Friday 29 July 2022
Ebbw Vale NP13 2ER
From the festival site, a remote farm that quite literally sits atop a mountain, you’re overlooking some of the most beautiful scenery in Wales. Not far is Marine Colliery, the deep mine that employed thousands in the area and finally closed in 1989. The nearby Ebbw Vale steelworks, which inspired the festival’s name, cast its last steel in 1978 and was finally wound down in 2002. It’s a common tale in these parts – heavy industry has been replaced by light, but the region still bears the scars of the UK’s slow industrial decline.
All of which makes the Steelhouse Festival one of the more unlikely and inspiring underdog stories of recent times. Saxon, Magnum, Europe, Black Star Riders and UFO have all graced the mountain top over the years. The valleys have always been heartland for rock, yet of the 5000-capacity crowd, just 40 per cent come from the local area. This self-styled ‘Welsh International Classic Rock Festival’ attracts people from across the UK and further afield – Finland, Japan, last year one huge Dee Snider fan flew in from Australia to watch him headline.