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The countdown is on for the next instalment of Blackpool’s most alternative, hair-raising explosion of music, fashion and colour – Rebellion.

This isn’t just a retro festival, the punk movement is very much alive and kicking. The line-up does of course feature legendary bands such as the Stranglers and The Damned as headline acts, but it’s also about mixing it up with new and emerging talent.

The Winter Gardens, with its unique mix of rooms and spaces, is the ideal venue to create Rebellion’s true festival feel, including punk art exhibitions, acoustic stages, poetry, vintage clothing, tattooists and healing workshops.

Meanwhile the fashion is appropriately outrageous, with thousands of punk rockers decorating the resort throughout the four-day event, dominating the seaside backdrop with multi-coloured mohawks, leather, metal spikes, safety pins, studs and military boots.

Contrary to the stereotypical image of punk rockers being as loud and aggressive as the lyrics they belt out, festival-goers are family-friendly and staunch supporters of Rebellion. Fans planted their combat boots firmly at the Winter Gardens in 2007, and they’ve been rocking the venue every summer since.

Founded by Darren and Jennie Russell-Smith, the festival started out as Holidays in the Sun, before taking root at the Winter Gardens as Rebellion.

Jennie tells us how the festival and venue have become tightly bonded to create the iconic punk gathering that is Rebellion.

“In 1996 when I first saw the Empress Ballroom I knew it was a very special place with a magic of its own. Later that year when the first Holidays in the Sun festival took place I looked down from the ballroom balcony to the sea of mohicans all mesmerised by The Damned on that iconic stage and knew that something incredible had begun! It would take another ten years for the festival to gain the stability and popularity to really make the Winter Gardens its home but in those ten years we were able to hone our ideas and refine our processes in order for the festival and the venue to complement each other the way they now do.

"Punk rock relies on unity and shared history, forming bonds and creating family, all of which has happened under the watchful eyes of the Winter Gardens."

“Punk Rock is a unique thing in the music world. It doesn’t rely on fashion or being in vogue. It doesn’t rely on popular radio stations or celebrity hype. Punk rock relies on unity and shared history, forming bonds and creating family, all of which has happened under the watchful eyes of the Winter Gardens. In some ways the venue knows the same struggles, the tenacity to remain standing whilst lesser buildings crumbled, not worrying about being in fashion or keeping up with the times. The Winter Gardens is timeless. It is a unique statement of longevity where beauty has outshone the beast of ‘progress’!

“Rebellion is not a statement of times past but rather a reflection of what started the blazing trail and the future of that trail still burning brightly. The Winter Gardens stands proudly displaying her own glorious past while stepping gracefully into the future. The two walk hand in hand, heads held high, no need to follow any trends, only set them.”

Rebellion takes place 1st-4th August. For more information check out http://www.rebellionfestivals.com/

Photographs courtesy of Dod Morrison. 


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