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Over the years, rather than cover all the big festivals you already know about – your Downloads, your Bloodstocks and your Hellfests – we like to stick up for the ‘little guy’; the more niche, and in our eyes superior festivals which cater to more specific tastes, and are better for being focussed and not a jack of all trades.

We like to think we’ve never steered you wrong, which is why we’re confident that you will get a kick out of our newest champion: Ritual Fest.

Taking place at Canal Mills in Leeds, Ritual is one of the earlier festivals in the calendar year, and with the first announcement for the 2017 lineup, it’s making a strong case for itself to be many people’s starting point.

The main takeaway for most will be the coup that is Ihsahn as headliner. You know, that chap who fronted Emperor? Who’s been releasing pretty excellent albums on his own for some time? It’s very impressive for a festival in its second year, and sure to be a highlight of the event.

Joining him will be Maryland deathgrind veterans Misery Index - which is gonna be really fucking intense –  as well as Manchester’s Crepitation, Liverpool’s Corrupt Moral Altar, London doom crew Serpent Venom and sludgey Midlands outfit Conjurer, who were picked as one of our 5 bands to watch at Damnation Festival this weekend!

Rounding off this first announcement, and in doing so giving several excellent local bands airtime, are the likes of The Afternoon Gentlemen and the brilliantly-named Groak, which I just learned is the term for when you stare at someone who’s eating in the hope that they’ll give you some. Brilliant.

Tickets are available from! Make sure to follow Ritual on Facebook and Twitter, as well as ourselves, for more news in the lead-up to the event!