Volunteers: The Unsung Heroes of Manchester Punk Fest

Manchester Punk Festival is a large multi-venue festival taking place in April each year. Remaining fervently DIY, it is staffed by a dedicated volunteers who come back every year. As part of that group, Sarah endeavoured to find out what makes MPF’s volunteer team so special. 

Article by Sarah Williams, originally written for the Manchester Punk Festival 2020 programme. 

The heart of DIY is a willingness to dedicate your time and energy for the love of punk. While MPF is run by a collective, there’s a supportive group of volunteers working behind the scenes at the event: packing and selling merchandise, running the stages, looking after the bands, wrist-banding and making sure that you’re having the best festival possible.

The volunteers are such a crucial part of this weekend, we wouldn’t be able to do it without them,” says Kaz Hinsley, who helps to head up the volunteer team. “Each and every person that helps in some way really does make the weekend run more smoothly.”

Volunteering at MPF is unlike volunteering at any other event. Everyone pitches in a few hours, with a big grin on their face, proud to be helping the festival run without a hitch. It’s a stark contrast to commercial festivals, where volunteering can mean struggling through a six hour shift on a comedown, covered in glitter and mud, doing the bare minimum to earn yourself a ticket. MPF’s volunteers are all keen to see that the festival operates at the highest standard possible. Continue reading “Volunteers: The Unsung Heroes of Manchester Punk Fest”

Memories & Highlights from Do It Together Fest 2020

Sarah’s personal highlights from the Do It Together Fest weekend, including bananas, oranges, pastry and some punk rock somewhere along the lines.

Written by Sarah Williams.

Thank you to everyone who attended Do It Together Fest. In collaboration with Paul Smith (Be Sharp Promotions) and Colin Clark (Colin’s Punk Rock World), we’d hoped to put together an event that celebrated the punk rock community, and what we achieved exceeded my expectations completed.

Firstly I’d like to announce that we raised a grand total of £880.72 for Mind! Thank you to everyone who donated, played our punk rock tombola or scoffed OGGS kindly donated cakes. Thanks also to every single person who attended, all the bands who played and everyone who lent a hand: you could truly feel the power of our community over the weekend, and every single person was a part of that. Continue reading “Memories & Highlights from Do It Together Fest 2020”

Live Review: Groezrock 2019

We enjoyed the return of one of Belgium’s biggest punk rock festivals, featuring Not On Tour, A Wilhelm Scream, Millencolin, Snuff, Jawbreaker and more.

Article by Sarah Williams. Photos by Gresle Photography.

Years ago, Groezrock was as much a draw for British punk rockers as Download or Reading. For many of us it was our first festival outside of the UK. After a fallow year, Groezrock has evolved and become more refined, but it still boasts an exceptional line-up and an excellent atmosphere.

I travelled over to the sprawling festival site in sleepy Meerhout in the company of Goodbye Blue Monday, who were playing the smaller Cockpit stage on Saturday. We were keen to get a Jupiler down our necks as soon as we arrived, which fortunately coincided with Pkew Pkew Pkew getting things started. Continue reading “Live Review: Groezrock 2019”

Review: Punk Rock Holiday 1.8 Throwback

Relive PRH 2018 with our honest, personal account of last year’s shenanigans. Featuring Bad Religion, Adrenalized, Almeida, Mad Caddies, Authority Zero and many more…

Last year I (Sarah) had a fantastic trip to Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia with the Lockjaw Records crew. I wrote a review while I was there… but I was too catastrophically overwhelmed with real life to finish it off and get it online.

Rather than waste it, have a giggle about last year’s shenanigans while you gear up for Punk Rock Holiday 2019… with some fantastic photos from Silvy Maatman and Dave Sloan.

“This is the best festival ever!” says everyone, about every festival, ever. The difference is that Punk Rock Holiday genuinely is The Best Festival Ever.

Talking to people over the weekend, interestingly the consensus is that people attend PRH year after year for reasons other than the bands playing. They come for the stunning Alpine scenery, the crystal clear, glacial rivers, and the opportunity to relax on two wonderful river beaches. The main stage is nestled in a clearing in the forest, so the evening bands play surrounded by tall, verdant trees as the sunset glistens through the canopy.

