Rebellion 2016

Rebellion 2016 – festival preview

In two weeks’ time the Rebellion Festival will be in full swing at The Winter Gardens, Blackpool – 10,000 of us under one roof, plus a brand new outdoor stage opposite the main doors of the Winter Gardens – this year’s festival is the biggest in its 20 year history with a staggering 355 acts spread over the four days.

The festival now also incorporates the Opera House, one of the biggest theatres in Europe that will host poetry readings, film screenings, interviews and audience Q+A’s as well as full band/artist sets.

The Rebellion Festival
August 4-7th 2016
Blackpool Winter Gardens

This year’s festival celebrates the 20th year of Rebellion, and links in with the celebrations surrounding the 40th anniversary of punk.

The depth and variety of legendary bands performing at this year’s festival is positively overwhelming, and with 350+ performers there will clearly be the dreaded band clashes; despite this we have picked out just a few of the bands appearing – bands and artists who we think you should make the effort to check out.

The full line up is available at Rebellion Line-Up

Max Splodge will be opening proceedings each and every day with his unique ‘Bingo with Max’ – less bingo balls, more anecdotes about Blackpool B&B’s, dying tramps, and crap prizes all fuelled by the odd glass or two – not to be missed, in the Main Bar every day.

Viki V

The ever popular Rebellion Introducing Stage is to run across the full four days, Gloucester based Black Art will be appearing early on Thursday, delivering their blackened hardcore as featured on their ‘Dashed Hopes & Broken Fingers’ album – though if that’s not your thing Addictive Philosophy will be on the Pavilion Stage, which also hosts the rather wonderful Viki Vortex & The Cumshots who will be delivering their raw dayglow 77’ style punk pulling tracks from their debut album ‘Splaat’

Staying in the Pavilion – do not miss Army Of Skanks, we loved their album ‘La Petite Mort’ and suggested that this is one band who most definitely deserved your attention. B-Movie Britz are another young band we have championed, this will be there second Rebellion appearance as they make the move from Introducing Stage to the Arena.

Army Of Skanks

The Opera House will be open for the entire four days, and Mrs Rebellion; Jennie Russell-Smith is being interviewed on the Thursday afternoon – were not sure if she will be confining the topics discussed to her band The Crows or providing an insight into all the work that goes into the festival; either way, this one could be fiery!

Later in the afternoon Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs will be bringing their gutter folk to the Opera House having packed the Acoustic Stage back in 2015 – this will be prior to an interview with the legendary Slim Jim Phantom; I suggest getting there early for that one; trouble is that the rest of the nights offerings in the Opera House are so enticing you won’t want to leave – TV Smith plays, DJ Don Letts is being interviewed, before John Robb’s Membranes bring their ‘Dark Matter / Dark Energy’ to the stage; no idea if they will be bringing the 20pc choir with them but this is another set not to miss

We recommend catching Spain’s Pussycat Kill in the Empress Ballroom, likewise LTW Records own Evil Blizzard, who came close to filling the 3000 capacity venue during their 2015 Rebellion debut – expect the unexpected! From gruesome masks, ridiculous outfits, Blizzpig, Mopman – the infamous audience members in their own weird outfits to the hard core Blizziots – those daft enough to have adorned themselves with Evil Blizzard tattoos!


US legends Descendents have chosen Rebellion to be their only UK headline show this year – they take to the Empress Ballroom Stage at 11pm on the Thursday before Don Letts closes first day’s proceedings with a full DJ set.

On the Friday we recommend you shake off the hangover and catch Wolf Bites Boy on the Introducing Stage, adrenaline fuelled, infectious hook laden sing along rabble rousing punk rock – this will certainly clear your head, and might just prepare you for Super Fast Girlie Show who will be making their first of two Friday appearances; this one is on the Acoustic Stage – we have no idea how a band built around a twin bass and drum sound will pull this off, but they have gone utterly acoustic and are promising something very different this show has certainly had plenty of people talking so we suggest another ‘get there early’. Attila The Stockbroker will on the Acoustic Stage later in the afternoon, I saw him earlier in the year at the Bearded Theory Festival – with all the current political upheaval he is possibly even more vociferous than is normally expected!

Created with GIMP

Luton based Hazard are opening the Arena Stage; well worth catching and effortlessly dispelling the myth that punk is not for the youth; slightly older but equally as vital are Paranoid Visions who formed back in 1982 – prior to any of Hazard being born! This band just keep getting better and better, they released the album ‘Cryptic Crosswords’ in 2015 and are due to release a further album early next year. Another outfit with a long history are Airdrie based Reaction, there debut album ‘Accelerator’ was released a few months back – some 37yrs after they formed, catch them as they open the Arena Stage, the same stage will host the second Super Fast Girlie Show of the day – this time it will be their full on cosh to the head bass mayhem as evidenced on their album ‘Don’t Go Down Gentle’

In complete contrast we whole heartedly instruct you to see Steve Ignorant’s Slice of Life early in the Opera House, from Crass to piano driven songs of emotion, struggle and humanity – Steve has been on a remarkable journey, do not miss his latest chapter. Other being interviewed that day include Pauline Murray, Alvin Gibbs, Brix Smith, and Peter Hook who a short time later with his band The Light will be performing a full Joy Division set.

