BRUCE DICKINSON announces only 2024 solo show at ROCKHARZ Festival
The 30 years anniversary edition of ROCKHARZ in July 2023, celebrated by fans and press, was a complete success. While the event was still in full swing, two headliners – Hammerfall and Kreator – were already confirmed in addition to the first strong dozen of acts for the 31st edition of the friendly open air festival from July 03 to 06, 2024, at the Ballenstedt airfield in the Harz Mountains. The fans reacted promptly: after less than six weeks, ROCKHARZ 2024 officially announced “sold out” in mid-August. So much trust is being rewarded, for instance with the next big highlight for all the lucky ones who secured a ticket right away – Bruce Dickinson!
The Iron Maiden mastermind will celebrate his recently announced album The Mandrake Project exclusively under the Devil’s Wall (a famous landmark of the Harz region and a place of pilgrimage for ROCKHARZ visitors) as part of the only festival show of the year in Germany. Organizer Thorsten “Buddy” Kohlrausch is proud and happy about this very special announcement:
“For many years we have been hoping to be able to present such a legendary artist as BRUCE DICKINSON on the ROCKHARZ stages one day. Now this dream comes true! And not only that! We will be the only festival in Germany where Bruce will perform with THE MANDRAKE PROJECT. Thanks to the universe for this unique opportunity and this accolade for our festival!”
But it keeps getting better: at the same time, four more highlights have been confirmed for next year with Amaranthe, Callejon, Benediction and Kanonenfieber – and that’s not all; more bands, including some main acts, will be announced soon.
And there is hope for all those who don’t have a ticket yet, because on Friday, Oct. 20, at 5 p.m. CEST, the ROCKHARZ online store will reopen. The clou: On this day, the last ticket returns will be posted in the store – and being quick might very well pay off! Because for all late-comers this will probably be the last chance to get a ticket for ROCKHARZ 2024 after all.
All confirmed acts for ROCKHARZ 2024 as of today:
BRUCE DICKINSON (“THE MANDRAKE PROJECT” Exclusive Festival Show Germany 2024), AMARANTHE, AMORPHIS, BENEDICTION, CALLEJON, D’ARTAGNAN, DIRKSCHNEIDER, HAMMERFALL, HATEBREED, HELDMASCHINE, KANONENFIEBER, KREATOR, LORDI, OOMPH!, ORDEN OGAN, PARASITE INC., RAGE, SCHANDMAUL, SOILWORK, THE HALO EFFECT, UNEARTH, UNLEASH THE ARCHERS, and many more.
See BRUCE DICKINSON discuss his upcoming Mandrake Project below.
When “The Mandrake Project” was first announced in September, Dickinson said in a statement: “This album has been a very personal journey for me and I am extremely proud of it. Roy Z and I have been planning, writing and recording it for years, and I am very excited for people to finally hear it. I’m even more excited at the prospect of getting out on the road with this amazing band that we have put together, to be able to bring it to life. We’re planning to play as many shows as we can in as many places as possible, for as many people as we can! As for what ‘The Mandrake Project’ actually is… all will be revealed soon!”
In March 2022, Bruce told Consequence about his next solo album: “I’ve been working on it, on and off, since ‘Tyranny Of Souls’. But between lockdowns and albums and MAIDEN tours and everything else, I’m looking for a clear space to actually nail and say, ‘Okay, this is what it’s gonna be,’ and get Roy to put some backing tracks down. And then we can do it. So we’re at the point now where we’ve already got — I don’t know — anywhere between 50 and 70 percent of the material for the album, depend(ing) on what we pick, from things we’ve already got. And I think we’d like to tweak it a little bit.”
Back in December 2017, Dickinson said that his next solo LP would likely include a reworked version of “If Eternity Should Fail”, the opening track on IRON MAIDEN‘s 2015 disc “The Book Of Souls”. At the time, he said that he had about “half” of his seventh record already written and he also confirmed that “If Eternity Should Fail” was originally penned as a Dickinson solo track.
He told Finland’s Kaaos TV that the original plan was for his next solo record to be “a whole concept album, which was gonna be called ‘If Eternity Should Fail’. And ‘If Eternity Should Fail’ was the title track to my new solo album,” he said. “And a bit like (Dickinson‘s 1989 solo song) ‘Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter’ (laughs), it got commandeered for IRON MAIDEN. So if I did do another solo album, which I think I will, I might just stick to my original plan and have that as the title track. I mean, I did write it — it was the first track that I wrote for it. So, yeah, I’d probably still include that song. But it would be… the feel would be slightly different — not very much, though — from the MAIDEN version.”
In 2015, Dickinson told France’s Hard Force magazine that “If Eternity Should Fail” ended up being used by IRON MAIDEN after bassist Steve Harris heard the demos that Bruce was working on for what was supposed to be his next solo album. “And (Steve) went, ‘That’s a really cool song. Can we use that? That’s gonna be the opening song on the album,'” he recalled. “And I went, ‘Yeah, okay.’ And he was already writing, I think… He was already thinking of ‘The Book Of Souls’ as being the title, so he told me about the Mayan thing. And I’m, like, ‘Yeah, that’s cool. Okay. Yeah, I see where you’re going.’ But in my case, that song was written as part of a story. So the spoken word at the end is the beginning of a story that goes through the whole album. And one of the characters is Dr. Necropolis; he’s the bad guy. And the good guy is Professor Lazarus; he raises people from the dead. So that introduces Necropolis in the spoken-word thing. And I asked Steve… I said, ‘Look. Okay. I get having the song…’ ‘Cause it opens up with, ‘Here is the soul of a man.’ ‘Yup. Get that. But what about the end?’ I said, ‘Will people understand what this is about? Because this is nothing to do with the Mayans or anything. This is to do with… I’d come up with a concept album that doesn’t happen.’ (Laughs) And he went, ‘No, no, no. It’s just talking about souls and everything, and it sounds great.’ I went, ‘Okay.’ (Laughs)”
Dickinson made his recording debut with IRON MAIDEN on the “Number Of The Beast” album in 1982. He quit the band in 1993 in order to pursue his solo career and was replaced by Blaze Bayley, who had previously been the lead singer of the metal band WOLFSBANE. After releasing two traditional metal albums with former MAIDEN guitarist Adrian Smith, Dickinson rejoined the band in 1999 along with Smith. Since then, Dickinson has only released one more solo album (the aforementioned “Tyranny Of Souls”) but has previously said that his solo career is not over.
In September 2021 IRON MAIDEN released their last full album ‘Senjutsu’, for which the band currently is out on a world tour.