Interview: Not On Tour gearing up for Manchester Punk Festival

Upbeat Israeli skate-punks Not On Tour are celebrating their new album ‘Growing Pains’ and their upcoming tour that takes in Groezrock, Manchester Punk Festival and SBAM Fest.

Interview by Sarah Williams. A shorter version is published in the Manchester Punk Festival programme, for which this was written. You can download the programme here. If you haven’t already, be sure to grab your MPF2019 tickets before they sell out!

Not On Tour are, without a doubt, the band we’re most excited to see at Manchester Punk Festival. Fans of 80’s punk ala Descendents, Bad Religion or Minor Threat will be instantly enthralled by their fresh take on a classic sound.

This Israeli four-piece have a cult appeal that’s spread across the global punk scene through ‘have you heard’ whispers in the past few years. Their catchy, political skate-punk ditties see them taking a headline slot at MPF, and touring to celebrate the release of their new album Growing Pains.

We’re excited to welcome you back to the UK! Manchester Punk Festival will be your first English show since 2013. How has the band grown since your last tour here?

  • Nir (bass): A major change to the band is our new guitar player, Mati. Growing Pains is the first time we’ve written music with another guitarist and we are really pleased with the result! 
    Sima (vocals): We’ve played in a lot of other countries since then, all over Europe and also Japan and Russia. Last 3 years have been a big change in the amount of crowd and the places we play. Also having a booking agent has been a real relieving step for us.

What can British audiences, who might not have seen you before, expect from Not On Tour?

  • Nir: An energetic show with a kick-ass female singer, fast and catchy melodic punk rock tunes that won’t let you stand without shaking your booty.

Continue reading “Interview: Not On Tour gearing up for 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”

Top 5 Punk Rock Festivals of 2018

Sarah’s favourite punk rock weekends of 2018.

Written by Sarah Williams.

2018 has been the year of the festival for me. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy quite a few.

One of the uniquely brilliant factors about the punk scene is that you develop close friendships with people in far flung cities and countries. Our community relies on big events like these to bring everyone together – there are some friends that I would describe as ‘close’ despite only seeing them at musical festivals every couple of months. There’s something about forgetting an entire weekend together that brings you even closer.

Human Project KNRD Fest 2018 cred Josh Sumner Cold Front Photography (63)

It feels a tad unfair ranking punk festivals when, clearly, I can’t go to every single festival. Notably, this year I was unable to make it to Pie Race Festival, Wotsit Called Festival or Level Up Festival, which I suspect might feature highly if I had.

Similarly, I went to some absolutely brilliant festivals that deserve some love that haven’t quite made it onto the list here. Specifically, I’d recommend Belgium’s El Topo Goes Loco to everyone – it’s small, sunny and always has an incredible line-up. I also fell in love with Belgium’s Brakrock Ecofest – anothering stunning location, easily accessible with an excellent roster of bands (looking even bigger in 2019). I also enjoyed Dugstock and Polite Riot at The New Cross Inn, plus handful of smaller fests around the country.

These were the five best experiences of my entire year:

Sbäm Fest_Astpai_Copyright_Andreas Wörister_Slihs Photography

#5: SBAM Fest – Wels, Austria

Going to SBAM Fest was a somewhat impulsive decision, in an effort to overcome the MPF post-festival blues. However, with Propagandhi, Iron Chic, Satanic Surfers and No Trigger it was a no-brainer.

After a seriously long trip (Manchester to Stansted, Stansted to Salzburg, train to Wels) I found myself in a cool location miles away from home; a converted slaughterhouse covered in graffiti and filled with affable punks. I caught bands from closer to home like Darko, Wonk Unit and The Murderburgers, plus some foreign highlights like Astpai and The Bennies. I also did some catastrophically hard partying that led to the worst hangover of the year – typically a sign of a good weekend. Continue reading “Top 5 Punk Rock Festivals of 2018”

Podcast: Tree from Manchester Punk Festival

We talk DIY, dogs and new music with Manchester’s tallest promoter.

As DIY giants Manchester Punk Festival have just announced the first installment of their 2019 line-up, we thought it was time for Ian ‘Tree’ Robinson to join us on the podcast.

Tree’s a staple of the Northern punk scene, known for booking regular gigs through the Anarchistic Undertones collective and tours via AU Tour Booking. He’s got years of experience in DIY bookings, plus a Northern attitude that makes him quite an entertaining guest.

