Festival season may be over in the fields, but it’s time to turn the attention to the indoor madness of the festival scene. I went along to Newcastle’s brand new alt festival at the Northumbria Students Union – RiseFest makes its incredible debut to the scene and I’m about to tell you all about what was one of the best days of the year!
The line-up was absolutely packed with unbelievable talent from well known names to those hidden gems just bursting onto the music scene – from local to nationwide. The line-up had a little something for everyone but if you were always after a mosh or a dance, both stages were for you. From the incredible local business in the pop up market and the mixture of amazing food vendors, I’ll walk you through a truly special day.
Kicking things off, I need to start off with a huge shout out to all the markets that took part in the festival. To those I had the chance to meet and have a chat with, it was a massive pleasure – a big shout out to Bodies & Botanics for their incredible artwork, Tom Boyle Illustration and the legends over at Nothern Glory Tattoo. The food was on another level I had to sample both sides – Vegan Junkie providing some unbelievable festival fillers with their junkie cheeseburger with special seasoned fries. And to the guys at Mexican Street Food really hitting the spot with a tasty burrito.
One more huge shout out to the absolute legends at Sad Social Club – it was a pleasure to finally meet the faces behind the brand and grab myself some new stunning merch you’ll be seeing very soon. The hard work that’s went into this brand is amazing and they’ll only just grow and grow – big respects to Tom & Kyra!
To the music, and what a selection it truly was. Kicking off my day was someone who if you’ve read my work before, you’ll know my endless love for this artist – Cassyette gracing the main stage and as per usual bringing the party fresh off the back of her opening night on her headline tour. Doing what she does best to a packed room, Rise was properly underway in the best possible way. There’s really just something wholesome about screaming your heart out to Sad Girl Summer at 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon. Outing her most recent single September Rain for only the second time, the raw screams ripple round the room on what’s fast becoming a fan favourite already.
From main stage to the Fireball stage where 4 piece metal band Rituals literally make the room shake – an insane set that brought so much chaos the floor was bouncing from front to back, and what a set it was. First time seeing and certainly wont be the last and having the good news of a Scottish co-headline show in November, the buzz for that just got greater after today’s outing. The band were showcasing what you can expect from the tour and dropped their last single Show Me the Signs that had only landed days before the festival. In Devastation was a stand out for me despite being one of the newer songs it’s a proper anthem that deserves to be causing mayhem in tiny rooms.
Back down to the main stage we go and next bring the action were Leeds outfit Static Dress. Another band for me who I was seeing for the first time and did not let down, from the first song to the last they had such a great stage presence and had the room where they wanted them. Opening their set with lead track of their May album, Fleahouse is always a certainty to get those pits open and today was no different. This set was certainly a stand out from the energy on the stage to the crowd, a very exciting watch from the VIP balcony looking over the carnage from above.
Representing the saltire, Scottish chaos causers Vukovi were up next and chaos is exactly what they brought. From their opening song Lasso, the movement in the crowd did not halt. Lead signer Janine isn’t shy at reminding the Geordie crowd it’s Saturday night and what’s expected for the 45 minute set ahead. The band did not waste any time powering through and whipping the crowd into a frenzy at every song they dropped.
Bangers rippled round the venue and each and every song came with more anarchy than the last. C.L.A.U.D.I.A, SLO and Hurt making their way on to the set, each absolutely massive tracks in their own way – Kill It was second to last and kill it they did, they made into my top must see bands before the day got underway and they did not let me down. Closing off in style with the biggest fan sing along of the day, La Di Da fires up the crowd one last time and it rounds off an incredible show. With the new album only weeks away and a UK tour on the horizon, this set really gave you a taste of what to expect.
Boston Manor are no strangers to festival bills and Rise nailing them down for this line-up was a major booking and it showed exactly why they were there. A set that had a fine mixture and healthy balance of old and new from an impressive catalogue. Opening the set with 2021 single Carbon Mono soon followed up by Desperate Pleasures & Foxglove. Throwing in a special treat with a live debut outing for Algorithm that got the reception it deserves.
