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”

Shout Louder Podcast #4: Manchester Punk Festival Special

Mark and Sarah discuss all things MPF 2018 including insider tips and line-up clashes, plus we announce the Wotsit Called Fest headliner!

We are so excited to share Podcast #4 with you! This is our favourite one so far; we just hope you love it as much as we do. You can listen on iTunes, Soundcloud and many other podcatchers, or on the link below.

Recorded in the extremely silly, hungover aftermath of Dugstock Festival Mark and Sarah discuss all things Manchester Punk Festival in detail. We pick through the whole line-up, talk about the festival’s history and give you insider tips on surviving the weekend. Even if you’re not attending the festival, it’s worth a listen to hear some fantastic punk tunes and to laugh at how tired we are.

Stay tuned till the end as we will also be proudly announcing the Friday night headliner of Wotsit Called Festival. Wotsit Called was one of our top festivals of 2017 and it’s growing even bigger this year. It takes place on the last weekend of September at The Palace in Hastings – you can book tickets here. We can’t wait to tell you who they’ve booked!

The podcast is available on iTunes (here) and all other good podcatchers, or you can listen to it right now:

These are the songs we play:

Continue reading “Shout Louder Podcast #4: Manchester Punk Festival Special”

MPF Band Spotlight: Fresh [Interview]

Manchester Punk Festival Band Spotlight: Sharp London indie-punks Fresh provide delightful, catchy, poppy punk.

It’s all gone a bit MPF mad here at Shout Louder HQ. There are so many great bands that we don’t know where to begin! To help you make the most of the festival, we have spoken to a handful of the bands we’re most excited to see. Even if you’re not coming to MPF, there’s plenty to learn and enjoy.

We will be posting every other day in the lead up to Manchester Punk Festival. Check out the full series here.

Band Spotlight: Fresh

Fresh are exactly that: seriously fresh, sharp, poppy tunes from London. They’re part of the Specialist Subject family, playing in a similar style to Shit Present and Honey Joy. At Shout Louder we have been really enjoying their self-titled debut album, which is full of honest, irreverent songwriting and memorable melodies.

We spoke to singer/guitarist Kathryn Woods to learn more.

What can people expect from your set at Manchester Punk Festival?

Lots of riffs and lots of harmonies. I will have had a lot of beer. Also, more importantly, we’ll be testing out new songs!

Which bands are you most excited to see at the festival, and why?

I have never seen The Spook School, and I’ve only seen The Tuts once, so those two are high on my must-see list. The Bennies seem like they’d be fun to watch at a festival, and I’m always excited to see Happy Accidents.

Fresh is the perfect name for your band – that’s exactly what everything you release sound like: fresh. That being said, it’s really hard to search for your band name on the internet. If you weren’t called Fresh, what would you be called?

I have no idea. I think names aren’t as important as people might think. I just wanted a divinité name so that I could write music for something. I didn’t anticipate that people would ever search for us on the internet anyway, so that’s my bad!

On a serious note, it really is a beautiful sound. What inspires you when you’re writing songs?

Sometimes it’s anger about living as a woman with depression, but I also write a lot off feeling happy and peaceful. Whatever floats the narrative at the time!

What other big things are coming up for Fresh this year?

Festival-wise, we will be playing Rock the Baita Fest in Italy, and Fiest in Madrid. I have never been to either of those places!

In May we will be doing some shows with The Beths from New Zealand, and in June we’re doing a UK tour with Great Wight from New York! So we’re keeping busy. Continue reading “MPF Band Spotlight: Fresh [Interview]”