The DIY Roots of Manchester Punk Festival

Sarah speaks to organiser Andy Davies about MPF’s dedication to the DIY approach, five years on from the festival’s humble beginnings.

Written by Sarah Williams, with contributions from Andy Davies. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

Manchester Punk Festival has grown significantly since its beginning five years ago. As one of the biggest punk festivals the UK has to offer, it remains fervently independent, affordable and free from corporate sponsorship.

Now that MPF is booking massive international headliners, increasing its capacity with new venues and still selling out of tickets (in 2018, there’s a handful left for 2019); it’s easy to forget the DIY roots of the festival… but the organisers definitely haven’t.

The festival is coordinated by a collective composed of three distinct Manchester promoters: TNSrecords, Anarchistic Undertones and Moving North. Outside of MPF, AU and Moving North are still putting on small DIY shows at least once a month, while TNSrecords are working hard championing and releasing records from up-and-coming punk rock bands. All three groups work to promote independent music, tirelessly and with no expectation of financial gain, and they apply the same mentality to Manchester Punk Festival.

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Darko smashing it at Gorilla at MPF2018. Cred: Josh Sumner

Origins of Manchester Punk Festival

Things all kicked off in 2013 with TNSrecords’ 10 Year Anniversary all-dayer; the biggest event they’d run by themselves. They’d had a stage at Strummercamp for a number of years, which contributed to their desire to run a bigger festival. In the year before, they’d seen a gap for a collaboration in the Manchester scene, which led to them calling a meeting of like-minded promoters.

Continue reading “The DIY Roots of Manchester Punk Festival”

The Human Project Tour Diary: Driving 24 Hours For A 40 Minute Set

Why drive all day to play one set? The Human Project make a trip full of in-jokes and good times go quickly, en route to Coral Springs’ album launch in Leiden, Netherlands.

Article by Sarah Williams. Gig photos by Mia Weerdesteijn.

05:15 and I’ve accidentally set my alarm for 5pm, so Luke Yates, guitarist in The Human Project has to knock on my door to wake me up. I have one job (to get out of bed on time), and I’ve failed it.

It’s an early start, as are many of these trips. Loading merchandise into the back of a van at 5am, after staying in Luke’s spare room in Leeds the night before, I start considering why we bother. As a teenager, I imagined going on tour would involve a big Nightliner – a tour lorry with bunks beds, big screen TVs and a bar. As an adult I look forward to jumping in the back of a Mercedes Vito to travel in boredom for 10 hours, just to watch a band play for 30 minutes.

There’s an acceptance to it. It’s not glamorous, but it is fun. Luke jumps in the drivers seat of the van and we taxi round Leeds in the pre-dawn darkness to collect the rest of the band.

Continue reading “The Human Project Tour Diary: Driving 24 Hours For A 40 Minute Set”

Tour Diary: Fair Do’s Take Japan By Storm

Tree’s laugh-out-loud funny account of Fair Do’s’ Japanese tour will make you feel like you were there.

In January 2019, Manchester tech-punks Fair Do’s toured Japan with good friend (and Manchester Punk Festival organiser) Ian ‘Tree’ Robinson. Tree agreed to write this tour diary exclusively for Shout Louder.

Tree’s Disclaimer: Fair Do’s have asked me to say that these are all my views and not from the mouth of anyone else!

Day 1: “My bass is more important than your merch”

Taxi picked us up at 04:45 to go to the airport. Leaving Bernie [my gorgeous girl] when she’s recovering from surgery is pretty heartbreaking. I kinda wish the tour was happening in a few more weeks. I’ve been so excited for the trip that I’ve just had to put everything to one side; before I know it I’ll be chilling with her at home.

I decided to starve myself of sleep as I’m not a big fan of flying. I prefer just to sleep through it. I find the whole process pretty suffocating and claustrophobic, I’m the kinda person that could’ve got through their entire life without flying and I wouldn’t have felt like I was missing out. English as fuck that, isn’t it?

Danny was getting panicked phone calls from Josh in the taxi about how his case is overweight by 0.5kg. Josh made it clear how important his bass was, I think he thought we’d just suggest leaving it so we could take merch instead (?). Sounds like a spliff would help the situation but we all know that’s out for a couple of weeks.

