The independently organised Rebellion Festival is one of the UK’s most unique events as it is not only D.I.Y, but almost totally indoor (sorry smokers – there is a designated area outside though) – with a series of venues/stages all under one roof – so no worries about the great British weather and definitely no slopping around in mud soaked fields.
Rebellion began life as punk celebration Holidays in the Sun back in 1996, but took on its present guise in 2007 to include upcoming talent, as well as many of the sub-genres of the alternative scene. Besides the enormous selection of music on offer, spread over 7 stages and including the likes of punk stalwarts like Stiff Little Fingers, Exploited and The Damned, besides a dizzying array of truly underground bands, there are Literary stages, Punk Art exhibitions, Acoustic Stages, Poetry, Vintage Clothing, Tattooists and even Healing workshops! It’s pretty good value at £145 for a four day ticket – children under 12 get in free if accompanied by an adult – Mohawk optional. There is also a wide range of food and drink concessions, besides the facilities of the nearby town centre.
One particularly interesting aspect is the series of live interviews with some of the most important people in punk, hard core and the alternative scene; including musician, broadcaster and DJ Don Letts, one of the most influential figures over the forty years of the punk movement, ex-Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook and the legendary Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra. Other notable acts include Slaughter and the Dogs, The Men They Couldn’t Hang, Attila the Stockbroker, Angelic Upstarts, Discharge, Agnostic Front, Cockney Rejects, Cock Sparrer and U.K Subs, besides the gloriously named Spunk Volcano and The Eruptions, Choking Susan, The Pukes and Kunt and the Gang. Anyway Already Heard has trawled through the whole shebang and picked out a handful of pretty unmissable shows, but make sure you get in to the respective venue in good time as they are subject to fire capacity regulations.
This year the punk movement commemorates its 40th anniversary, so who better to celebrate it with than Buzzcocks, one of the most important and influential bands of the movement. They were among the leading players right from the beginning and were largely responsible for punk gaining momentum on the Manchester music scene, so their importance is undeniable. This could be one of the last chances to catch the legendary punk pioneers and pogo around to classics like ‘Ever Fallen in Love’ and ‘What Do I Get?’; not to be missed.
Where & When: Friday – Tower Street Arena – 11:00pm
The Bouncing Souls
New Brunswick’s The Bouncing Souls have spent 25 years at the top, delivering moshpit friendly pogo-tastic anthems with unerring consistency. In fact, here in Britain, we seem to have something of an affinity with the legendary pop-punk outfit perhaps, in part, due to their joyous ability to make every sing-along anthem sound like a terrace chant. Wanna throw yourself around like a maniac with your first in the air, hugging strangers and generally having the best 50 minutes of your life? The Bouncing Souls have an entire back catalogue of songs that will make you do that. But that’s not all; as well as a cavalcade of rabble-rousing hits, expect to hear cuts off their hugely anticipated 10th studio album, ‘Simplicity’, which will no doubt contain a number of future fan favourites too…
Where & When: Thursday – Tower Street Arena – 8:30pm
As they return with their first new material in twelve years with new LP, ‘Hypercaffium Spazzinate’, it seems fitting that Descendents are closing out the Thursday night. Recognised as one of punk’s most influential bands, their career spans across hardcore, pop-punk, and skate punk paving the way for a whole host of names. With a plethora of quickfire punk songs at their arsenal, Descendents are the perfect band to celebrate 40 years of punk at Rebellion.
Where & When: Thursday – Empress Ballroom – 11:00pm
Jello Biafra and the Guantanemo School of Medicine
The larger than life Jello Biafra has one of the most distinctive voices in punk/hardcore and the ex-Dead Kennedys front man is still as active and visceral as ever. His current project of Jello Biafra and the Guantanemo School of Medicine is sure to be one of the highlights of Rebellion. Their 2013 release ‘White People and the Damage Done’ is a typically politicized mix of DK’s chaotic hard core and Detroit proto punk and the incisive songs make for a vibrant listen that translates to an attacking live performance. There will be no nostalgic going through the motions here, this will be punk rock at its explosive face ripping best – be warned.
Where & When: Sunday – Tower Street Arena – 9:25pm
Having just released their latest EP ‘Wax’, Youth Man will be hungry for a good headlining performance on the “Introducing” stage. Their raucous brand of scuzzy sounding punk with a modern twist, coupled with the stunning vocal talents of Kaila Whyte, is proof that punk is alive and kicking and with a bright future. Sweaty mayhem is a certainty.
Where & When: Thursday – Rebellion Introducing – 8:45pm
The straight down the middle frantic riffing and pounding bass lines of the good honest punk rock of Colt 45 is always worth checking out. With a catalogue of rough and ready hook filled bangers at their disposal you can expect a high energy set sure to get the mosh pit fired up. This is a hard touring band currently doing the rounds on the back of this year’s ‘Snakes and Ladders EP’, so expect to find them in fine form for a raucous time.
Where & When: Thursday – Rebellion Introducing – 7:15pm
Extreme Noise Terror
In returning to the raw crustgrind punk sound of their early years, Extreme Noise Terror produced one of the albums of 2015 on their critically acclaimed self-titled sixth album. With this renewed fervour and back to basics ethic, expect a blistering assault on the senses from their blitzkrieg of, er, extreme noise, as they close out the Arena on Sunday night. Sure to be some ears ringing come Monday morning!
Where & When: Sunday – Arena – 11:10pm
South Coast skate punks Gnarwolves are a familiar sight on Already Heard. Having toured around the world, delivering their frantic style where ever possible, they arrive at Rebellion with plenty of worldly experience. If two or so minute cuts of snotty punk with a hardcore edge is your thing, than you’re already aware of Gnarwolves. And if you’re not, then you will instantly be a fan as ‘Bottle To Bottle’ and ‘History Is Bunk’ are sure to be welcomed by a sea of bodies.
Where & When: Thursday – Empress Ballroom – 5:00pm
Rebellion Festival takes place at Winter Gardens, Blackpool on August 4th – 7th.