Review: Rebellion 2012

Caroline Fisher gives us a round up of Rebellion 2012.

Blackpool’s Rebellion festival has once again been and gone (as usual it went far too quickly!) but most who attended are in full agreement that it was a great weekend. This year had even more to offer than ever before with over 6 stages and arts areas showing well over 40 acts per day. It was good to see that almost every area in The Winter Gardens was used this year to include the various activities, ranging from a literary festival with interviews, spoken word and poetry to an ‘Almost Acoustic’ stage, Art and crafts on display and for sale in The Spanish Hall, Bizarre Bazaar (held in The Pavilion by day and The Opera House in the evenings), market stalls in The Pavilion selling clothes, music, punk rock (the sugar variety!) and accessories, Punk Cinema to the lively goings on in the Empress Ballroom, Olympia and Arena stages. The Pavilion after parties were kicked off on the Thursday by celebrating 50 years of Jamaican Independence with a Rudeboy blues party, followed by a diverse range of DJs on subsequent evenings until up to 2am for those with plenty of endurance!

KeI & Ady from Brisbane
KeI & Ady from Brisbane

Old faces and new faces, people from far and wide filled the entire Wintergardens over the 4 day event. Kel & Ady from Brisbane travelled a whopping 32 hours specifically to come to Blackpool for Rebellion, so when I asked them if it was worth the time, money and effort, they were quick to respond positively. It was surprising to see so many Australians around this year given the distance and costs attributed but it appeared to be due to a combination of 2 things, the first being the Sydney band ‘Rust’ was appearing on the bill for the first time and the second as Kel & Ady put it, ‘there’s just nothing like Rebellion in terms of scale and quality anywhere in Aus’. I also met a couple from New York who said pretty much the same thing, which was surprising as I always assumed NYC had a bustling music scene, but that gives us all the more reason to be appreciate the fact that this festival is on our doorstep!

Deef de Kanarie from Spijkenisse, NL said, ‘The best show for me was U.K. Subs, funniest show was Captain Hotknives but the biggest disappointment were the Buzzcocks.  Kunt and the Gang are becoming more and more popular every year and should play in the Empress (larger stage) next year? The best thing about the festival is meeting up with old and new friends’. 

Local lad Jez never fails to deIiver with his comedy punk ‘hair do’s, this year Jed displayed a different ‘do’ daily of toy soldiers, baby bottle teats, Lego and Doctor Who fan favourites the Darleks!

Jez's hair do's
Jez’s hair do’s

Jez,‘I totally look forward to the punk festival, Rebellion, every year. It’s a unique blend of music, culture and most of all, the feeling of being part of something special. Friends come from afar – Holland, USA, Ireland (to name a few places) and it’s as if you only saw them last weekend. Nowhere else will you see people from different backgrounds and communities blending together so easily. The music is fabulous and with the art and stalls, they combine to make the best punk and alternative festival in the world. Long may it continue because ‘Punk is not dead!’

Alex SgtMajor Brooke and her husband Nick are well known both locally and at most punk gatherings and are an almost certain sight. Alex, ‘Rebellion Festivals never cease to amaze me, even after attending every year since Darren Russell started them in 1996. We watched 42 bands from over 200 and our main music highlights this year: The Fits, returning with lead singer Mick Crudge who was brought up in Blackpool. Their first ever appearance at Rebellion and they played a blinding set. Argy Bargy, as good as ever, with a new album out and taking time out to speak to fans. UK Subs, excellent set, now seen by my husband Nick Reg Brooke 73 times, Charlie Harper (of UK subs) enjoyed himself browsing the stalls and catching up with everyone. RANCID were joint biggest crowd with UK Subs and first appearance so far at Rebellion, Rancid were fast paced, focused with a catchy set. Roughneck Riot and Eastfield usually play pub gigs but both had packed audiences in the Arena. TV Smith and the Valentines, excellent set and a great crowd! Paranoid Visions, Irish punk at its best, went down a treat in the Olympia. New for 2012 was the Opera House stage, fully seated so great for the aching legs and feet. We saw Bow Wow Wow and Spizz Energy in there and the sound was particularly good, so one to look out for if it’s open again for 2013. Our tickets have been bought for next year already at £100 advance for over 200 bands it’s excellent value for money, the hardest part is prioritising who to see!’

