Thursday, 13 April 2017

Blackthorn Music Festival

The Blackthorn Music Festival has moved on somewhat from it's humble beginnings on the outskirts of Manchester just four years ago. 

Blackthorn Music Festival now boasts a stellar line-up of the best in unsigned UK indie music as well as a clutch of top headliners including Reef, Space, Sex Pissed Dolls and the Lightning Seeds and we'll feature as many as we can on the Radio KC Indie Show between now and July 23rd.

If you're looking for a place to see all your favourite bands in one place - Blackthorn Music Festival is the place to be. In fact If Ralph was going to put together a line-up for Ralphstock, this would pretty much be it!

Nestled in the picturesque countryside, yet only 15 minutes from Stockport and 30 minutes from Manchester, Blackthorn Music Festival is a true celebration of the city's diverse cultures and stunning rural produce 
plus all the outdoor joy of 'glamping' - time to get your wellies on

  • 21 Jul2017 Fri18:00
  • Blackthorn Music Festival - Weekend Ticket

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With the North West creating some of the best music ever made and the region's food and drink producers bringing us some of the tastiest , high quality produce available, when you come to Blackthorn Music Festival you'll be assured of the best of the city alongside the best of the countryside.



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Reef are an English band from Glastonbury who've been part of the UK alt rock/pop scene since 1993. The current band line-up includes Gary Stringer on vocals, Jesse Wood on guitar, Jack Bessant on bass and Dominic Greensmith on drums.

Famed for their live performances and with the likes of Reading and Glastonbury festivals under their belt they're as 'British Rock Royalty' a headliner as you could wish for.


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The Lightning Seeds are an English alternative rock band from Liverpool formed in 1989 by Ian Broudie, formerly of the band Big in Japan. Stalwarts of the 90's ppp scene and always festival favourites, they're a real catch for Blackthorn Music Festival.

After a highly acclaimed Edinburgh Hogmanay performance last year Broudie is currently writing and recording the first Lightning Seeds album in years.


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The Sex Pissed Dolls are an all female rock band. The five-piece formed in late 2014 and like many others started out covering songs they loved.

In 2015 they embarked on a 50 plus date UK tour aptly entitled ' The Never Needed Bollocks Tour ' playing many prestigious venues up and down the United Kingdom to rapturous reviews.


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November 2011 saw the triumphant return of Space. The new line-up reunited original members Tommy, jamie and Frannie for the first time in 10 years. They were joined by the other members of Tommy's band The Red Scare, Phil Hartley, Ryan Clarke and Allen Jones.

Their return was cemented with a sell out gig in Liverpool's O2 Academy back in December 2011.

No Hot Ashes

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and outdoorHigh on Ralph's 'ones to watch' list are No Hot Ashes, an exuberant four-piece from Stockport. The sound they have settled on is heavy bass infused Chilli Peppers meets James Brown with a rap and hip hop overlay. 

The combination is as infectious as it is fresh and in an era of samey local guitar bands of varying qualities. They are band you have to see live as their performances ooze raw funk rhythms and a passion for entertaining crowds.

Keep your eyes peeled for their brand new single Bellyaches, it's a corker!

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The Blinders are a three-piece alternative group from Doncaster who are now based in Manchester who are high on Ralph's 'ones to watch' list. 

The band attempts to be in your face at all times, smelting loud and visceral political punk rock with enigmatic, psychedelic poetry and tones with their diverse, unique combination of raw music creating a ‘Punkadelic’ sound.

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A formidable live act, the Wirral 5-piece Sundowners benefit from an almost telepathic on-stage understanding born out of both Fiona & Niamh’s long-term friendship and the addition of Fiona’s brother, Alfie, on guitar.

The band have released a brace of limited edition singles, tour constantly playing alongside the likes of Cats Eyes & Kasabian and appear at both the All Tomorrow’s Parties and Glastonbury Festivals.

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Guxti Bibang is an international rock act whose first single System of a Gun decries flawed systems worldwide. With their roots on multiple continents, the group’s dynamic single is sure to find willing ears everywhere. 

