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Saturday 10 June 2023

Outbreak Festival 2023 (Preview By Mark & Christabel Young)

Outbreak Festival 2023 Preview By Mark & Christabel Young

Last year saw the tenth anniversary of Outbreak Fest with them taking up residence at Bowlers Exhibition Centre with some incredible sets from the likes of Knocked Loose, Malevolence and Ceremony. Moving forward 12 months and they have done it again with another pitch-perfect line-up that should have something for everyone.

This is my first time at Outbreak, and it promises to be an absolute jam-packed exploration of some of the lesser known, and some absolute legends of hardcore, alternative and now hip-hop genres.

There may be other festivals that have alternative stages, but I don’t know of any others willing to offer such an eclectic mix. I am genuinely excited for what I am going to find here, its like a birthday and Christmas rolled into one.

Known for its DIY ethos, there is a ton of good stuff to see, to hear and absorb over the three-day weekend. This year sees them expanding their artist list to bring you more than just hardcore, which is a testament to the continual development and growth exhibited by the organisers. Previous reviews have all congratulated them on their willingness to take risks and to not remain static or slaves to one musical movement.

Now occupying the Depot Mayfield, near Manchester’s Piccadilly area over June 23rd, 24th and 25th there are two stages that on each day cater for all your musical needs. The expectation of chancing upon a band or two I’ve never heard of before and coming away as a champion of them is something I am looking forward to.

Thursday – 22nd

Pre-show event which has been moved to the Bread Shed which is now sold out and that is just to whet the appetite for the main events to follow.

Featuring a host of hardcore from One Step Closer, British hardcore punks Higher Power, playing a special "Year One" set with the return of founding guitarist Louis Hardy and others such as The Flex and Despize. Six bands for £15 shows the sort of value for money and that Outbreak constantly want to give back to those who support them.

Friday – 23rd

First day proper and we'll start with the big boys with the main stage headlined by US metallic hardcore legends Converge.

Converge I expect will absolutely decimate the Depot, experienced and deadly anyone who has seen the band live will know what to expect and if you haven't then you're in for a full throttle assault.

Their co-headliner is Bane, formerly a Converge off shoot this is their only European show I fully expect it to be full on carnage.

Elsewhere I'm looking forward to catching Deafeater, One Step Closer (as I can't make the pre-show), the Limp Bizkit approved Militarie Gun, grungy/shoegazers Fleshwater and the crossover thrash of Pest Control

On the second stage there's also the likes of Spy, Pain Of Truth, Rough Justice and more of the mainstage isn't enough

Saturday – 24th

Saturdays mainstage headliner couldn't be more different that the previous day as experimental hip-hop group Death Grips close out the first day of the weekend. With a fierce following they're something of a revolution so not to be missed.

Before them though is the stop start, heavy blasts of Code Orange, with their evocative and eviscerating live show it's two bands who are different but carry the same weight musically

More music comes from Breakcore group Machine Girl, metalcore band Jesus Piece, raging hardcore punks Scowl and the "politically outraged" Candy

Over on the second stage catch Wu-Lu and his lo-fi/punk/hip-hop, gothic rapper Denzel Himself, poet Isaiah Hull and Swedish hardcore from Speedway.

Sunday – 25th

The last day of the festival is closed by American rapper Denzel Curry, lauded as one of the best artists in the world, it's fine way to close out the festival. However before that theres lots more noise from fellow rapper Earl Sweatshirt, former emos Turnover, the vicious assault of Loathe and the sludge/hip-hop influenced hardcore of Show Me The Body.

The second stage features rapper Lord Apex, politically charged rapper Jeshi and also Tom The Mailman with hip-hop/rap being the main focus here.

There is also more to Outbreak Fest than the music as its roots goes deeper into showcasing more than just music with exhibitions taking in art and photography, independent record fairs, skating, clothing and sustainability In and amongst the chaos energy on stage. I wasn’t aware of the sheer number of things to see and experience.

I’m hoping that for all I’ve read it will show me that there is more to it than just the music on stage.

I believe that I’ve only scratched the surface of what is going on over these three days and given its background on hardcore / punk this must be one of the most punishing, and probably unique weekends on the music calendar for 2023.

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