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Fair Do’s stoked to be at Manchester airport at 04:30 (l-r: Josh, Danny, Tree, Dave). Photo: Sarah Williams

As soon as we took off from the runway, I could smell the nicest perfume I’ve ever smelt. It’s the kinda smell you get a whiff of and want to marry whoever is wearing it. Continue reading “Tour Diary: Fair Do’s Take Japan By Storm”

Gig Review: Don Blake & Uniforms @ Old Town House [02/09/2018]

We had a pop-punk Saturday with Don Blake, Uniforms, Skiv, Crocodile God and Bogans at Warrington’s top venue.

Review by Sarah Williams. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

It’s always a pleasure to spend a Saturday night in one of my favourite venues: Warrington’s Old Town House. Tonight’s pop-punk show, curated by Some Kind of Events, features a lively line-up of Don Blake, Uniforms, Skiv, Crocodile God and Bogans, however we rock up early to enjoy the atmosphere. Plus, you know, a raft of vegan pizza, nachos, fries, onion rings and mid-afternoon lager. This is what weekends are here for.

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Bogans, from the wilds of North Wales, open the show with some rowdy, riffy hardcore. It’s just the pep talk we needed to get started on the booze and there’s already quite a few familiar faces assembled in the pub.

Adam’s evidently been working on his growly rock vocals; getting some more live shows under their belts has brought the a step ahead in the few months since I last caught Bogans. He’s still got a mad look in his eye as he roams the area in front of the stage, weighing up the crowd, making some somewhat unnecessary hand signals to illustrate ‘jacking and jilling’ lyrics. He spends most of the set complaining about being hungover, which fits in well with a song about ‘intentionally censoring your own memories so you can’t regret the things you’ve done’.

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Despite the hangover, there’s still great energy and camaraderie from the group. They play straight-up punk rock, but with some poppier guitar lines slotted in, well suited to tonight’s lineup.

Typically bands use covers is to include some recognisable material in their set, to get the audience going, but Bogans break the mould by including their own version of a song by an unfortunately-named Finnish band called Anal Thunder. I’d love to know the motivation behind that obscure choice, however it turns out to be one of the best songs in their set. Continue reading “Gig Review: Don Blake & Uniforms @ Old Town House [02/09/2018]”

13 Of The Best Memories From KNRD Fest 2018

Enjoy Sarah’s personal account of a magical weekend over-indulgence in the Bavarian woods. Feauring After The Fall, A Wilhelm Scream, The Human Project, Petrol Girls, Forever Unclean, Money Left To Burn and The Affect Heuristic…

Article by Sarah Williams. Photography by Josh Sumner.

For years, people have been telling me that KNRD Fest is special. I finally bit the bullet this year and made it out to Nuremberg for the two day party in the famed Bavarian woods and… it turns out they’re right. KNRD is something truly special.

KNRD (pronounced ‘conrad’) is a magical, musical fantasy for anyone in the European skate-punk scene; so great that I wonder whether I dreamt elements of it. With bands like After The Fall and A Wilhelm Scream gracing a sterling skate-punk oriented bill, you know it’s going to be a great weekend, but what makes KNRD exceptional is the unique private-party feeling it has.

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I arrived quite late on the Friday, just as the bands were beginning, and just in time for to see Darko’s Karl Sursham wielding the mic and welcoming everyone to this wood-chipped glade with a charming boom. A keg is ceremonially cracked open and, thenceforth, it’s feels almost rude not to imbibe as much crystal-clear, chemical-free Bavarian beer as possible.

It’s this, in combination with the generously free-poured gin and tonics, moscow mules and pfeffe (peppermint) shots, that bring me to the theme of today’s article. As people regrouped on Saturday morning, after Friday night’s excesses, the question on everyone’s lips was: “How much do you remember of last night?” Continue reading “13 Of The Best Memories From KNRD Fest 2018”

Gig Review: Boomtown Fair 2018 – Part 2

Alan drinks his way through Boomtown 2018 so you don’t have to.

Article by Alan Corcoran. Black and white photography from Hold My Pint.

WARNING: The following account is a true story of a group of late 20s – early 30s adult humans going to a festival. It may contain stories of early nights, tea, and driving to a town mid-festival for creature comforts.