Frontman and guitarist Gutxi Bibang is “a second-generation African [hailing] from the Basque region of Northern Spain.

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Larkins have been described as Manchester's next big arena act, with the Manchester Evening News commenting...

 "The four schoolmates from Glossop are already writing songs that would make Chris Martin Weep with envy."

They've already got an impressive line up of gigs planned including Kendal Calling and Edinburgh's Fringe Festival later in the year.

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No surprises that St Helens band Stillia are big favourites of Ralph as they've already played at two of the Ralph's Life charity events over the last three years. 

Their current single Let Me In has gained no small amount of airplay and had a video for it directed by another home-town talent Johnny Vegas.

radio 2 DJ janice Long described their forthcoming debut album as... "The best debut I've heard since The La's."

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Ralph's featured false advertising on the blog last year as well as catching them live in Soup Kitchen and can attest to the quality (and volume) of their music, so it's no surprise they've been snapped up to perform at Blackthorn.

Self-proclaimed purveyors of 'Twisted Power-grunge', they offer up dreamy soaring male/female harmonies blended with distorted guitars.

Image may contain: 4 peopleDescribing themselves as a 'fresh-faced, four-piece band emitting new music from the home they call Manchester', Dantevilles are reimagining the sound of the red-brick capital of the North with their uplifting and soulful brand of indie pop.

Clean, canny guitars and dual captivating vocals never compete for space in their unshakable, off-the-wall arrangements.

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Types are just the kind of band that sums up what makes Manchester so important. Meandering and experimental, yet intriguingly accessible.

Their new EP is described as...

"the perfect microcosm of the sound that is dominating the UK’s underground scene, and it’s bands like this that will be leading the charge when it breaks into the mainstream."

Image may contain: 2 peopleRising newcomers October Drift have gained a strong word-of-mouth following since exploding onto the music scene at the start of 2015 and high on Ralph's 'ones to watch' list.

With shows at BBC6 Music festival, Dot to Dot, Tramlines and camden Rocks under their belts alongside a cult fan base spreading the word, the immediate future for this young band is very bright (and very loud).

Saytr Play have been variously described as "The best thing to come out of Preston since Freddie Flintoff" and "Vocally I hear Catfish but instrumentally I hear something completely different.  It's the coolest kind of indie."

Image may contain: 1 person, shoes and outdoorWith energetic rock to lift your feet off the floor, the Bolton hailing group perform with fearsome energy and zealous honesty. Recently releasing a single with Ugly Man Records the band have worked with the prestigious label responsible for Elbows early success.

Lead singer John (Foz) Foster passionately performs with enough charisma to give former rock-gods from the Gallaghers to Dave Grohl a run for their money. 

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With the propulsive freneticism of the likes of FOALS with the grace and pop sensibilities of bands such as Friendly Fires , Blackburn-based four-piece New York Tourists have managed to deftly balance both energy and aggression, and in doing so have created an idiosyncratic brand of indie pop that’s impossible to ignore.

Such is their appeal, that the band’s debut EP Dead Man’s Leather saw them earn significant support slots with the likes of We Are Scientists, The Futureheads or The View while their more-recently released debut album You + Me, funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign, was unveiled at a 550 capacity sell out in the band’s hometown of Blackburn this April.

Now however, New York Tourists are looking to the future. New single ‘Only For the Summer’ builds on the band’s familiar freneticism while effortlessly combining a more understated side of the band with a bombastic urgency that could only come from a band on the cusp of bigger things.

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Sly Antics arrived onto the Manchester music scene in 2016 after recording their epic debut EP Captive City at Greenmount Studios, home to The Cribs and Pulled apart by Horses.

Their live shows are described as raucous and ear blistering. Their tracks are referred to as catchy, clever and powerful. Their music videos are labelled as genius, mad and hilarious.

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Formed in 2014, dubbed by Fred Perry Subculture and This Feeling as “Big in 2016”, Liverpool based four piece The Jackobins have taken the UK's music scene by storm, headlining and selling out venues across the country whilst appearing on some of the UK’s most prestigious festivals including: Reading & Leeds,Tramlines, Live at Leeds, Dot to Dot, Sound City and Y Not Festival.

