Back on the ferry to travel up to Blackpool. Since last years fest a lot of water has flown under the bridge of life. I have less people in my world, have lost some loved ones and have been in a cycle of caring that has been beautifully exhausting. It’s been a struggle but we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Blackpool has a special place in my heart. From holidays as a kid, to watching the football team to now travelling over each year for a party of punk rock. I wanted to get over this year, it means a lot. Not just music but a chance to catch up with so many folks and a chance to recharge much drained batteries. 

So i sit on the boat and contemplate. Review the past and try drum up enthusiasm for the future. 

Thankfully I got to the winter gardens in time to see Lambrini girls offering up an explosion of energy. With that explosion is a call to arms, a calling out that it’s ok to be whatever you want to be.

Tits Up are a band I didn’t want to search in the internet but again a group of people standing up for their sexuality and ready to proclaim it loudly respect gender pronouns was the message on the T-shirt and the music was out to challenge, perfect punk rock I guesss. Full of edges that are still jagged.

Colera are Brazilian punk legends. I have heard their name many times but never listened to their ragin hardcore. A good receptive crowd were in place for them with some even singing along.

Steve ignorant is now a staple of the festival but slice of life are the ones I want to see him front. Songs about depression and love shows Steve laid bare. A man in his sixties can sing about bloody revolutions but to see Steve on stage with the mainly acoustic slice of life is refreshing.

Dunstan Bruce is the sort of person that would be pushing bands like Lambrini Girls and Tits Up back in Leeds in the late 70’s when Chumbawamba were collectively starting. I get knocked down is a film about a band full of contradictions who ended up with a chart topping song. The story being told feels like an exorcism in a way. His q&a after is illuminating. complete with heckling from Atilla the stockbroker. It doesn’t matter about getting older. Just keep doing what you’re doing. It’s not generational it’s cultural.

Dave Robinson, founder of Stiff Records

Dave robinson from stiff tecords told plenty of stories in much the same way as Terri Hooley from Good Vibrations would. I’m sitting here wondering how much of the stories were based in reality but it was very entertaining. The story of the label is a great story, Dave saw that something needed to be done and went out and did it. That simple, but a lot of hard wirk went into it.

Rubella ballet are still bringing their day Glo punk. The band started in 1979 way before the bass player was born but their tuneful anarcho punk has carried the test of time.

Cherry m from Derry and pop their way through their punky set. Trebly Sound levels didn’t help their cause but the three piece ploughed their way through it – a proper soundtrack to Derry girls would have these on it.

Culture Shock have been blasting out their beat punky reggae party at rebellion for years. They are staples here and the crowd lap it up.

Penetration were late replacement for the descendants but rocked their way. Penetration are from a different era of punk to the US hardcore band with their roots in those early days. A big crowd in the empress revelled in Pauline singing those classics on stage.

The Ramonas started their existence as a Ramones coeds band but have dabbled in their own compositions. I spent a lot of their set tonight wondering it it was an original or cover (for those that were originals). It was all acoustic and those Ramones choruses are memorable. .

Problem patterns are from Belfast and are Getting some great gigs .there’s a A big Irish turnout as usual at rebellion but not solely in the realm of The Outcasts and Paranoid Visions and Rotatir Vinyl / advanced records. The second band of the night to sing about Terfs reinforces every day is a school day for me. My middle aged grey head had to think about Terfs and their position in society. Music may be there to entertain but helps so much along the way if it informs. Their latest single Letter of resignation gets a strong post punk airing. You can’t fire me I’m leaving rings in our ears as we head back to our brown carpeted rooms with the smell of grease in the Blackpool air.

The Damned brought out a new album this year, Darkadelic. It’s great to see the spark of creativity still firing but in the context of so many other bands I saw today this is a all male rock band with some nice grooves but not one that will shake the foundations it was looking to smash when they released that first punk single nearly 50 years ago. Dave Vanian couldn’t make an appearance due to a “bad back” so the band cancelled. Cock Sparrer were called in as a late replacement but they were added to my list of bands I missed There a new generation of bands starting to emerge and it’s great to see. On my way here today I was listening to turned out a punk podcast and each episode Damon reminds us that Punk demands that you get involved. It’s heartening to see people now getting involved and having no fear.

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