The Rebellion merch pack dropped through our door the other day, we think it’s pretty good, we like the t-shirt, but we like the CD even more.
Oh, Rebellion, how you taunt us. It’s like saying “We told you so”, or “This is what you could have won”.
We had a weekend of virtual Rebellion on Facebook and now this brilliant Introducing Stage CD arrived in the post the other day. It’s enough to make us weep for what could have been.
As with every other festival planned for this 2020, Rebellion had to go down as a fallow year. It was an early casualty, having announced pretty soon after lockdown started that the logistics just wouldn’t work.
Flying in bands from pretty much all over the world was simply too complicated, assuming they would be allowed into the UK and / or have to self isolate on arrival or quarantine when they got home.
Add to that the prospect of 10,000 sweaty punks milling around in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens (assuming even half of them decided they were willing to go) and we have a recipe for disaster.
It was a brave call to be made so early – after all, August was a long way away, right? Well, yeah, it was at the time the plug was pulled and nobody quite knew what the world would look like when the decision was made. In the event, it was the right decision.
But, for all the sense of community and good vibes that run through the Winter Gardens during the first weekend of August every year, Rebellion is a business and it needs to make money, or, maybe, at least, not lose money.
2020 would have been our 4th visit to Blackpool. Yes, we know that makes us relative novices. But, hey. From the first time we walked through the doors in 2017, we knew this was not going to be the last time we would be here.
Rebellion quickly became our highlight of the summer.
From Skids, Peter Hook, Mike Monroe, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, Svetlanas, Hands Off Gretel, Evil Blizzard, Misty In Roots, UK Subs, The Lovely Eggs, Vice Squad, dragSTER and many others, we have seen many, many superb sets over the years.
The big stages do, of course, pull in the big names.
But we quickly learned that one of the most interesting places to be was the Introducing Stage. Set up in a bar area at the back of the building in a space that could hold, maybe 200 people, it was an amazing place to discover the new, the wild and the weird. Obviously, almost by definition, the bands that played that stage were bands we’d not heard before.
But the Rebellion booking policy is almost flawless, and every time we passed by that stage we were pretty much guaranteed to see something amazing. It was a learning process and we have many CDs at home from bands we first saw on that stage.
With no actual festival this year, Rebellion has been pushing its merch as hard as it can. There’s a 2020 T-Shirt for the “Festival That Wasn’t” as well as a “Collector’s Edition” programme.
But, best of all is the continuation of a CD series that started only 4 years ago. Since 2017 Rebellion has gathered together a track from each of the bands playing the Introducing Stage and released it as a double CD, usually getting to about 50 or so songs crammed onto two discs.
2020 is no different, albeit that none of the bands actually played.
For the meagre price of a pint (and a bit) you can have a Rebellion Introducing Stage at home and go on a discovery trip of your own. You never know what you may find.
There seems to be little purpose in attempting to review the album – it will be different things to different people. Having said that, we do like the kind of Lena Lovich feel of Duda Dance by Genn and the less than subtle Stop Being Dickheads To Each Other by Those Fucking Snowflakes.
Maybe a heads up, also, to Russian outfit Criminal State and their very shouty number Deadly Race. Bet they’re popular in the Kremlin.
There’s so much to find. We did on previous years. We miss Rebellion, but we know it will be back. We miss the Introducing Stage even more.
Rebellion Introducing 2020 is on Bandcamp along with the releases from other years.