Their previous singles have aired on BBC Intro Merseyside, BBC 6, Radio KC and Radio X and a must watch for Ralph.

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Southampton based Indie/Britpop Punksters playing music that everyone can associate with.

A band fueled on a love/hate relationship for all things British. proud to be part of England and the legendary music scene that comes with it, but fed up of the spoon fed bullshit synonymous with the x factor generation and all the pop puppets. 

Hard grafting, hard hitting well dressed punk with a sound that smacks you in the face and leaves you thirsting for more.

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Happy Daggers band have previously graced the stages of Reading and Leeds, British Summer Time, Beatherder, Blackthorn Festival, Bingley Music Live, Live At Leeds, Beacons, and Long Division to name a few. 

As well as playing sold out gigs across the country, Happy Daggers have performed with the likes of Public Service Broadcasting, The Milk, Pretty Vicious, The Tapestry, Middleman, and Fold.

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and nightCarnival Club are a quartet of late teenage, early twenty-something’s brimming with excitement, energy and kick out the jams, no holds barred vision. These Manchester based lads – Kai, George, Eddie and Joe have absorbed their musical learning showing maturity way beyond their youthful years. Their songs are made in the north, will hit you from the north, south, east and west. They will astound the ears and bless the heart. 

Image may contain: 3 peopleFrom British Indie to raw American Blues, "gloriously guitar-heavy," and rumbling with subterranean rock; FloodHounds are a swirling explosion of bluesy fire, tearing its way through the UK’s packed and sweaty music venues. 

Sheffield 3-piece FloodHounds’ hits you like a British Black Keys or White Stripes, inspired by the likes of Band of Skulls, or Drenge with just a hint of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  They're high on Ralph's 'ones to watch' list.

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and outdoorHailing from Stockport, four-piece Kashmere are comprised of Joey Newey on guitar & vocals, Charlie Cole on guitar, Andy Law on vocals & drums and Dave Pennington on Bass.

They've just released their new single Porcelain and are playing the When In Manchester Festival this month prior to attacking the stage at Blackthorn Festival.

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing, mountain, sky, cloud, outdoor and natureEmerging from the depths of the Hope Valley and the bright lights of Sheffield, Oddity Road are 4 young lads delivering energetic spikey indie rock/pop.

2016 saw the lads hit the stage for the first time delivering driving live sets at Tramlines, the O2, The Plug and The Leadmill Sheffield, amongst many others; picking up radio airplay on BBC Introducing and Radio 6 music & Radio KC.

Jess Kemp
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Mathew Lally Photography
At 22 years old with 6 years on the Manchester circuit, Jess Kemp released her debut single ‘Stars’ in March 2015. The demand for more brought the launch of her debut EP “Camden" which brings a much bolder and more exciting sound to tracks already featured by BBC Introducing & BBC Radio 2. Following the release of the EP, Jess went on to headline Manchester Academy 3, Factory Manchester and The Live Room.

The success of the above release led to the demand of a 4 date European tour which took place in August 2016. Since then, Jess placed 3rd for Best Unsigned Female in the Best Of British Unsigned Music Awards. In the same week, Jess and her band reached the final of Indie Week Europe and again placed 3rd from a selection of 70+ bands.

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, people playing musical instruments and concertJamie & Shoony play anthems that have them making waves in Scotland and collecting a loyal fanbase. They have played to sell out crowds in some of the country's finest venues such as Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom, O2 ABC, Kings Tuts, The Electric Circus and Saint Lukes.

They took the title of 'Best Live Act' 2016 Award from The Local Music Scene Blog and played to over 8,000 people at Linlithgow's Party at The Palace supporting Nile Rodgers with CHIC.

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Factory have played countless gigs/festivals up and down the country at venues like the Queens Hall and The Cavern as well as packing out venues in our home town. 