The Tower Street will also be hosting Wonk Unit and Ferocious Dog – I suggest that Ferocious Dog and their ‘Hell Hounds’ followers may well be the first ‘lock out’ of the festival as they rip through their current ‘From Without’ album; the UK Subs will also be heading onto the Tower Street Stage – this will be the first opportunity for the majority of their followers to see them with Steve Straughan, as he recently replaced Jet on guitar, the Subs Rebellion appearances are always busy, I anticipate this one will be rammed.

Plenty to keep you interested on the Saturday – highlights include Carol Hodge on the Almost Acoustic stage, appearing solo away from Steve Ignorant’s Slice of Life; be good to hear some of her own Wrecks material in such intimate surroundings; will be interesting to hear the interview with Graham Fellows AKA Jilted John who then appears for a full set in the Empress Ballroom later that evening. Pauline Murray and Louise Distras will be appearing Almost Acoustic, and at midnight Steve Ignorant & Paranoid Visions will take to the Pavilion Stage – this being one of the biggest clashes of the weekend as its at exactly the same time Jello Biafra will be being interviewed in the Opera House.

Louise Distras

Good to see Birmingham based Spirit Bomb earning a slot in the Tower Street Arena, if you haven’t heard their ‘Bridge On Fire’ album then now is the time; In Evil Hour have moved from the Ballroom to Tower Street for this year’s appearance, certainly check them out if you are yet to enjoy their unique hardcore sound; There is another major clash on Saturday night; The Damned and Cock Sparrer both take to their stages at 10.50pm; The Damned are currently on fine form; fresh from their 40th Anniversary celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall, whilst Cock Sparrer’ street punk never fails to ignite a capacity crowd – then throw in Ruts DC at 10.45 who will be showcasing material from their forthcoming ‘Psychic Attack’ Pledge release in the Opera House; the single of the same name has been out for a while and is a fine taster of quite where Segs and the boys are going right now – this slot has been causing headaches for weeks already!!

Blackpool based Eye The Bomb are playing the Introducing Stage early Sunday afternoon – brave choice from the Rebellion organisers as ETB fuse together elements of rock, funk, hip-hop and punk; this may well be the only band all weekend to feature a turntable! Balsall Heathens take to the Almost Acoustic stage at a respectable 6.20pm, made up of Colin ‘Jock’ Blythe, founding member and guitarist/songwriter of punk legends G.B.H. and Sam who has played with countless bands in the past and is currently playing in The Alcohol Licks, & Contempt, aside from Sam’s reliably impressive double Mohawk check out their recently released ‘Life’s Too Short’ EP

Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man will be unleashing their behemoth rage in the Arena, as they look to promote their brand new, and really rather fantastic ‘Colossal Velocity’ album which in a LTW review I described as “a 17 track head crack of raging, humour ridden hardcore punk delivered hammer like to the base of your skull.” – Who wouldn’t want that with their Sunday lunch?

Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man

The Opera House will feature interviews with Capt. Sensible, a full set from The Nightingales, plus a world premiere screening of the Slaughter & The Dogs ‘Back to the Start’ documentary; Goldblade are making a (nowadays) rare live appearance, they will be unleashing their hooligan blues via the Tower Street Stage, sadly at the same time Louise Distras and her full band take to the Empress Ballroom, and then were into the home straight – people will be flagging; Dirt Box Disco have the task of reigniting the flame; having filled the Empress Ballroom in 2015 they have been moved to the slightly larger Tower Street stage and will have the place bouncing at least 10mins before their tea-time slot.

Dirt Box Disco 2

Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School Of Medicine take to the Tower Street stage at 9.25pm – its 2yrs since Jello last played at Rebellion showcasing the bands second full album ‘White People And The Damage Done’ – sadly as events around the globe unfold the biting lyric seems ever more relevant, then another clash over headliners and festival closers – the gritty punk of Stiff Little Fingers or the neon kaleidoscope explosion that is The Adicts, complete with Monkey’s outrageous costumes, enough ticket tape to fill the venue and beach balls the BFG would be envious of…

Adicts 2

Clearly we have not even skimmed the surface, we would also recommend you check out; Brassick, System Of Hate, Bouncing Souls, On Trial UK, Pauline Murray (Acoustic), Roughneck Riot, The Restarts, Eastfield, Extreme Noise Terror, and The Defects

Rebellion 2016 is looking like the best one ever!

There are very few individual Day tickets left (literally a handful – Saturday has SOLD OUT), and Weekend tickets are now limited (under 375 left) and only available from the Rebellion Shop direct.

See you there…

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


  1. Nice one for reaching out to some of the smaller bands on the bill, doesn’t always happen in these sorts of pieces.


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