Another set taken in from the viewing platform, something that really was a great addition to have, being able to chill back and watch over the madness bellow watching the revellers have the time of their life – this being both on and off stage. I absolutely love this set, the crowd engagement was beautiful – more new track outings with Passenger before a big finale with 2018 classic Halo.
What is about to follow is the main reason I just couldn’t miss Rise. Creeper taking to the main stage second from top for me was the best of the day. Following the news of singer Will being missing from this set, the band dedicated as ever devoted their time to a plan to make this work. Backing vocalist & keyboard player Hannah Greenwood stepped up and gave us a once in a lifetime performance that for me personally anyway, will go down in Creeper history and one of the best moments of the bands career.
If there were any nerves from Hannah, they really did now show – Suzanne gets things off to a flyer before some hair standing on end moments with Born Cold & the Cyanide producing incredible crowd singalongs even Hannah had to stop and take it all in. This being the Creeper none of us were used to, it just came together so well and the hard work put into this was plain to see. I could really sit here and speak endlessly about this hour slot and trying to narrow is the hard part.
Usually Will gets the crowd warmed up prior to Down Below with a singalong that raises the roof however, the shoes were filled in a spectacular way you really had to just be there. From the slower part of the show with Poisoned Heart to Black Rain, the crowd and rallied into a frenzy and opens up the first mosh pit of the set. For those who know, Midnight is where Hannah usually takes her turn on vocals alongside Will – tad different tonight, Hannah taking over with lead vocals and stand in backing vocalist and keys Eillie Price nailed Hannah’s normal verses.
Chants through the night from the crowd desperate for VCR were in for a treat as the intro kicks off and screams of joy were deafening. The set then came to a close with the full room bouncing to the joyful closing of Annabelle rounding off a very special gig. The band exiting the stage you could see the happiness on their faces just knowing what they had done would be spoke about in the best ways.
It’s time to close off the day in the most exciting way possible, what more could you want than to have Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes to headline your festival? This set brought absolutely everything you could want from a headliner – the energy and passion thrown into this set was incredible and just sums up a Rattlesnakes show. The opener to My Town starts things with a bang with the crowd instantly going wild setting the tone for what’s to come.
There’s always something so special and unique about a Rattlesnakes show and when they play Cobra Queen, something that rarely gets done if at all else where – its dedicated to very important people and aimed to be a safe space – a girl only mosh pit, this is what I mean when I say there is nothing like a Frank Carter show. In his own words, “this is the happiest mosh pit you’ll ever see” and really he’s not wrong, the vibes were just a beautiful thing to witness. Frank is one of the most genuine and down to earth acts in music and you really do feel as safe as you can be during his shows – a full crowd of like minded people there for nothing but a good time.
It’s hard to really put into words just how good Frank Carter is live, he really is one of the best frontmen around and to witness he and his Rattlesnakes is a must for anyone it really is a different vibe to most and something you need see. The biggest moshpits of the night were brought out during Juggernaut and Devil Inside Me that just saw pandemonium from left to right.
For me the moment of the set was a song dedicated to those who have their days of struggle – Anxiety is a song that really means a lot and hits home, a song that speaks of the importance of mental health conversation – ultimately the song is a call to recognize that just because someone may seem to have all they want in life, doesn’t mean they’re free from personal demons.
Things power on as the set heads for a close and the closing carnage of a special debut for Rise. I Hate You is screamed with passion around the room as a hit out at those we no longer need in our lives – the band leave and come back on for one last mosh, Crowbar raises the bar even higher for the madness closing off things in style and showing exactly why Mr Carter and his Rattlesnakes were top of the show.
Well, what a day, for Rise PR to take on their first festival and nail it in the way that they did. It was absolutely out of this world and made it one of the weekends of the year and judging from today’s efforts, will quickly become a strong contender to similar events on the festival scene showcasing the very best that the alt scene has to offer from big to small. A huge hats off to all involved in making the festival what it was, from the promoters to the staff and the markets, to the bands and crowds causing it in the rooms.
RiseFest for me has been one of the best festivals 2022 has offered. 2023 has a lot to live up to.