Blackpool set to play host to biggest ever punk festival Rebellion this week

Blackpool will become the epicentre of punk for four days this week when the Rebellion festival brings together hundreds of acts from the UK and beyond.

This internationally-recognised festival was first held in 1996 and was formerly called Holidays in the Sun and the Wasted Festival before becoming established under its current name.

It’s a dream ticket for fans of punk rock but the festival covers a broad church and this year’s expanded bill includes electro legend Gary Numan, folk rocker and activist Billy Bragg and veteran space rockers Hawkwind.

After missing 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, it returned in a much reduced format last year but is back to its full glory this week, bigger than ever.

Rebellion Festival attracts top punk acts to Blackpool and fans from across the UK and further afield.

Where does it take place and when?

The festival begins on Thursday August 4 and continues until Sunday August 7.

It is based in and around the Winter Gardens complex and features no less than seven stages.

However, new this year is R-Fest, which will see a string of top names performing on a huge outdoor stage on the promenade opposite Blackpool Tower throughout the four days.

Belfast punk legends Stiff Little Fingers are one of the headline acts at this year's Rebellion Festival

How many acts are there and who will be included this year?

There are some 300 acts this year, covering a wide spectrum in every sense.

Many of the best known names are performing on the R-Fest stage, where there will be seven acts on the bill each night, for four nights, with many indy and New Wave acts included.

R-Fest acts include Levellers, Hawkwind (Thursday); The Stranglers, The Undertones, Toyah (Friday); Gary Numan, Peter Hook and The Light (Saturday) and Squeeze, Billy Bragg and Buzzcocks on the Sunday.

The Stranglers are on the Rebellion bill as well

Among a huge bill performing in the Empress Ballroom over the four days will be Belfast legends Stiff Little Fingers (SLF), who are headliners on the Sunday, while other notables in the festival include Cock Sparrer, Blackpool’s own The Membranes and Theatre of Hate.

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What else does the festival include?

Among the seven stages will be a ‘literary’ platform which includes a wealth of interviews, conversations, poetry and humour over the four days.

There will also be a punk art exhibition and even an indoor cinema.

Additionally, there will be a special ‘introducing’ element to the festival, featuring up-and-coming acts or those unknown on these shores.

One of these bands will be Blackpool act the P45s, formed during the Covid pandemic, who will kick off the festival with a performance at 11.45 am on the Thursday.

Also featured this year will be acts from Chile, South Korea and Indonesia.

What they say

The festival’s co-founder Jennie Russell-Smith said: “It hasn’t been easy to pull all these amazing bands like SLF together, but this year is going to be the biggest and best ever Rebellion seen in Blackpool.

“Our incredible fans, who have so loyally hung on to their tickets for two years, Blackpool Council and the people of Blackpool gave us the financial and moral support to enable Rebellion to survive the pandemic.“Blackpool has always welcomed Rebellion with open arms – together they’ve all helped keep the festival going.”

Ticket details

Organisers have offered a varied package of tickets, subject to availability.