One of my favourite times of the year is when the Rebellion Festival, at the Winter Gardens, comes to town.
Thankfully for me and a lot of my friends, it’s on our doorstep. The atmosphere is friendly and everyone
is in a great mood. Friends come from miles around, and I don’t just mean this country. I mean Australia,
Canada, Brazil, Japan and other far flung destinations. It’s a fantastic, international party. It’s not just
the punk music fans who travel from afar but also the stall holders, the bands, the photographers and many
While I was riding my push-bike home one evening from the venue, dressed in my punk gear, a lady stopped
me and asked, “Is there some kind of punk rock reunion going on?” “Yes!” I said and rode off. I thought
about this further and realised that to me it’s not a reunion – that sounds like you’ve not seen people for years or you’ve been brought together because someones’s died. Me and my friends see each other regularly and go to gigs on a regular basis too, as do other punks around the country. Rebellion is just a ‘huge’ gig – a glorious gathering, an extension of every punk’s social calendar.
We’ve had a lovely summer so far in Blackpool and I’m sure not complaining. The festival falls in August
and this year, inside the Winter Gardens, it has been super hot. It’s warm in there at this time of year,
no matter what the weather’s like, but this year has been the hottest yet for me. I love to sport one of my
three leather jackets but never do at Rebellion – I’d keel over in the heat! I know to some it’s
uniform but I doff my hat to those who keep their leathers on, especially in the arena where it can get
sweltering. I’ve got nothing negative to say about this year’s festival, but if I had to change just one thing,
it would be the temperature.
Rebellion obviously caters for punks, skin-heads, goths, pyschobillys etc. but the range of music seems to
be getting greater. Not only can you listen to punk favourites like The Damned, UK Subs, Cock Sparrow, G.B.H., The Business, The Exploited, The Buzzcocks and Sham69 but you can also see the likes of Chas’n’Dave, Abba Sensation and Space! There are bands with a ska, folk, Irish and European sound to them too.
My favourites bands/performances, this year, came from G.B.H, Jello Biafra (Ex-Dead Kennedys) and best of all, Sham69. Jimmy Pursey’s egotistical performance was brilliant. He was moody, angry, appreciative and quite magnificent. Other bands like Dirtbox Disco, The Red Paintings & Random Hand had the crowds in their pocket – fantastic live acts!
I must finish off by congratulating the number of local bands that appeared this year, each of which produced
outstanding sets. I tip my cap (if i don’t have anything super-glued to my head) to One Way System, Pink Hearse, Crackshot & Dysphonia. Long may they continue to wow the crowds.
Until next year…
All photography by Jez Wright
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