Rebellion hits the Winter Gardens in August and this most magnificent of punk festivals has Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody drooling at what’s on offer.
Rebellion loves Blackpool and Blackpool loves Rebellion.
This is the one where 10,000 punks gather in the Winter Gardens for 4 days of thrashy guitars and shouty vocals.
It’s back for an extraordinary 23rd time and looks like another superb weekend by the sea. Headlined by the likes of The Skids, The Damned and The Stranglers, this is a bill to make those of a certain age all a quiver with excitement.
But it’s not all old school punk. Rebellion looks forwards as well as back. The festival is very keen on booking new and emerging talent as well as casting the net Europe and USA wide. In previous reviews, we have lauded the Introducing Stage as being one of the best places to be – always a surprise to be found and a new band to add to the iPod playlist.
Case in point being Madrid’s Grippers. One of our fave acts on the Introducing Stage in 2017 and back for a repeat in 2018 but that time on the much bigger Arena stage.
So too LA’s Infirmities, with whom we led in last year’s review, with the shot of 5 year old Ezra Skye singing her heart out, again, on the Introducing Stage. They’re back this year playing the main stage in the Empress Ballroom on Thursday.
The band were so excited about that, they messaged us back in November last year with the news, but begged us to keep our lips tight. We did, but the word is out now.
This is an example, too as to the loyalty that can be expected from Rebellion. Play a cracking set on a smaller stage and you will be rewarded with a bigger one next time around.
Rebellion is family friendly, too. Both literally and metaphorically. Kids under 12 can go free with a parent.
But the feel of the place is one of family – here are people gathering not just for the music, but to connect with each other and there are plenty of people who treat Rebellion as one massive social gathering and a chance to catch up with old friends.
There is a common bond amongst the audience; they are all there for the same reason and the effect of that is a safe, inclusive and welcoming festival. We’ve been twice before and have never seen one hint of trouble. In fact quite the opposite. It’s well run, orderly and a joy to be a part of what is really a celebration of punk.
Something in the region of 250 bands will come through the doors of Blackpool’s Winter Gardens over the course of the weekend, so there’s always something to keep you occupied. But if that’s not enough the merch stalls are always great and a welcome chance to pause and take in the atmosphere. Or you could get a tattoo, or some punk related art.
Last year we tried to see as many new bands as we could, albeit we did allow a few faves to sneak into the list. But it was a plan that worked and the discovery of so much new music was a real treat, so with that in mind, here are nine bands to look out for, some better known than others.
Hands Off Gretel
The vision of Lauren Tate who tirelessly works to promote the band and it’s music. Having released a self funded album and with a new solo project on the way, the band’s gritty style will draw a big crowd. They bossed the Empress Ballroom a couple of years ago at an unreasonable lunchtime slot, as well as recently killing the Arts Club in Liverpool. They have a similarly early slot this year, but they’re back on the big stage and rightly so.
Ezra Skye stole the show on the Introducing Stage. The reward is an Empress Ballroom slot on Thursday. Expect American west coast punk of the highest order. This is one not to miss.
Coventry’s version of the Distillers. Attitude, shouting and great tunes. They play the Casbah stage on Friday. We’ll be there for this one as well.
Maid of Ace
The four piece are all sisters, named Alison Cara, Anna Coral, Abby Charlotte, and Amy Catherine. And with the surname Elliott. It was a brave punt by their parents, but it worked. Good call. And they’re a decent band, too.
It may be an obvious choice, but they do no wrong in our eyes. They headlined two years ago and they will have no problem packing out the Empress Ballroom this time around, even if The Damned are next up. Richard Jobson gave us a great interview a while back and our admiration for this band just cannot be diminished.
They are a top quality act. They always were. From their punk beginnings, to their more reggae based sets recently, this is a band that keeps on going to great effect.
It’s a running sore in this house we never got to see The Ramones. We had tickets, but they cancelled at least three Liverpool gigs. The female persona are a cracking substitute, doing both covers and their own material. 2017 saw them basically rained off on one of the outside stages (there aren’t any this year). Let’s hope for better this year, because they deserve it.
A bit of a one trick pony back in the 70s, but a surprisingly good band now. They seem to have developed a really good set of songs and will be one of the popular draws in the Empress Ballroom.
Playing in the Club Casbah at an early evening slot on Sunday, this doesn’t sound like their natural home, but they have a secure following and always deliver a cracking set.
Images from Rebellions past by Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody