Music Venue Trust address a year without Live Music
We begin this week’s roundup of the best music news with a somewhat sombre milestone. This week marked an entire calendar year since most music venues hosted their last show and closed their doors.
With the coronavirus pandemic continuing, but with a glimmer of hope on the horizon, the Music Venue Trust has issued a pertinent statement. The trust has worked tirelessly to cement the future of live music.
Without our grassroots venues future talent would have nowhere to hone their craft. Many will be forever grateful to the Music Venue Trust for their work during this unique and terrifying year. You can read their full statement on their Facebook page here.
Following the recent government roadmap announcement, our weekly roundup has been dominated with festival news. This week however we have some great tour news and fantastic new music to share with you.
First up is the incredible Wolf Alice, who have just unveiled a lengthy tour around the UK. The run of 13 shows will commence in Glasgow on Friday 7th January and end in Bristol on Sunday 30th.
The tour will give fans the opportunity to hear songs from the bands upcoming third album ‘Blue Weekend’ live. Fans who pre-order that album from their official/Dirty Hit’s store will get early access to tickets from Wednesday 24th March. General Sale for tickets is Friday 26th March.
As festivals across the country continue to sell out in the wake of the roadmap announcement by government, we had to bring you one line-up on our News Report! This week we bring news from Camper Calling which is set to take place August 27-29 in Warwickshire.
Topping the line-up are Supergrass and Manic Street Preachers. There will also be appearances from The Pigeon Detectives, Embrace and The Magic Numbers alongside an eclectic mix of acts. If you like what you see, you can grab your tickets here.
Myles Kennedy reveals ‘The Ides of March’
Now, it’s the time in our News Report to run through the best new releases this week.
Myles Kennedy recently announced the release of his second solo album, ‘The Ides of March’. This week Kennedy unveiled the title track, which you can check out above. To pre-order the album head here.
This week is been a great week for new music as we were also treated to ‘Smouldering Sticks’, the new single from Press To Meco. The band are gearing up for the release of their new album ‘Transmute’ on June 11th. You can pre-add/save here.
Download Festival postpones again and unveils 2022 line-up
Last Week the government announced their roadmap out of lockdown and into some form of normality. That roadmap paved the way, hopefully, for the return of music festivals after June 21st.
As such this week has seen many festivals selling out as fans rush to book up their first festival since 2019. Many festivals have announced their plans for 2021 and we will cover some of those in this News Report. Sadly for some, the date of June 21st has meant the need to postpone for a second year.
One such festival is the rock/metal giant Download Festival. Unable to go ahead this year, the Donington event has announced that it will return in 2022. The three day event takes place from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th June, and will see headline sets from Kiss, Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro.
This is truly one not to be missed, and you can pick up your tickets here.
Another legendary festival whose dates were incompatible with the governments roadmap was Isle of Wight Festival. Thankfully for the islanders, there was scope for the event to move to later in the year.
The island will now get its music fix from 16-19 September. There is no confirmed line-up yet, however organisers have stated they will be trying to keep as much of the existing line-up as possible.
Neighbourhood Weekender also makes move to September
September has featured a handful of late festivals in recent years, but September 2021 looks set to be festival central. Another festival making the move to the ninth month is Neighbourhood Weekender.
The event has already provided fans with its revised line-up that features a fantastic mix of old favourites and new artists. Headlining the event will be Gerry Cinnamon, James and Catfish And The Bottlemen. They are joined by the likes of The Coral, The Wombats, The Pigeon Detectives, Miles Kane, Shed Seven and Lightning Seeds.
There is also a plethora of young artists including some of our favourites such as Pale Waves, The Murder Capital, The Mysterines, Zuzu, Lauran Hibberd and Sports Team.
Standon Calling will celebrate its 15th Birthday in style as the festival returns over the weekend of 22nd-25th July. With huge sets from Bastille, Hot Chip, Primal Scream and Craig David’s TS5 the event is set to be a party to remember.
Also appearing across the weekend will be the likes of De La Soul, Mystery Jets and Bob Vylan. Grab your tickets here.
Splendour is on in Nottingham
Finally from the festival announcement portfolio this week is Nottingham event Splendour. The day event returns to Wollaton Park on Saturday 24th July. The event will feature performances from Richard Ashcroft, Supergrass and Rick Astley.
Great news this week from the Black Honey camp as the band unveiled a new UK Tour for later this year. The band will release their new album ‘Written & Directed’ on March 19th. If you pre-order that album before March 9th you will get priority access to tickets.
Danko Jones announce 25th anniversary livestream shows
Canadian rockers Danko Jones have announced details of two very special livestream events to celebrate their 25th anniversary. The European stream will take place on Saturday 13th March and you can grab your tickets here.
Full Pelt Music looks back on 2020 for our Year in Review
What a year to pick to review. It’s been a year like no other and not for good reasons.
On a personal level as detailed within my first blog, ‘The Reluctant Blogger’, I was made redundant from a job I loved, just before Christmas and during a global pandemic! Not nice, but realistically I wouldn’t be writing this blog on this website if that hadn’t happened! The decision to return to writing about music also allowed me to take a look at the relationship between music and my mental health in ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’.
For the world it has been a year of pain, struggle and despair. From the fires of Australia to the flooding of the UK early in the year and now again just before Christmas; there has been no restpite in the year of the coronavirus. Unprecedented is the word of the year, but with Brexit and the ongoing pandemic looming large, the word for next year is probably uncertain.
Everybody has struggled this year, personally and professionally. This struggle is not limited to the music industry but our industry has struggled greatly. The live side of the industry is built on bringing people together and of course that has not been possible since March. The recorded side of the industry has also struggled with delays in recording, producing and distributing.
Recovery for the grassroots of the industry is far from guaranteed. The stark and sad reality is that many musicians and hard working crew members will have needed to have sought alternative employment and the actuality here is that many will never return to the music industry. The fact is many government schemes setup to alleviate the financial pressures on individuals and businesses simply bypassed these people.
Unfortunately the pandemic has also hastened the plight of many grassroots, independent music venues. We have sadly already lost many venues and there are still many more at imminent risk of permanent closure. We have written extensively about the issues surrounding our industry in our blog ‘Why We Need To #SaveOurVenues’, and we encourage you to get involved in the initiatives highlighted.
This is of course a creative and innovative industry and through struggle we evolve. Much like the loss of my own job bred this website, the loss of touring and live shows has seen the evolution of the livestream. Many musicians have embraced technology and sought new ways to engage with their audiences. We have looked at the rise of this phenomenon in our blog ‘Livestreams: Good or Bad for the Music Industry’.
When looking back on 2020 in the future, the memories will fill everybody with dread. There has however been some fantastic musical highlights despite everything else. We recently revealed our Album of the Year in our ‘2020 Album of the Year’ blog; and the Top 20 list was highly competitive.
2020 has produced some incredible music and that’s where we are going to focus this end of year review. In order to celebrate the successes of a very difficult year we going to look at the following awards – Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Gig of the Year, Festival of the Year and Artist of the Year!
Album of the Year
As mentioned we recently listed our Top 20 Albums of the Year here. This was a highly competitive list as 2020 saw some truly phenomenal releases.
We said “It has been a crazy year, and this list has been heavily influenced by that. As mentioned the top of this list is massively impacted by new music I heard during the height of the initial lockdown. ‘Ultra Mono’ was an album that I was already extremely excited to hear; and the stream of songs released during Lockdown only served to raise that excitement to a fever pitch.
Thankfully IDLES didn’t disappoint and when the album arrived it was a pure masterpiece. It shows a natural progression on the bands first two records and grows the bands sound. It still captures what made us all fall in love with the band but by incorporating new elements into the bands sound the album shows that IDLES are no one trick pony.
Above all other releases this year and those that feature in this list, this was the album that we needed this year. In a year where we have all been knocked down one way or another, IDLES and ‘Ultra Mono’ has been a call to arms, to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and keep going.”
WINNER:‘Ultra Mono’ by IDLES
The Contenders:‘A Hero’s Death’ by Fontaines D.C., ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ by Bring Me The Horizon, ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ by Enter Shikari, ‘A Celebration of Endings’ by Biffy Clyro, and ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ by Creeper
Single of the Year
It’s been a good year for both Bring Me The Horizon and Yungblud, with both releasing stunning new records. Yungblud recently hit the number one spot with ‘weird!’ which we reviewed here, and Bring Me The Horizon silenced their doubters with ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ which we reviewed here.
It shouldn’t therefore be so much of a surprise that their collaboration together is our standout single of the year. Accompanied by an over the top video, ‘Obey’ is a rip roaring tale of corruption and brainwashing, so perfectly fitting for 2020!
WINNER:‘Obey’ by Bring Me The Horizon feat. Yungblud
The Contenders:‘Model Village’ by IDLES, ‘Space’ by Biffy Clyro, ‘Trouble’s Coming’ by Royal Blood, and ‘Protect The Land’ by System Of A Down
Gig of the Year
I was lucky enough to catch some fantastic shows early in the year, you know BC (before Covid!), and Stereophonics, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Kaiser Chiefs and Fontaines D.C. all deserve special mention.
For my Gig of the Year however I’m again looking to the Covid era.
When life has drastically changed and you’ve been deprived of the opportunity to do something you love, you learn to savour those moments more. For me, as somebody that in 2019 attended some 93 gigs, the loss of live music was devastating. Of course, many people have endured much worse in 2020, particularly at the height of the initial national lockdown; for me however, I was just desperate for live music.
The opportunity to watch real, live music again thankfully emerged (if only for a short time) at the end of summer. Frank Turner lives by the moto “Always on Tour”, and he wasn’t going to let a global pandemic get in the way. An innovative location for a socially distanced gig was Nottingham Arboretum, basically a bandstand in a park. The result was a stunning if unusual setting for a gig which came to life when night fell and Turner serenaded the sold out crowd with his biggest hits.
A great supporting cast including Tash Bird, Holly Carter and Beans On Toast helped to make this show one to remember. The musicianship on show was fantastic, as was the togetherness and gratefulness of an audience desperate to once again forget life’s stresses and enjoy an evening of music. It was a powerful evening that brought tears to many an eye, and that’s why it wins our Gig of the Year award.
WINNER: Frank Turner @ Nottingham Arboretum (20/09)
The Contenders: Stereophonics @ Kentish Town Forum (21/01), Kaiser Chiefs @ Brighton Centre (30/01), Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes @ Alexandra Palace (15/02), and Fontaines D.C. @ Norwich UEA (24/02)
Festival of the Year
The coronavirus pandemic completely obliterated the 2020 festival season, as early optimism that some festivals would survive was eventually swallowed whole by this horrible virus. With social distancing in place, festivals just were not possible. But didn’t I say that the music industry is the most creative and innovative industry? Whilst some promoters attempted to arrange socially distant shows, tours and festivals, few succeeded; with even Live Nation cancelling a huge programme of drive in shows.
I was lucky enough however to venture to two such festivals at the Norfolk Showground near Norwich. A mixture of entertainment was laid on in a specially designed arena with socially distanced ‘pods’ maintaining the necessary safety measures. Brickfest was a one day festival focussing on covers band with a handful of original acts like headliners Bad Touch thrown in. The day was a huge success given the circumstances, as was our 2020 Festival of the Year – Wild Fields Festival!
Wild Paths Festival debuted in Norwich last year with acts gracing venues across the fine city. This year the event embraced the outside arena and rebranded as Wild Fields Festival over two days was an eclectic line-up on offer. The first day featured great sets from many young artists including Lauran Hibberd, Indoor Pets, Another Sky and headliners Gengahr.
Even through the greatest adversity the power of the arts shines through and Wild Paths was a shining example of how to put on a safe, fun and thoroughly entertaining festival during a global pandemic.
WINNER: Wild Fields Festival
The Contenders: Brickfest
Artist of the Year
Our final award is for Artist of the Year. In a such an unprecedented and difficult year this award is going to an act that has considerably contributed to making the year better. Fantastic new music has played a hugely positive role in improving a hard year. With this in mind that means that IDLES, Biffy Clyro, Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Fontaines D.C. and Yungblud are all in the running for this award.
Beyond that however real live music when possible has been an even greater high than normal. As such Frank Turner enters the running as an act I somehow managed to catch live this year some four times including the aforementioned Gig of the Year.
But this year is different, new albums and live shows whilst normally the lifeblood of our industry almost feel insignificant when you look at the horrors witnessed across society, both inside and outside the music industry. One saving grace for many this year has been the arrival of the music livestream. A number of those already mentioned have dabbled if not excelled in this activity.
Our winner however has taken this new outlet to heart. They have provided joy and distraction to thousands of people during what must be a record setting number of livestreams. More than that, they have managed to raise an amazing amount of money for a cause I have already championed in this blog. That cause is of course the Save Our Venues campaign and our Artist of the Year is clearly that man again, Frank Turner!
In 2020, Frank Turner has probably played more real shows and more livestreams than anybody else. He has recorded and released new music including collaborations with NOFX and Jon Snodgrass. He has produced the fantastic new Beans On Toast record. He has thoroughly entertained and provided much needed distraction from the real world to thousands; and he has raised an incredible amount of money for charity.
In reality Turner deserves a medal, but what we can give him is our Artist of the Year award!
WINNER: Frank Turner
The Contenders: IDLES, Biffy Clyro, Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Fontaines D.C., and Yungblud
2020, a year we will all be hoping to forget very quickly, but there has been some great music released. All focus now however is on 2021 and those vaccinations. We hope that sooner rather than later we will be able to safely gather again in those venues and fields to watch our favourite artists in the flesh.
There will also likely be an avalanche of new music coming our way with artists having been isolated with their creatively for company. Let’s just hope that not every song is about lockdown!
FIVE4FIVE Fest announces return with stunning lineup
Following a highly successful debut in May, the charity festival Five4Five Fest has announced its return. The May event saw the likes of Enter Shikari, Don Broco and Deaf Havana raising money for the NHS Charities Together.
Now, the two day event is set to return on 18th & 19th December. This time around the event will be raising money for the #SaveOurVenues campaign by the Music Venue Trust. To learn why the campaign is so important for the future of live music, you can read our recent blog Why We Need To #SaveOurVenues.
The lineup has been announced for the event and will see headline performances from Yonaka and Holding Absence plus the likes of Normandie, Nova Twins and Haggard Cat. More details on the event can be found at five4fivefest.com.
110 Above Festival Announce 2021 Lineup
Another festival announcing their lineup this week is Leicestershire event 110 Above. Featuring headline performances from Sports Team, The Amazons and Sundara Karma, this promises to be a very special weekend.
Joining the lineup over 12-15th August 2021 are Yonaka, Vistas, The Snuts, Zuzu, Paris Youth Foundation, Lauran Hibberd and more. If you want to celebrate the return of live music with 110 Above, tickets are available here.
BST Hyde Park add Duran Duran
Our third and final festival lineup announcement this week comes from British Summer Time in Hyde Park. BST this week revealed that Duran Duran will headline Sunday 11th July 2021 with special guests Nile Rodgers & Chic plus Grace Jones. Tickets are available here.
Metallica unveil 2nd edition of Monopoly board game
If you are still looking for Christmas present ideas, look no further! Metallica have unveiled their 2nd edition of the board game Monopoly. Pick yours up here.
Greta Van Fleet announce new album and single
Greta Van Fleet are back with their new single ‘Age of Machine’ ahead of the release of their newly announced album ‘The Battle at Garden’s Gate’ on 16th April 2021.