Last time we saw Alan (in Part 1), it was Saturday afternoon in the Boomtown sun. We join him last that evening  as the weather takes a turn…

The rain that cleared up yesterday comes back with a vengeance as we make our way down the steep hill to the Lion’s Den. Imagine a group of tipsy dogs wearing ponchos and sliding on ice and you’re halfway there. We’ve acquired a small traffic cone, rave paint is produced as we listen to Johnny Osbourne and someone has the smart idea to introduce a ‘drink every time someone says “Boomtown”’ rule. I’m not going to lie, this is where things have started to go a little sideways for your intrepid reporter.

5.45 PM

We are front and centre for The Skints and my internal organs are being bounced around my body via the bass setup. The kick drum and bassist are blasting out shockwaves in perfect unison and I feel like I might get shook out of my shoes. Of course, I have implemented a ‘drink on any mention of “London”’ rule for myself, so it might be that. The Skints are Boomtown royalty and it’s easy to see why. Apparently I’m not alone in thinking this as holy shit, there are a lot of people here. Thousands are converging. The beers are catching up on me so I fight the tide to brave the toilets and discover the sound is actually much better halfway up the hill as you can actually hear some treble. I also get complimented on my poncho, which I have failed to mention is polka dot, kids sized and makes me look a bit like a ladybird…

Getting our steps in, we head back on over to Dissorder Alley to see Capdown. I last saw these guys 12 years ago in a local dive bar in Galway and I’m happy to say they still bring a lot of the gusto to their performance that they did back then. I even find myself close up the front and their set passes in a happy blur for me. Possibly cos I get nailed in the head by a stage diver wearing wellies, which of course gets captured by the cameras..

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9 PM (ish)

It’s time for a tactical pizza, and one that I’ve been looking forward to all day. Get the violins out, though, because this is possibly the worst moment of my entire festival. Not to be dramatic or anything. The pizza is downright awful. I try to make the best of it as I am feeling the slightest bit tipsy at this point, when I’m approached by a fellow festival reveller who asks me for a slice because he is, and I quote, homeless. I politely dispute this fact and his girlfriend drags him away.

My notes from this time read as follows:

“Slipknot Minions excuse me mate”

I still have no idea what the Slipknot Minions were, but that note kinda haunts me. Continue reading “Gig Review: Boomtown Fair 2018 – Part 2”

Gig Review: Boomtown Fair 2018 – Part 1

Alan drinks his way through Boomtown 2018 so you don’t have to. Part 1 features Pizzatramp, Dead Kennedeys, Skaciety, Dubioza Kolektiv, 2 Many Zoos and Elvana.

Article by Alan Corcoran. Black and white photography from Hold My Pint.

WARNING: The following account is a true story of a group of late 20s – early 30s adult humans going to a festival. It may contain stories of early nights, tea, and driving to a town mid-festival for creature comforts.

boomtown-1-a.jpgIt’s Friday night at Boomtown 2018 and we are lost. Having agreed not to split up our merry little group we promptly did just that and now three of us are in an unfamiliar camping area.

Actually, looking around, a surprisingly quiet and well kept camping area. And are those FUCKING ACTUAL BATHROOMS WITH CERAMIC TOILETS?!

Yep, we had walked past security into a (presumably) VIP camping area and after trudging past portapottys that were each a claustrophobic, plastic blue warzone, we weren’t about to leave any time soon.

Obviously we go to check out the venue. Obviously it looks like a castle from the outside and a strip club on the inside.

It contains:

  • A stretch limo
  • A DJ
  • Nothing and nobody else

Ladies, gentlemen, non binary folks, I present to you; Boomtown Fair.

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Let’s backtrack to that morning…

Friday

6 AM

Holy hell it’s early. Because we are a group of human adults – as mentioned earlier – we have day jobs to phone in and weddings to attend in the lead up to this festival, so ⅔ of our group are missing the first night of proceedings. We’re also travelling from Ireland and Portugal, so give us a break.

After a whole lot of travel (Car – Bus – Airplane – Shuttle Bus – Rental Car) we pull into the Boomtown Car Park only to be cruelly discriminated against as foreigners, having to fork out and additional £40 for parking, despite already having paid it online.

Shrugging off another injustice handed down by our one time Colonial Oppressors, we park up, resist the urge to pet the fantastic and hard working narcotics dogs and we are in! Continue reading “Gig Review: Boomtown Fair 2018 – Part 1”