Winter Gardens is taken over by punks of all types and ages for Rebellion Festival

Rebellion Festival 2012 review

published: Tue 7th Aug 2012

around the festival site

Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th August 2012
Blackpool Winter Gardens, 97 Church Street, Blackpool, Lancashire FY1 1HW, England MAP
£115 for the weekend
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Fri 6th Jul 2012

I can't believe this is my first Rebellion Festival. Every year I have wanted to go, since it was known as Wasted at Morecombe but something has always happened instead. Well this year I make it down for the Sunday, to catch Rancid and many others that grace the Winter Gardens venue for 2012's round. Many will be watching the Olympics and Usain Bolt defend his record, we will be at the Olympia stage performing for gold… at pogoing.

around the festival site
The venue upon approach looks quite small, until you move around the corner and see its sheer size. This Grade II complex holds a theatre, ballroom and many more conference rooms. For one weekend in August it is taken over by punks of all types and ages, ready to listen to everything from hardcore, acoustic and old school punk to all the stuff in between.

The Gardens host 7 venues; the large main stage at the Empress Ballroom, the smaller Olympia 1 and Olympia 2, the Arena, The Pavilion, Bizarre Bazaar at the Opera and the Pavilion, and the Almost Acoustic. All are easy to get to, meaning that the many clashes that present themselves (it's difficult with so many good bands) are not so bad. A pint of beer is around £3 on average with a good selection. Food could be better but it is cheap (and a quick nip out into Blackpool means you have a whole host of other food to choose from).

The festival has no camping, but there are many B&Bs around close to the venue. We only booked ours the week before and got a great deal from a friendly guy who was going to the festival himself. We will be back there next year for the full weekend. And the bonus of having it at the seaside is that when the sun does come out (which it did, turning some areas of the Gardens into a greenhouse with all it's beautiful huge windows and roofs) then you can nip down to the beach 5 minutes walk away for some sea breeze, rock and seagull dodging.

around the festival site
Now for £130 for a weekend ticket (£30-50 for a day ticket) this is a bargain. Yep accommodation is extra but who wouldn’t choose a hotel over a tent? It’s just been said this week that hotel websites are reporting a huge increase (+235%) in searches for hotels near festival sites as the muddy British weather is putting many off temporary life under canvas. As mentioned the B and Bs are cheap and lovely places to be; ours would have cost £80 each for 4 nights had we booked for the whole weekend.

As for the bands, Rancid was our main draw for the Sunday. Unfortunately they clashed with Agnostic Front, another huge draw. Most of the day however was spent walking around catching bands you did want to see and discovering others. Take Offence are an excellent hardcore band. Captain Hotknives just cracks the crowd up every time. Ginger (The Wildhearts) rocks the Almost Acoustic stage along with Louise Distras. Random Hand, and Goldblade perform early in the Ballroom, before The Neville Staple Band perform some well known Specials classics. We mean to see them all, but miss many, many great bands like Franz Nicolay, MxPx, Gimp Fist, Stiff Little Fingers, Altered Images, and UK Subs. Too much to do!

around the festival site
Other bands that played the festival over the weekend were Public Image Ltd. (PiL), Social Distortion, 7 Seconds, Buzzcocks, Snuff, The Slackers, Subhumans, Citizen Fish, Neck, Abrasive Wheels, The Vibrators, 5 Shitty Fingers, TV Smith, Rory McLeod, Ed Ache, Billy Liar, and Legend In Japan to pull a few out of the hat.

This is definitely a festival I will return to; everyone's really friendly and there is no trouble (well, the odd swaying drunk punk may lean on you for a bit or perhaps there's the danger of getting a mohawk spike in the eye). People are there for the same reason, to listen to good music and drink booze. The unique venue makes this a festival to visit at least once if you are into your punk. Highly recommended.

Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th August 2012
Blackpool Winter Gardens, 97 Church Street, Blackpool, Lancashire FY1 1HW, England MAP
£115 for the weekend
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Fri 6th Jul 2012


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