SteB, ‘It’s pretty obvious by now that rebellion is getting bigger and better each year. However this causes the difficult decision of deciding who to see and careful planning needs to be implemented. Highlights for me personally were one of my favourite bands ‘Social Distortion’ who despite a good set, appeared to have toned themselves down from the times I’ve seen them perform in London. Too many great bands to mention but to name a few , The Real McKenzies, Buzzcocks, TV Smith, SLF, PIL, The Boys, 999 and many more made an all round great weekend. Whoever said punk was dead?’

Kayleigh and Nikki of Fleetwood band Pink hearse (performed in the Olympia Sunday afternoon) had a very good crowd turnout even though their timeslot clashed with the popular Random Hand. Kayleigh, ‘The best bits of Rebellion this year has to be the whole general weekend of getting pissed, seeing old faces and of course the music. The gig went really well and it looked like people enjoyed it, especially when Nikki climbed into the crowd to dance with everyone. I can’t wait for next year if they’ll have us!’ Nikki, ‘Best bits are the music, meeting new people and watching Fenton get drunk. Our gig was well received and I was really glad my voice kept up! It’s also nice to see people from all over the world coming to support us. We really appreciate it!’


Karina Rinaroo Clarke, ‘Rebellion 2012…. as ever an awesome line up. It was great to see the Thurs night busy for a change. The Business were amazing as ever and at last I can say I have seen The Buzzcocks live, it was well worth the wait. The best band though for me was Roughneck Riot although UK Subs and Rancid really saw the weekend go out with a bang!’

Roddy Fudge, ‘Rebellion for me can be summed up with: Very drunk, very painful, but incredibly enjoyable.‘

David of Punk Cartoons, ‘Rebellion Festival has now been and gone and the four days flew by. There was the chance to see loads of bands, but I only managed to see a few as I spent a lot of time upstairs in the Punk Art Exhibition. There really wasn’t that many bands I wanted to see but the ones I saw by chance were excellent. Saturday was the day for me as Public Image Limited (PiL)were playing. The Empress Ballroom filled up for PiL with people queuing to get in. They played a set that started with This is Not a Love Song and included new album tracks Deeper Water and One Drop, also older songs like Death Disco, Rise, Religion and ending with Open Up. With the nature of PiL’s extended songs a few people started to leave after about four songs. This made it easier to get closer to the front. I thought the audience would be a bit hostile with being at a punk show with John Lydon AKA Johnny Rotten playing, but I didn’t hear any shouts for Sex Pistols songs. Someone did throw some water at the stage and John berated the offending idiot (In true Lydon style!) I went to see them again in Newcastle on Monday night and Manchester on Tuesday.  Lydon’s voice sounds great and the band is getting better every performance.


I spent most of Sunday in the Punk Art Exhibition and had to be around to pack my display away. The only band I saw that day were Altered Images. Although the only member from back in the day is Clare Grogan, they played a brilliant set, including I could be happy, Dead Popstars  and their most famous song, Happy Birthday. A lot of people were in the Opera House considering Rancid were on at the same time. It was nice to see some band members were wandering around the building over the weekend and I spotted Lars Frederiksen of Rancid, TV Smith, Gaye Advert and Mark Mob of The Mob. On the Wednesday afternoon when I was setting up my display I saw Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen!’

From guitar or puppet wielding comedians, interviews, art, Ska, 80’s pop to hardcore punk rock the weekend was more than just a festival of Punk Rock and anyone expecting just a noisy rabble and a lot of spitting would be sadly mistaken (although you might have seen a little bit). Tickets are already available for next year at the early bird price of £100 for the full 4 days, and with an estimated 12+ hours of music per day, plus all that’s on offer with regards to the diverse mix of punk acts, arts, cinema and even shopping (and some would argue it’s a safer atmosphere too) it’s not a bad price really, especially in comparison to other music festival weekends (not to mention the convenient location for us locals!)

Roll on next year!

You can keep up to date with the latest Rebellion news on their website at www.rebellionfestivals.com

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  • Show Comments (7)

  • Caroline Fisher
  • Caroline Fisher
  • jez

    great review and some very attractive people in the photos…

  • He Dreamt Mars

    Great review of the week/end. Its always great to see the punks in our town at this time of year.

  • Corrine Streetly

    Hi, I really enjoyed your article, I thought it was very interesting and informative!

  • Alex SgtMajor Brooke

    Nice to see all the articles on here with everyone saying what a great time they had. The atmosphere was particularly relaxed this year, the security staff were enjou=ying the weekend almost as much as the rest of us and it really made a difference. Roll on next year!

  • Lynette

    Great review – I’m sorry I missed it.

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