Wonk Unit are one of the most talked about bands from the UK scene. The London based group have grown a cult following in the UK and will be back in Gainesville for the second year in a row. Wonk Unit are like no punk band you've ever seen before, practically reinventing the sound whilst remaining very true to their punk sensibilities. Always incredibly entertaining live, you're guaranteed to come away with a massive smile on your face. Another of the UK's brightest punk bands Ducking Punches are also returning to The Fest for the second year running. The Norwich based five piece's folk tinged punk music tackles subjects such as love, death, addiction and mental health. Frontman Dan Allan manages to write about these difficult subjects in a way that makes you feel uplifted come the end of the song - he makes you feel like you're not alone in your struggles. Expect some big sing-alongs at both the acoustic and full band Ducking Punches shows.
Leeds based Jake and the Jellyfish are one of my favourite bands from the UK. Combining punk, ska and folk music, they have a wonderful ability to get you dancing and singing along whatever style they are playing. Lead singer Jake McAllister has a brilliantly distinct voice that will grab your attention from the outset. I believe that Jake and the Jellyfish will also be doing full band and acoustic sets at The Fest. Both are not to be missed. London five piece Ghouls are one of the best live bands in the UK at the moment. Playing pop punk music with a healthy dose of brass, these five young men will blow you away with their high energy set. Having played many of Europe's top festivals including 2000 Trees, Mighty Sounds and Hit The Deck, this will be Ghouls first time in the USA and are sure to make a big impression.
Some of the finest of UK acoustic punk music is also represented at The Fest. For me the most notable artist is Edinburgh's angriest young man Billy Liar. Billy plays a spellbinding brand of acoustic punk rock music guaranteed to captivate any audience. Billy plays all his song with so much emotion you can tell how invested he is in what he does. Such a brilliant songwriter, musician and performer. Another of the UK's brightest acoustic performers is Andrew Cream. This year at Fest he is actually playing with his full band so I would expect that is set will pack even more of a punch. His latest album, Self-Portrait, is a Colin's Punk Rock World favourite and we're looking forward to hearing songs from that album played live in Florida. At the beginning of this year I had the pleasure of seeing The Barnett Brothers lives at The Lexington in London. Supporting that night was Eastbourne's Brightr. Since starting out in 2015 he has toured everywhere playing his gloomy emotional pop songs picking up plenty of fans along the way.
Another of the most talked about newer bands in the scene are London duo Kamikaze Girls. Last month they released their fantastic new EP Sad - an EP about it being okay to feel sad. Musically they play raw, fuzzy alternative rock music and have a powerful and energetic live show. Aerial Salad are a band from Manchester who I actually only discovered because they are playing The Fest. They are a three piece indie punk band with a hint of 90s Green Day snottiness about them. In 2016 they have released two EPs - Stop Pushing and Roach - both of which are fantastic.