Over five years, Manchester Punk Festival has flourished and become one of the biggest and best festivals Europe has to offer.
For me personally, MPF is a bigger event in my calendar than Christmas. I enjoyed the first three years of the festival so much that I decided to move to Manchester, because it has the most active, welcoming and diverse punk rock scene in the country. I’ve since had the privilege of volunteering at the festival, writing articles for their programme and website, and seeing first-hand the love, stress and dedication that the organisers pour into the event every year.
This year I’m also ‘performing’ at the festival. Come and join us in Font Bar @ 12:30 Friday to watch a live recording of the Shout Louder podcast. I’ll be talking about mental health in music, with Lucias of Call Me Malcolm and Holly from Hell Hath No Fury Records.
With 138 acts at this year’s Manchester Punk Festival, you’re spoilt for choice. These are the 10 I’m looking forward to the most.
Wolfrik are a recent Lockjaw Records discovery – these guys crank out fiery melodic thrash, with a huge metal/classic rock edge that’s insanely fun to listen to. Knowing the incendiary effect their Skeleton City EP’s had on everyone who’s heard it, I’m excited to see the impact it’ll have on a keen live audience.
I’ve not managed to catch Svalbard live yet, although their 2018 album It’s Hard to Have Hope was one of my favourites of last year. They’re well known in the metal scene, however they’re also an ideal fit for fans of dark, furious hardcore punk. Lyrically tackling feminism and politics and writing soaring Counterparts-esque guitar parts has made front-woman Serena Cherry one of my personal musical heroes. I’m looking forward to an intense, earth-shattering live show.
In 2019, it’s hard to find any UK punk rocker who’s not a fan of Martha. Heavily influenced by pop music but rooted in Northern DIY punk, Martha make lovable, upbeat music that appeals to old school punks, hardcore kids and pop-punk fans alike. We spoke to them ahead of their upcoming performance at Manchester Punk Festival 2019.
You’ve got a new album Love Keeps Kicking. How do you think you’ve grown as a band since Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart?
The new record is a bit more world weary and sombre, but it’s still got hope and optimism within it. And it’s full of songs we’d want to listen to. The world feels fucking shit, and that’s bound to filter through into songwriting.
What can fans expect from the new album?
Love songs, sad songs, pop songs, references to places in Durham city, where working class people used to go that have been bulldozed to make way for student accommodation.
You’ve been described as having an ‘unashamedly Northern edge’. How do you feel your Durham roots influenced your sound?
It’s who we are and so it’s inevitable it comes out in the music. We can’t really avoid it. I think it’s also the case that when bands from smaller towns sound like they really sound, it’s more noticeable just by virtue of being a bit different. Every band is from somewhere! Continue reading “MPF Interview: Martha”
Alt-rock four piece Screech Bats are sadly calling it a day at Manchester Punk Festival 2019. We’ve caught them live a few times and enjoyed their 2018 EP Wish You Were Her (as well as being consistently jealous of their next-level eyeliner wielding skills), so we’re sad to see them go. We took our last chance to have a chat with the band.
MPF is sadly going to be Screech Bats final show, and you’re treating it as a funeral for the band. Do you have any special planned that you can share with us?
We are planning to go out of this world just like we came into it: screaming, disoriented and sodden with goo.
If there a reason you’ve decided to use MPF as your send off?
MPF is a festival that we really wanted to tick off the bucket list, so it just made sense to go out on a high. Plus, for Christmas our mate adopted Esme a pig called Truffles that lives just outside Manchester, in a Pig & Terrapin sanctuary in Rochdale, so we can all go pat her on the belly for some post funeral sad-be-gones. Continue reading “MPF Interview: Screech Bats”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
#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”
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 Undertonescollective 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.