Just a couple thoughts for all those concerned and upset to consider that might help:
1 - Although I know that the fact that this is being put on by UMC makes people 'feel' differently, try to look at it this way. IF BTH was being put on by another company, it would in no way affect the lineup for January's 70K trip as a large majority of the bands available to perform in the fall likely wouldn't be available in January due to different touring schedule/recording schedule/health/band status and other factors. Not to mention that we've all been pretty certain for some time now that most, if not all, of the bands for our trip are already booked and locked in for the most part.
2 - Businesses only succeed by providing a product where there's a demand for it. After the 2011 sailing, most of you were heralding our Skipper Andy as some kind of genius for pulling off something that none of us imagined and many said was the greatest time of their lives. From all reports (and common sense), we've heard that Andy wants this thing to continue for decades to come. Would he really risk alienating his primary customer base by shorting us all on talent on the 2012 cruise in favour of his little extreme metal sideshow barge thing? I think not
3 - Yes, from our perspective, the timing sucks. Big Time! We've been waiting for a long time now with no announcements to get stoked over and had our hopes set on something coming post-Wacken and then we get hit with this! NOT what we were expecting at all. But, think of it from UMC's perspective. When did they announce 70K 2011? I think it was right around the time of Wacken 2010 right? And that, along with their other marketing strategies, got a lot of Europeans out for the first sailing. So they probably planned for some time to follow that same model for launching the new extreme metal sidetrip. Yes, it explains why they've been less than attentive to our moaning lately but it is their perrorgative (sp?) to market and manage their different ventures as they see fit. We all know they try to run things on a pretty thin skeleton crew over there so the lead up to launching the barge was probably taking up most of their resources. Sucks for us but, so long as they don't forget about us completely or do something really sleazy like not announce any more bands until mid-October, chances are we'll all be fairly happy with our final 40+ bands and have just as much of a blast next January as we did this past one.
Not really related to my above attempt to rationalize but I'd feel guilty of lying by omission if I didn't mention that I've actually been thinking for some time now of cancelling my booking for January just cuz so few of the bands are up my alley but I haven't mentioned that here simply cuz it's not like I expect them to change to satisfy my wants lol. Just that it may be that I'm not meant to go on the 2012 trip as my tastes in metal are so limited.
Anyways, I hope it works out for all and I do understand that, for some, this could really suck cuz the new product may better suit their tastes and they may already have booked expensive plane trips and hotel rooms. I guess my long-winded point is just that doing so was a choice made when there was no knowledge of this other product. Maybe Andy and Co would have liked to have announced both at the same time months ago but the details for this new one weren't locked down yet. Who knows? In a perfect world we'd all be unicorns (or eat unicorn steak every night)