They are no strangers to big stages as we have played academies and theatres such as the Epstein Theatre and the Brindley. More recently we were chosen by Alan McGee (Creation Records) to open up at the British Sound Project for Primal Scream at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester.
Image may contain: 6 people, people standingThere are many artists out there vying for your time, but a quick glance at Puppet Rebellion's already impressive list of achievements prove to show that this fiercely independent band is the real deal.

The band have so far released two critically acclaimed EPs, ('Chemical Friends' and 'No Means Yes'), tracks of which can be heard when they play their status affirming and sold-out energetic shows around the nation's Northern capital (including main support slots with 'Catfish & The Bottlemen' & 'Reverend and the Makers') and other venues across the UK.

Ded Rabbit:

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage and people playing musical instruments Ralph's a long time Ded Rabbit fan after they not only donated a track for the Ralph's Life charity CD but travelled down to London and played a storming set at the Proud Camden launch party.

With a number of well received EP and single releases, they’ve continued to complete a number of high profile performances that should be on any UK band’s bucket list.

Where Fires Are:

Image may contain: 4 peopleWhere Fires are have been variously described as...

'...a whirlwind of high-powered, introspective rock, complete with galvanising riffs and dulcet vocals... '

'...Where Fires Are are an almost perfect balance between emphatic alternative rock and more sedate, ponderous aspects...'

In other words, don't miss them live at Blackthorn Festival!

Polar States:

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing, people walking and outdoorPolar States are a band who have been championed by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 6’s Steve Lamacq & Chris Hawkins and BBC Introducing's Dave Monks. 

Needless to say Ralph's also given them a spin on the Radio KC Indie Show of a Sunday.


Image may contain: 4 people, people sittingHailing from Wigan, Ravellas profess to playing, 'dirty, ugly, indie rock 'n' roll'.

They've just released a new single Puppettes and It's featured on the Radio KC Indie Show Sunday April 16th as part of the Blackthorn Festival promotion over the weeks leading up to the event itself in July.

Laura White:

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Laura White is an English singer-songwriter from Atherton in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, Greater Manchester.
She is also known for finishing in eighth place on the fifth series of The X Factor in 2008 and being the only singer to date raised in parliament on her exit of the show.

Stew Mac:

Educated Risk

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, playing a musical instrument, night and concert Educated Risk are a young unsigned Indie band from south Manchester who have been playing together for a few years and focus mainly on writing original songs. 

They spent the end of last year writing and recording a debut EP, Rewind, and are currently writing more original songs that they hope to record onto a second EP.

Indigo Velvet:

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing, tree and outdoor Indigo Velvet are a young Tropical-pop quartet from Edinburgh. They kickstart 2017 on Vic Galloway (BBC Radio Scotland) and Jim Gellatly's 'one’s to watch’ list, after a landmark 2016 saw them championed by Record of the Day, The Metro, Scotland On Sunday and more. 

Radio play includes a spot-play on BBC Radio 1, Radio X, BBC Introducing and Ralph's Indie show.

Matter Of Mind:

Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting and shoesMatter Of Mind are a four piece rock band from Stockport, Manchester made up of four 18 year olds who have recently featured on Clint Boons 'Set2go live' and the 'Set2go' podcast. “This is loud music! This is good music!” - Clint Boon

They've also been 'Band Of The Day' on Louder Than War along with 'Track Of The Day' on GigSlutz.

Dancing On Tables:

Dancing on Tables
2017 has started well for Dancing on Tables, having released 'Don't Stop' in December, the band were named artist of the week in Scotland on Sunday as well as being showcased in Jim Gellatly's column in The Sun while receiving national radio play with the title tack from the EP.

Growing up in Dunfermline, that has spawned many talented musicians, the boys always had local heroes to idolise, with their childhoods spent wanting to follow in the footsteps of Big Country and The Skids.

The Leathernecks:

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This band from Rotherham started out playing in a Indie/Rock covers band. After a few years of playing together up and down the UK and throughout Europe the band decided to have a go at doing some of their own stuff.

