This year I made a big effort to attend more festivals and all-day punk events. These events are good for seeing a lot of great bands that you normally wouldn't get to see and for discovering some new favourite bands. Something else I always love about festivals and all -dayers is that bands who are for the most part inactive appear to play specials sets that you wouldn't see anywhere else. This year I managed to get to eight festivals or all-dayers; here are my top five.
5. Manchfester 3.5 at Retro Bar, Manchester 3/10/15
Moving North do some absolutely brilliant work within the Manchester punk scene putting on gigs and all-dayers. This year Manchfester 3.5 happened and Emma and I decided to travel up to Manchester to see some of the best bands from the UK scene. It was headlined by Bangers and also featured Great Cynics, Doe, Stay Clean Jolene, Former Cell Mates, Andrew Cream, Fair Do's, Control, Gut Model, Selma Thurma, Pale Angels and a surprise set from Apologies, I Have None. All of the bands were great on the day but Bangers really killed it and showed just how good they are. Retro Bar is only a small venue but felt perfect for an event like this. It was a small, intimate show with great bands and a really friendly crowd. What more could you want on a Saturday?
4. Late Summer Skank at The Fleece, Bristol 6/9/15
I was having a conversation with Avon recently about how ska punk bands don't seem to tour as heavily as they once did. This makes all-dayers like the Later Summer Skank held at The Fleece in Bristol all the more important as it was a chance for some of the best ska bands in the UK to get together and show how strong the scene still is. It was headliners Random Hand’s last Bristol show, and they were ably supported by JB Conspiracy, Imperial Leisure, The Talks, Beat The Red Light, Faintest Idea, Ghouls, Slagerij, Tree House Fire, Jake and the Jellyfish, King Tut's Revenge, Chas Palmer-Williams, Geistfight and Muff Said. The Fleece is a great venue for an event like this, it has the unique element of feeling fairly intimate without you ever feeling packed in like a sardine. Plenty of room for skanking and plenty of skanking there was. I enjoyed this show so much that I convinced Emma to come back to Bristol with me for the Fleece's Xmas Skankfest.
3. Slam Dunk Festival at Hatfield University 24/5/15
In the past nine years Slam Dunk has become one of the most popular alternative music festivals in the UK bringing in some of the biggest bands from all over the world. A reason that Slam Dunk is such a popular festival is because it features acts from all sides of the alternative spectrum whether it be metal, emo, hardcore, pop punk or ska there is something for everyone. I of course was there for the punk and ska music which was represented well by Reel Big Fish, Millencolin, Goldfinger, Zebrahead, Lightyear, Big D and the Kids Table and Survay Says. This was my third year in a row attending the festival and in all honesty it had the least amount of bands I wanted to see but for the few that I did I was incredibly excited for. It was my first time seeing Millencolin, Goldfinger and Big D as those bands very rarely tour the UK and the mighty Lightyear played some very rare shows. All of those bands and the others that played were absolutely fantastic and gave me some memories I won't forget in a long time (despite getting kicked in the head during Zebrahead’s set).
2. Book Yer Ane Fest IX at Buskers Dundee 27-29/11/15
I've been wanting to attend Make-That-A-Take Record’s annual Book Yer Ane Fest for a number of years and in 2015 I finally made the long journey North for the Festival. Featuring the best from the Scottish punk scene as well as a smattering of English, Welsh and international acts BYAF brings the Scottish Punk community together in a celebration of all the great work they do throughout the year. There were just too many bands playing to list them all but some of the highlights from the festival were Billy Liar, Forever Unclean, Rational Anthem, The Murderburgers, Great Cynics, Paper Rifles, Elk Gang, Will Wood and Robot Doctors. The thing I loved most about the festival though was just how welcoming everyone at the Festival was, from the organisers, to the bands to the audience, everyone was incredibly lovely and this help made my weekend in Scotland such a special one. In all honesty BYAF could have quite easily been number one on my list if I hadn't missed the first night because of a Megabus and horrible traffic problems.
1. Manchester Punk Festival at Soundhouse, Manchester 17-18/4/15
The Manchester Punk Festival is one of the most exciting things to happen in the UK's punk scene in a number of years and could easily become our version of The Fest - the biggest punk festival in the world. 2015 was the first time that MPF has happened and it was without a doubt a huge success. Headlined by The Filaments and Apologies, I Have None the festival featured an amazing line up of bands and artists from our scene that proved it is stronger than ever. From the Creeper show on the first night of the festival to the 12 hours of punk rock fun on the second day it as just non-stop. Over the weekend I managed to catch over twenty different acts, all of which were superb. Highlights included Leagues Apart, Just Panic, Stand Out Riot, Crazy Arm, Roughneck Riot, Dead Neck, the cover sets and of course both headliners. The organisation of the festival was amazing; everything seemed to run so smoothly which is quite the achievement when you consider the amount of bands that played the festival and the fact that this was a small DIY festival. I enjoyed myself so much at MPF as soon as tickets became available for next year's festival I snapped them up straight away despite only a handful of bands being announced, such is the faith I have in the organisers to put on another perfect weekend.