Writing this post very much feels like I’m tempting fate. I wrote one of these in 2020 and we all know what happened there. However, I would rather be a naïve optimist rather than a cynical pessimist so I’m ploughing on and writing this anyway. Plus it’s easy content! What you are about to dive into is my festival preview for 2022.
We all love a punk festival. They are a time where fans of punk from all over the world gather in a place to rekindle and make friendships, as well as watching the best bands around. Festivals always feel like a big celebration of what the punk scene is about and, after a very difficult couple of years, I think they are needed more than ever. Here’s a big ol’ preview of some that are happening in the UK and further afield in 2022.
Fishstock 2022 at The Exchange, Bristol (26th March)
Starting with one that isn’t technically a festival, it’s an all dayer but I wanted to include it anyway. Chris Fishlock is a promoter and all around legend based in Bristol. Each year they put on a show for their birthday and, all going to plan, 2022 isn’t going to be any different. We were fortunate enough to attend Fishstock in 2021 and it was one of our favourite days of the year. I really enjoyed the varied and diverse line up and 2022 looks to be just as good. Across the two stages at The Exchange are The Filaments, Grand Collapse, The Menstrual Cramps, 2 Sick Monkeys, Killdren, Darko, 51st State, Triple Sundae, Boom Boom Racoon, Roshambo, Buds., Cosmit, Sniff and Petty Treason. All this for just £12 as well!
Manchester Punk Festival, Manchester (15th to 17th April)
If you’re reading this you probably are well aware of Manchester Punk Festival and what an incredible weekend it is. After having to cancel in 2020 and not being able to put on the 2021 edition, MPF 2022 promises to be bigger and better than ever. Such is the excitement for the festival’s return, tickets for the weekend sold out six months in advance which is absolutely ridiculous. Talking about ridiculous, have you seen the line up?! I’m not listing them all as there’s loads of bands appearing over the three days, across half a dozen venues. If you like any music that falls under the punk umbrella there will be something for you.
Slam Dunk, Hatfield (4th June) / Leeds (5th June)
Slam Dunk pulled off somewhat of a miracle last year by not only managing to get their festival to happen but they were also one of the first events to be able to host international bands. I made a very last minute decision to attend last year and I’m very glad I did. The outdoor festival takes place in Hatfield and Leeds during the first weekend of June. So far they’ve given us two line up announcements and it’s looking massive already. Some stand outs for me are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Interrupters, Pennywise, Hot Water Music, The Vandals, Spanish Love Songs, The Flatliners, Meet Me @ The Altar and Pinkshift. I fully expect the Slam Dunk Team to bring out some more massive names in the coming months.
Bristol Booze Cruise at The Exchange, Bristol (18th to 19th June)
Bristol Booze Cruise is the sister festival of Hamburg Booze Cruise which, in my eyes, is the European equivalent of The Fest. Taking place at The Exchange in Bristol during June, the only news we have about the festival at the time of writing this is the first batch of bands playing. And what a first announcement it was! Some of the international acts included were Tigers Jaw, Dogleg, Dollar Signs, MakeWar, The Penske File, Mikey Erg, Ramona and Moonraker, alongside UK and Ireland acts such as Dream Nails, Fresh, Nervus, Cherym, Hell’s Ditch and Goodbye Blue Monday. It’s going to be a big weekend!
Hamburg Booze Cruise, Hamburg, Germany (24th to 26th June)
We attended Hamburg Booze Cruise for the first time in 2019 and it instantly became a must-attend event on our festival calendar. Stefan and the team put on such a wonderful event that we just fell in love with. Taking place at a handful of venues around the Hamburg docks as well as some sets on a boat, there isn’t any news on the line up as yet but I would imagine that a lot of the North American bands playing in Bristol will also be in Hamburg alongside some of the very best in European punk rock. Given that Brexit has now happened and screwed over UK bands being able to tour Europe and European bands being able to tour the UK, events like this are now your best chance to see your favourite bands from the mainland.
Punk Rock Raduno, Bergamo, Italy (14th to 17th July)
If you're into your three chord pop punk music then there is no better festival than Punk Rock Raduno. The festival brings together the very best acts in Ramonescore from all over the world and puts them on for free in a field in Northern Italy. I've long admired the festival and it's high on my list of festivals I must find time to go to at some point. The organisers have been releasing news on the line up over the last few months and it's already looking amazing. So far The Huntingtons, Giant Eagles, Dan Vapid And The Cheats, Stinking Polecats, Beatnik Termites, Geoff Palmer, Pat Todd And The Rankoutsiders, The Methadones and Baby Shakes have been announced and you should expect to see more of the amazing bands in the genre revealed soon.
Level Up Festival at New Cross Inn, London. (It’s usually in July.)
There’s actually been no news yet about whether or not the best ska punk festival in the world will be returning in 2022. In previous years the weekend-long festival which is put on by Be Sharp Promotions, Fishlock Promotions and El Topo Bookings has been a big highlight of the year. With ska’s popularity on the rise I would imagine that, if the festival does happen, it will be the craziest one yet. In the meantime I’m going to keep pestering Paul for news.
KNRD Fest in the woods near Nuremburg, Germany (22nd to 24th July)
KNRD Fest is an outdoor skate punk festival that takes place in some beautiful woods in Nuremburg, Germany. I’ve not seen any news on the 2022 line up yet, I suspect it will be coming in early 2022 but, looking at past line-ups, I’ve no doubt it will be stacked with the finest DIY bands Europe has to offer.