In late 2013 The Leathernecks were born, fronted by Guitarist Nick Wild who brings a 'very Sheffield' vocal to he mix. His style is often compared to the likes of Milburn and Arctic Monkeys with a sprinkling of Courteeners very own Liam Frey added in for good measure.

Luna Rosa:

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing Luna Rosa are an Alternative/Psych/Indie four piece hailing from Corby, Northamptonshire. Formed in 2014; they have played up and down the UK racking up over 200 gigs in two years, including headline and festival slots.

Their Live shows are brash, exciting and raucous. Grabbing the crowd from the off and not letting them go. The release of Luna Rosa's first E.P in Nov 2015 brought an array of reviews, sessions and much bigger gigs. The single from the EP This One (High On The Groove) was played on over 50 nationwide radio stations, including BBC Introducing and BBC 6.


Image may contain: 2 people, indoor and outdoorForeignfox are a 5 piece, turbulent juxtaposition of dark, visceral post rock and defiant, uplifting alt-folk.

The band have enjoyed two consecutive years of huge shows across the country & festival appearances including T In The Park, Stockton Calling, XpoNorth, Wickerman, Belladrum, Kendal Calling & Electric Fields as well as supporting Scottish heavyweights such as We Were Promised Jetpacks, Fatherson & rock royalty, Nazareth.


Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting and beardCleargreen was formed in 2012 and the band consists of Ali Staley (Vocals & Rhythm Guitar), Jack Blair (Lead Guitar), Liam McIver (Bass Guitar) and Tyrone Heeley (Drums). Their music has a variety of influences coming from genres such as alternative indie, mod, and rock and roll.

The band has grown within the Manchester inde scene and they've numerous accolades to their name including headlining the O2 Ritz, Manchester Academy 3 and being included in Fred Perry Subculture's Top 20 Manchester Unsigned bands.

Young Jack:

Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting and people standingYoung Jack are a 5 piece fountain of funk hailing from the 2017 city of culture Hull who offer fresh & funky rhythms ready to cleanse the mind and take hold of your soul.

Following successful shows and festivals around the UK, including Kendal Calling, Trinity Festival, Tramlines they're ready to take on Blackthorn Festival.

Kriss Barras: 

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With thanks to Andy Hibbs for the photo


Argh Kid:

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A self-confessed Mancunian who was dragged up in the 'doledrums' on a diet of broken McVitie's biscuits resulting in the arrival of the performance poet formerly know as award-winning writer David Scott.

He's signed a record contract with an EP out soon, filming a documentary, a book out in summer, festival appearances abound, been on't ITV plus...supporting his heroes The Happy Mondays!


Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, people playing musical instruments and concertI caught fresh indie-pop four piece Corella recently supporting Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles in The Magnet, Liverpool and if their set is a taster of what's to come, I can't wait to see them again at Blackthorn Festival.

Following the release of their debut single Waterfall which featured on a LA shot promo for international BMX brand Mongoose, the band are currently bouncing between the studio & the road with their powerful, positive vocals, funky guitars & energetic drums.

The Claremonts:

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing, shoes and outdoorHailed as one of Manchester's finest prospects by Louder Than War The Claremonts are, Finn Gildea on vocals, Nathan Rowbotham on guitar, Ryan Stevens on Bass and Imogen Shortall on drums.

Their new single Another Day was released early March and they headline AATMA in Manchester on April 15th.

Control Of The Going:

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With thanks to Paul Moore Photography
Control of the Going began in Manchester in July 2015 to become one "of the best new bands in town". So far, they have featured as a Real Radio XS "Future Classic" and have featured on Amazing Radio and KEXP.

Their debut "She" is out now and available to buy exclusively through Wrong Way Records and they are currently working on their debut album, scheduled for release in September 2017.

  • 21 Jul2017 Fri18:00
  • Blackthorn Music Festival - Weekend Ticket

  • 21 Jul2017 Fri18:30
  • Blackthorn Music Festival - Friday Ticket

  • 22 Jul2017 Sat12:00
  • Blackthorn Music Festival - Saturday Ticket

  • 23 Jul2017 Sun12:00
  • Blackthorn Music Festival - Sunday Ticket

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