. It was apparent that Lemmy would be the star attraction as the lead artist of his band Motorhead. To Lemmy, this was a homecoming since Ian Fraser was born in Burslem on Christmas Eve in 1945. The legendary rocker spent the early part of his childhood in Newcastle before relocating to Wales when he was ten years old.
Fans waited nervously for he return of the charismatic frontman. He made a name for himself in the band’s formative years, proving to be the main songwriter for the band, for which also he was a founding member. He also featured as a member of another group, Hawkins, prior to founding Motorhead. Motorhead was a great band that has also influenced the theme of a slot game that you can find reviewed on SlotCatalog online casino listings. There were even speculation of the possible cancellation of the festival due to residents petitioning against the event. Event organizers had to step in to prevent this from happening and they resolved the matter by organising an all-expense-paid road trip for the residents to Blackpool, which amazingly worked.
Another group, Black Sabbath, who were to share the stage with Motorhead cancelled due to other obligations. But their frontman, Ozzy Osbourne, rose to the occasion taking the group’s slot. Other scheduled performances were from Triumph, Vardis, Frank Marino, Riot, and Mahogany Rush.
The festival is still remembered today despite an imaginable scare when a group of skydivers lost control and landed just outside the stadium rather than their original landing spot. The police feared panic and chaos but were surprised by the calmness of the fans.
Andy Mackay can recall that moment the gig took place when he was just 15. He remembered that some months before the event, he would never have imagined a spectacular occasion like that could ever take place in his locality, and even less so at his favourite team’s ground.
It was an early Christmas present for him, and he could make daily trips to the grounds to watch the event set up, waiting for the gig to come alive. And, those trips made him and his friend develop a friendship between them and the road manager for Motorhead, Mike Healey. The road manager, moved by his enthusiasm, allowed them to peek around the stage, and also take pictures although the photos never got processed in the end.
The news of the cancellation of Black Sabbath from participating in the event did not affect him as he was only interested in witnessing Ozzy Osbourne set the stage on fire. Finally it was his opportunity to catch him live.
Things got even better for the fifteen-year-old on the eve of the event when Lemmy visited the ground before his performance. Andy, as usual, was there to witness stage and sound set up, and he had the privilege to meet Lemmy in the flesh. The boy could barely believe it. The only thing Andy could recall is that Lemmy was shorter than he had expected, and nothing else. Andy can’t even remember what they talked about or even how it happened. Lemmy was a delight as he did not send away any of the fans that were there that day to get a glimpse of him and sign autographs, Andy recalled that.
Now came the morning of the gig, a beautiful sunny morning. Andy remembered that when he got to the stadium, things were already heating up with fans throwing plastic bottles at each other for fun. He placed himself in the front row so he could not miss any action. The performances of Frank Marino, Vardis, Riot, and Triumph were okay, but the moment Ozzy grab hold of the stage, all hell broke loose, according to Andy. Ozzy rocked the stadium to the fullest extent.
It was the ideal moment in time to catch Lemmy and his band on tour, considering they were at their absolute peak. Andy recalled how the event was astonishing, with the sound systems transmitting the noises to the entire town. The sky diving incidence also did not escape his memory.
At the close of the festival, Andy extended his stay to grab the attention of Mike Healey. His efforts paid off and he was awarded a drumstick and Ozzy’s drum skin, which he kept safe for many years but sadly he eventually misplaced them. He made his way out of the stadium heading home a happy boy as he recalls. At that time, the residents were up peeking from their windows to witness the massive crowd from the festival.
Andy and his friend still made a trip to the stadium the day after the event and found Mike Healey again. This time he gave them a task to pick up rubbish from the field and paid them. He can’t recall exactly how much they got paid, as his focus was entirely helping out and not job hunting. They picked up lost and misplaced cash, and in the end, Healey offered them more items from the band collection.
That event in 1981 was the inspirational for Andy’s choice to join the band and make music. Of his moments as a child, that was the most memorable moment to happen to him.
Lemmy gave an astonishing remark to White Line Fever’s author claiming that the Holocaust festival was probably the powerful and loudest display ever was. He went on to joke that they were made deaf by the noises, and the only way to make them hear was to turn up the sound even higher. The stage packed with public address systems giving an output of almost 117,000 watts. It was evident the arena was built for sound as the soundcheck attracted the attention of a person four miles away.
The festival attracted the attention of artists as far away as California, where Lars Ulrich was living. Lars was 16 years as of 1981 and went to become the lead artist for Metallica and an enormous fan of Motorhead. Lars even made a statement to Rolling Stone that the event in Port Vale Stadium was the best he’d seen.
His comments on Motorhead performances were positive as recall them commanding the 40,000 crowd. ALong with his buddy he had to talk their way into the stadium since the tickets were all sold out. The good thing was that he was friends with Lemmy’s crew, and it only took them less than fifteen minutes to find their way backstage. Lemmy was so influential, he had persuaded a teenager to make the long trip to Port Vale from California.