SBÄM Fest 4, Linz, Austria (30th to 31st July)
SBÄM Fest 4 already looks like it’s going to be huge and they don’t seem to have announced their headliners yet. Amongst the bands already announced are Descendents, Millencolin, The Bouncing Souls, Get Dead, Chaser, Love Equals Death and Roughneck Riot – and, like I said, they’ve not announced their headliners yet! The festival will also feature an art exhibit with SBÄM founder Stefan Beham’s designs of tour posters, album covers and merchandise, as well as international guests and their own work.
Wonk Fest at The Dome, London (30th July)
Wonk Unit’s annual big London party returns in July. Each year the band invite the friends they’ve made through touring to play at The Dome and I’m told every year is a massively wholesome time. No bands have been announced yet but you know the line-up is going to be packed. If all the bands aren’t enough to entice you, there will also be a buffet!
BRAKrock, Duffel, Belgium (5th to 7th August)
BRAKrock returns for its tenth anniversary in 2022. The outdoor Ecofest is now a staple in the European festival circuit and takes place in what looks to be a beautiful location. Promoter Kim has been hard at work booking and rebooking bands for the festival throughout the entire pandemic and, as things stand, the line-up currently features Descendents, Circle Jerks, Sick Of It All, The Bouncing Souls, Mad Caddies, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Get Dead, Authority Zero, Belvedere, The Decline and many, many more.
Punk Rock Holiday in Tolmin, Slovenia (9th to 12th August)
Slovenia’s Punk Rock Holiday is probably the most well-known European punk festival at this point. For years now the festival has been welcoming bands from all over the world to its two stages in what looks like a punk rock paradise. With two stages, one of which is on the beach, the festival hosts some of the biggest bands in the scene alongside some of the best new talent. At the time of writing, the line-up for 2022 has yet to be announced but the organisers are working hard on mirroring the 2020 line-up as best as they can. I’d predict there will be plenty of bands who are also playing BRAKrock and SBÄM on the line-up.
Washed Out Festival, Brighton (2nd to 4th September)
Washed Out Festival in Brighton is a celebration of all things independent and alternative music. Bringing in punk, emo, indie, hardcore and hip hop acts from all over the UK, Washed Out always looks like such a busy time with the amount of amazing established and up and coming acts that they book. This year the Washed Out team have also added Be Sharp Promotions, Upsurge Promotions and New Cross Live to their team to expand the festival even further.
Wotsit Called Fest at The Pig, Hastings (23rd to 25th September)
Wotsit Called Fest is a DIY festival put together by the Toxic Wotsit collective in Hastings on the south coast of England. Like a lot of the festivals in the back end of 2022, not much is known about the line-up but this year’s featured bands like The Filaments, Nosebleed, Knife Club, The Domestics, Killdren, Haest, Rash Decision and Pizzatramp so if that’s anything to go by then you should expect Wotsit Called Fest to be one of the rowdiest festivals of 2022.
Till The Fest in New Cross, South London (14th to 16th October)
Till The Fest was an event that was put on by DIY promoter Till The Wheels last year to celebrate twenty years of putting on gigs. It was a huge success and was my personal highlight of the year. I was over the moon to learn that Ollie would be making it a yearly event. The event had stages at The Amersham Arms, New Cross Inn and Matchstick Piehouse, whilst also running a record fair and a five-a-side football tournament. More news about the festival is due for the new year but early bird tickets are currently available on Dice. Don’t hang about. Ollie has already announced that Inner Terrestrials, Ducking Punches, Misfortune Cookie, Roshambo, Sniff, The Restarts, The Human Project, Other Half, Harker and Early Flights for the festival.
The Fest in Gainesville, Florida (28th to 30th October)
The only North American festival on this list, Gainesville’s The Fest is also probably the biggest. They welcome hundreds of punk bands from every conceivable genre to Gainesville to basically host a worldwide family reunion. In 2022, Fest will host its twentieth edition and I suspect all the stops will be pulled out to ensure it’s the biggest one ever. I’d expect plenty of surprises in the line-up alongside all the familiar faces. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford to get out to Florida for Halloween, then I look forward to seeing you there. The first line-up announcement and tickets will go live on the 20th of April.
Book Yer Ane Fest at Rad Apples and Conroy’s Basement, Dundee, Scotland (Usually the end of November)
Make-That-A-Take Records’ yearly punk rock get together Book Yer Ane Fest is one of my very favourite festivals I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. It’s perhaps the smallest in size in this preview but my goodness it’s a hell of a time. The last two additions primarily featured the very best in Scottish punk rock but bands from all over the UK and across the world have been known to make an appearance in the basement. BYAF is a celebration of all of the amazing work that MTAT do throughout the year and they also use their event to help raise much needed funds for local charities. If you’ve not been yet it should be at the top of your list.
Nice As Pie Race in Leeds (Not sure when)
Nice As Pie Race is a festival that takes place in Leeds put on by a collective promoting fun, kindness, pies and punk, what more could you possibly want? What makes the festival different to the others on this list is that all the bands the festival book feature folk who don’t classify themselves as male. There’s been a real push in the UK DIY scene to make gigs and festivals more diverse and operations like Nice As Pie are a wonderful part of this. Check out social media pages for all the upcoming details.
This column was written by Colin Clark.