We discuss Manchester Punk Festival’s changes, what he’s learned from 10 years of booking punk shows and some of our current favourite bands and labels. We also talk about Propagandhi. A lot.

P.S. The star of tonight’s show is our cover model, Bernie, who you can follow on Instagram @dci_burnside.

Continue reading “Podcast: Tree from Manchester Punk Festival”

Gig Review: Beat The Red Light Resurrected At Manchester Punk Festival

Ska-core heroes return in an majestic performance that leaves Slayer, Metallica and Maiden for dust.

Review by Sarah Williams**. Photos by Mark Richards.

Watching Beat The Red Light reform at Manchester Punk Festival 2018 was greater than witnessing the resurrection of Jesus. Their moving ska-core set was nothing short of poetry in brutality. Move over Slayer, there’s a new band in town.

Tipped to be headlining Download Festival next year, Beat The Red Light were a huge booking for an event like Manchester Punk Festival. Playing immediately after Propagandhi, there were hordes of people outside the venue begging to be let in. They took the stage to the ominous strains of Vital Remains’ Let The Killing Begin; the room felt ready to burst with anticipation.

They roar through a greatest hits set, shredding every note with the flawless skill of Opeth or Dream Theatre. The crowd know every word to Regulators and Rut, clambering over one another to scream the words back at the band. Every horn-line is chanted throughout the heaving venue. As the title suggests, Saviours is the saving grace of a festival that needed a band of this calibre to really hurtle it into the mainstream.

You would be hard-pressed to find seven more ruggedly handsome musicians on this earth. Vocalist, Daniel Pook, floats above the crowd, the stage-lights forming an appropriate halo as he reaches out to his adoring fans. Wadeye’s Gilbo clambers on stage to try and steal drummer, Tim Gardiner’s, sweat-drenched towel, no doubt with a view to making a killing on eBay. He’s gently coaxed off stage by the big-handed security guard, who are struggling to keep the enraptured audience at bay.

There are tears flowing in the front row; moist knickers flying through the air as they are hurled on stage. Bar staff drop their glasses and they stare on in awe. At the back of the venue, I spot TNS’s Tim Bevington being carried out after fainting with joy, overwhelmed by the calibre of this once-in-a-lifetime performance.

With this incendiary performance, Beat The Red Light have cemented their position as the saviours of British metal. They have single-handedly wiped Propagandhi and Iron Chic off the map. Band of the festival? Band of the Universe, more like.

Review by Sarah Williams**. Photos by Mark Richards.

**Sarah may or may not have been bribed to write this review.

Top 10 Moments of Manchester Punk Festival 2018

MPF 2018 was a special weekend for reasons beyond just the music. Sarah’s rounded up her personal highlights from the festival.

Article by Sarah Williams. Photos from Mark Richards, Jimbob Taylor, Josh Sumner and Marc Gaertner.

Now widely known as Manchester Pals Fest, MPF 2018 has been even more of a blinder than previous years. I guess we knew that it would be from the moment the line-up was first announced, with Propagandhi topping it. In a landslide of Facebook posts, messages and hugs once the weekend was over, the word out there is that it’s the best festival in the UK. The three-day weekender in the Rainy City is drawing like-minded punk rock fans from all around the world.

The festival is special both as a personal and a collective experience. If you attended, you would have been amazed by the number of familiar faces in crowd. I barely had time to chat to someone properly before running into the next person. With that many dedicated, creative and intelligent people surrounding you, it’s easy to see that the UK scene is thriving at the moment. Although it felt like we were all sharing this one great, special experience, as the weekend is split between five venues around town, it’s possible that you could have had a completely different experience to a friend who also attended.

With that in mind, these are my personal Top 10 experiences of the weekend. What were yours?

Ducking Punches closing Thursday’s show with Smoking Spot

Ducking Punches cred Mark Gaertner.jpg

“This is about how punk has taught us all our ethics; this is for all of you,” Dan Allen says between songs, instantly capturing the spirit of the festival. While most of my friends were queueing to get into Random Hand and getting turned away, I opted to catch Ducking Punches at Rebellion on Thursday night and I really don’t regret it.

Earlier in the day, Danny from Fair Do’s had said, “Look around you. This is what a beautiful, intelligent and ethical punk community looks like.” Both are examples of how appreciative the bands are of the event they’re attending. Far from being a big fest where you turn up, play and fuck off, Ducking Punches were around for the whole weekend, partying and enjoying the music like the rest of us. I had a transcendent moment during somewhere between Sobriety and Big Brown Pills from Lynn where I remembered that all my friends in the world are in this city with me, enjoying an incredible time. There is an overwhelming sense of community that I’ve not felt elsewhere – partly from the punk scene and partly from Manchester, a city with a strong sense of identity.