Menzingers Crowdsurf Punk Rock Holiday cred Silvy Maatman

This is a festival where you are guaranteed to be partying with punk rockers from every corner of the world: I mainly spent the week with friends from Brighton, Sweden, Germany, Finland and Belgium who I’d hardly have the opportunity to see if events like this didn’t draw us together. Continue reading “Review: Punk Rock Holiday 1.8 Throwback”

Exclusive: Revenge of The Psychotronic Man Premiere ‘The End Of Everything’ Film

Famed UK punks debut the film of their last ever live show, featuring footage of their huge line-up of TNSrecords favourites: Faintest Idea, Pizzatramp, Nosebleed, Wonk Unit, Matilda’s Scoundrels, Casual Nausea, Rising Strike, Bobby Funk, The Domestics, Sounds of Swami… and a lot of shenanigans.

Shout Louder are proud to premiere The End of Everything: a film documenting the final live show of legendary Manchester fast-punks, Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man.

The farewell show took place at Rebellion, Manchester, on 8 December 2018, and marked the end of a long career of stupidly fast DIY punk rock.

The gig sold out four months in advance, and featured 14 bands: one for each year the band had existed. The line-up was announced shortly before the show, and the running order wasn’t revealed until minutes before each set, setting the scene for a day of chaos.

This film was made by Mark Richards and it features most of the bands who played, including Nosebleed, Pizzatramp, Wonk Unit, Matilda’s Scoundrels, Casual Nausea, The Domestics, Rising Strike, Bobby Funk, Sounds of Swami and more. It also includes extensive highlights of Revenge’s final emotional set, plus the once-in-a-lifetime Revenge ‘All Stars’ band, featuring a carousel of ex-members and associated musicians.

The sound was recorded by Julian Wallinger, with additional mixing by Simon Short.

If there video’s whet your appetite, be sure to pick up a copy of the photobook from the event, featuring top shots from Tim ‘Hold My Pint’ Bevington: https://www.tnsrecords.co.uk/shop/tns-releases/the-end-of-revenge-photo-book/

Revenge’s final album That Was Just A Noise and off of the band’s back catalogue is currently available for HALF PRICE over at the TNSrecords website: http://bit.ly/RevengeSale  Continue reading “Exclusive: Revenge of The Psychotronic Man Premiere ‘The End Of Everything’ Film”

Gig Review: Spanish Love Songs @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester

A sold-out Manchester show with Pkew Pkew Pkew and Goodbye Blue Monday showcased the future of melodic punk rock.

Review by Sarah Williams. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

Moving North have sourced an exceptional punk rock line-up for a cold Wednesday in the Rainy City. Tonight’s bill of Spanish Love Songs, Pkew Pkew Pkew and Goodbye Blue Monday showcases the future of melodic punk rock: each of these bands is set to explode in the near future. This is a tour that will go down in the history books.

Selling out weeks in advance, tonight’s also due to be a shoulder-to-shoulder riot in Manchester’s tasteful Soup Kitchen basement. Exposed brick, classy beers and healthy grub here make it one of the best venues the city has to offer. It’s gigs like this that put Manchester at the forefront of the UK’s live music scene.

CFP-0058.jpg

Scottish misery-punks Goodbye Blue Monday open the show early to a sparse but friendly crowd. They open with newer tune Red Skies that eases people in gently with a slow crescendo intro, before they plaster grins on our faces for one of their biggest old tunes: The Sickness, The Shame. Continue reading “Gig Review: Spanish Love Songs @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester”

Gig Review: Random Hand @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds [25/01/2019]

Ska-core legends Random Hand play a raucous hometown show with Wonk Unit, Pizzatramp and Fierce Ideas.

Written by Sarah Williams. Photos by Cold Front Photography.

Random Hand are a formidable name in the UK punk scene, known for relentlessly storming stages with their aggressive blend of ska, hardcore and nu metal. They brought new life to dwindling ska-core tradition that had previously been the wheelhouse of bands like Capdown, Leftover Crack and Voodoo Glow Skulls, before going on hiatus in 2013.

Random Hand made a (scum) triumphant return after some cajoling from Manchester Punk Festival in 2018, followed by a short run of other cherry-picked dates. As such, it’s a rare treat to catch Random Hand on a Friday night, let alone at a sold out hometown show with headline-worthy TNSrecords label mates Wonk Unit and Pizzatramp.

