“Don’t doubt yourself that there is a war on empathy”

Billy Bragg

I keep saying this festival is not only a nostalgic trip to the last but a reflection of the future. That much is obvious with the amount of new bands playing as well as those working their music these days. 

For me rebellion is the full package. I go back to yesteryear but live in the present. I see people I wrote to and also people who have written pieces for our current books. People still being creative.

Billy Bragg in conversation with John Robb

I interviewed Billy Bragg for *3 of my first zine. He generously gave up his time before going on stage and hasn’t really changed. He appeared on the literary stage telling stories. It started with more music and less politics. But evolved very quickly which I’m sure is a Billy’s way anyway. It was an unimaginable chasm between bands like the who and working class people getting up on stage but the clash showed anyone can be here. And then the clash’s politics shone through. The diy principle of punk is still with him today

I camped in the room of the literary stage listening to stories of yore but also of hope for the future.

Atilla dubbing away

I popped down to see atillas dub poetry. Not a million miles from the old rapping mole but a dub beat in the background and some nice rapping over. Telling us all to vaccinate in the sales style of exterminate was something that will stay with.

Dave Sharp from The Alarm

The alarm were always a strange band. Not quite punk enough to rock and rocked too much to punk I never really listened to them beside 68guns. More fool me as Dave Sharps solo show tonight was excellent.

Maid of ace

I needed some loud music and not being able to get into uk subs due to capacity issues meant I got it in the form of maid of ace. Powerful and raucous these really rocked out and we’re working hard to keep the crowd going, wilting after 4 days.

Billy Bragg encouraging every at R Fest to be the change they want

I don’t know if it was just me but I struggled to keep going today. I had ruts DC and CIitizen Fish down to see with some theatre of hate but I ventured down to the air of the seaside to listen to my old mate Billy Bragg. A great choice but any decision would be a good one. I saw Billy Bragg earlier this year and he has lost none of his political acumen. I’m standing on the sea from in Blackpool, over one side of the fence is the Irish Sea, a promised land I will be returning to tomorrow and one I couldn’t wait to leave all those years ago. On the other is the Blackpool strip – hens and stags parties galore. Kiss me quick hats and sticks of rock a plenty. Behind the Blackpool tower is my creed. Different shades of hair colour and studs and full of bands that want to make this world a better place. Much like Billy on stage tonight. 

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