Closing on Smoking Spot was the perfect move from Ducking Punches, who’ve really grown with their new album Alamort. “This is a song about having the best time with your best friends,” Dan says. Perfect.

Random Hand cred Jimbob Taylor.jpg
Here’s a photo of Random Hand for good measure. Photo: Jimbob Taylor.

Watching my friends’ bands playing to sold out rooms

For many bands it’s their first time at the festival (and their first time in Manchester), but every act played to a huge crowd. Through general gigging and through this website I’ve become friends with some of my favourite bands, so I’m absolutely bubbling with pride when I see them getting an enthusiastic reaction from a big audience.

Darko cred Jimbob Taylor.JPG
Darko. Photo: Jimbob Taylor.

On Thursday, No Matter opened the festival to an almost full room at Rebellion. Following them were Captain Trips, a skate-punk group from the South Coast that I have a massive soft-spot for. I’ve been trying to get as many people to hear about them as possible, so to see Rebellion full for their set was incredible. Not only was the venue rammed – the crowd were dancing, moshing and generally enthusiastic about seeing them. It made my heart melt a little bit. Continue reading “Top 10 Moments of Manchester Punk Festival 2018”

Top 5 Manchester Punk Fest Survival Tips

Our top tips on how to make the most of your weekend at Manchester Punk Festival.

Article by Sarah Williams.

Now in its fourth year, Manchester Punk Festival 2018 is bigger than ever. It maintains the atmosphere of a small festival, however there are over 1,000 attendees and multiple venues to navigate. A lot of people are visiting the festival for the first time this year, so I thought I’d share my top tips for getting the most out of the weekend.

Last week, someone asked my friend who he was was most excited to see at the festival and he couldn’t tell them. “I haven’t even looked at the line-up yet. I just follow Sarah around every year, she’s like a walking program.” I don’t claim to be an expert, but here are my top tips as a festival veteran:

#1: Prepare!

I’m a massive advocate of semi-obsessive organisation. Sure, it’s potentially the least ‘punk’ thing in the world, but lending some time to prepare for the festival means you’ll get more out of it. This is especially true at MPF, where there are multiple venues to navigate and so many incredible bands that you’ll struggle to find 10 minutes to inhale a falafel wrap while jogging between stages.

The MPF organisers have gone into meticulous detail to make it as easy for you to plan as possible. They’ve provided all the following:

  • A new MPF app where you select your favourite bands (in the line-up section), so that you receive a notification 15 minutes before their set begins, plus a map and regular updates
  • The famous Clashfinder, giving you the clearest view of the line-up, including a printable version
  • A detailed website with descriptions of every single band plus Bandcamp links
  • Free Bandcamp compilations and a Spotify playlist
  • A very detailed free program which you can download, or pick up in hard copy at the festival, including a detailed description/FFO for every band

We’ve also gone to quite a bit of effort here at Shout Louder. We’ve recorded a podcast with heaps of hints and tips to get you through the weekend, plus a run-down of the line-up. We’ve selected our Top 10 International Bands To Discover at the festival and run a series of ‘band spotlight’ interviews. Check out the full series here.

#2: Get There Early!

The festival has slightly increased the number of tickets this year, however capacity at the individual venues is still limited. If there is a band you desperately want to see, make sure you get there early (well before the set is due to start). This might require a bit more forethought than you’re used to having to invest in a festival, but it’s harder to fit everyone in when you’re not in a grassy field!

Some people have pointed out that there are quite a few clashes on the line-up, but this is a necessary evil. You might be a fan of both Iron Chic and Propagandhi, or Culture Shock and The Stupids (all of whom clash on Saturday night) but they’ve got to be booked at the same time to avoid any of the venues being too overwhelmed. The alternative is to have 500 people happily watching Propagandhi, while the other 500 stand grumpily outside Gorilla, wondering why they didn’t bother to turn up earlier.

The clashes are the price we pay for having a quality and diverse line-up hosted in such a wonderfully unique array of venues. MPF is a celebration of Manchester as much as it is a celebration of punk – the festival wouldn’t have the same charm in a different format. Continue reading “Top 5 Manchester Punk Fest Survival Tips”