Brudenell Social Club in Leeds is a name I know well, but it’s my first visit. On the outside it looks like the sort of carpeted function room where you’d find kids quaffing cider in the car park, but inside there’s a reasonably high stage and ample space for chaos. I’m excited. Continue reading “Gig Review: Random Hand @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds [25/01/2019]”

Gig Review: Behind-The-Scenes at Manchester Punk Festival 2019

A review of MPF from Sarah, who volunteers at the event. Friends, frantic dashes between venues and some top-class hardcore, including Not On Tour, Adrenalized, Svalbard, Consumed, Fair Do’s and Snuff.

Although there will be reviews aplenty, at Shout Louder we want to offer two unique perspectives on the fifth year of Manchester Punk Festival. Mark Bartlett’s given us is highlights as an MPF virgin, where as Sarah Williams is an MPF veteran who volunteers at the festival. In this edition, Sarah gives us a unique perspective from behind the scenes.

Excitement for Manchester Punk Festival begins long before the doors open to the public. Unfortunately, excitement can easily be mistaken for stress.

Weeks before the main event, I’m inundated with messages asking about guest list, accommodation, press accreditation and band recommendations. I’m only a volunteer, I’m not even one of the organisers – I can’t begin to imagine the sheer insanity of their inboxes. How they manage to keep it together in the days leading up to the festival, I will never know.

Welcome To Manchester Punk Festival.jpg

Thursday

The hard graft starts in earnest on Thursday – the eve of the festival. I drive to Moston to join a five car convoy; our best method of transporting all the festival merchandise in the absence of ROPTM’s van. I’m blasting out Ocean Wisdom round the M60 like some boy racer on the way, which is harshly interrupted by a phonecall about a bounced band payment and a confusing artist hotel booking. We get it sorted in seconds, like pros.

Delivering the merchandise is the first time I’ve seen MPF’s brand new venue: The Union. It’s a huge, modern student building fittingly decorated in Manchester’s signature yellow-and-black. I’m shocked to see the size of the main hall. As we climb ladders to hang banners, it starts to look like a ‘real’ festival venue. It’s fucking huge. Continue reading “Gig Review: Behind-The-Scenes at Manchester Punk Festival 2019”

Gig Review: A First-Time Experience Of Manchester Punk Festival

Mark overcame anxiety to pop his MPF cherry, celebrating with Kermes, Charmpit, Big Joanie, Incisions, Fastfade, Burnt Tapes and more.

Although there will be reviews aplenty, at Shout Louder we want to offer two unique perspectives on the fifth year of Manchester Punk Festival. Sarah Williams is an MPF veteran who volunteers at the event, who’ll be giving us a behind-the-scenes perspective, whereas Mark Bartlett’s has given us his highlights as an MPF first timer. In this article, Mark explores his nerves about attending alone, and why the effort was worthwhile.

Here are some thoughts about my first ever trip to the Manchester Punk Festival over the long Easter bank holiday weekend.

My first ever MPF can only be described as a completely heartening, life nourishing experience, which was briefly prodded by the occasional anxious freak out.

By the time the weekend was done, my notions of what punk is or isn’t was challenged by the massive breadth of genre variety on offer. Ultimately, I felt that the living spirit of punk rock is the ethos, outlook, morality and community of the few thousand individuals who make this annual pilgrimage.

MPF Incisions cred Josh Sumner 2.jpg
Incisions @ Gorilla. Photo: Josh Sumner

I fully expected to feel awkward a lot of the time. I’m a real loud mouth once I get to know a person properly, but alone I’m very shy around strangers, and that’s further exacerbated when I’m around people who I think are talented (no shortage of that here). I naturally assume that people dislike me and in groups I always feel very visible and awkward. It’s a behaviour I have to work quite hard to deprogram myself of.

If I’d had somebody to go with, I would have loved to have come to any previous MPF, but the general feeling of being lonesome and weird was insurmountable. Last year, I felt the pangs of jealously having heard about all the fun everybody had, and I was resolved to go no matter what, come rain or shine. Luckily for all of us, the weather was completely glorious and, even as a solo traveller, I didn’t feel alone for any significant portion of my weekend. Honestly, I was surprised to find out that so many people I met have so many of the same social hang ups. I enjoyed the weekend from a social perspective every bit as much as what was on offer musically. It’s a brilliant atmosphere and it was great to finally get the chance to meet some long term social media pals in the flesh, as well as catching up with some old friends. Continue reading “Gig Review: A First-Time Experience Of Manchester Punk Festival”

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.

Darko Karl Jump cred Josh Sumner.jpg
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”