You might expect a festival to be in a huge field with onsite camping and some large marquees for the bands to perform in for the weekend. But Pop Punk Pile Up took place at The Venue in Selby, a small place with a long bar, on the outskirts of Leeds. Riff Media ran the event along with Domino Promotions and some of the sponsorship was by the enigmatic North American whiskey brand Fire Ball.
We covered the Saturday of the festival and concentrated on the array of up and coming talent. The day kicked off with a couple of solo artists, one being Sally Pepper, a singer-songwriter based in Blackpool, offering a unique brand of acoustic pop-rock. She has a big voice and gave a very confident performance. The audience was just starting to build when she played and her set had some sound problems but we liked what we heard.
As more people started to arrive, the bands got louder and more powerful. Last Chance (a hard-hitting and melodic punk pop band from Kettering, obviously influenced by the likes of Blink 182, Bowling For Soup, and Green Day) livened up the festival and didn’t take themselves too seriously as they blasted out a few of their songs, The band have just released their first single, Shut Down.
Ocean Sunset View were up next. They are a four piece pop-punk rock band from South West UK. Their debut EP On Your Marks is out now and, again very much influenced by ’90s American punk, they gave a fun and powerful performance.
Coast to Coast from Birmingham were “rockier” than the previous bands, with their lead singer boasting some strange facial expressions and a voice very much like Morrissey. Catch Fire from Nottingham showcased definite Sum 41 influences, great vocals, and lots of spinning around.
The turnaround was quick and next were an anthemic band from Cambridge, A Few Too Many, who performed some catchy songs including their new single I Always Knew which is featuring now on YouTube.
Unsurprisingly one of the largest followings of the day belonged to local talent Elastic Waste, a three-piece pop-punk band from West Yorkshire fronted by two brothers.
The Famous Class from London really stood out for me, especially the energetic bass player. I literally don’t know how he could play bass whilst continuously bouncing. They’re a four-piece band made up of slightly “older” guys (sorry lads). The band recently reformed after being away for five years and are back stronger than ever. As if to prove the point, lots of head banging ensued when their new single When Life Was Easy was performed.
Last band for me (damn train!) were Shaded from Surrey. They were simply amazing. With a blend of hard-hitting modern punk rock and poignant R&B-driven vocals they performed brilliantly. Lead singer Matt had a smooth, powerful voice and their new single Better With You should go far.
Even though Riff Media put on an amazing amount of concerts in the region we believe this was their first festival. The vibe of this “fest” was to push forward young raw, exciting talent and to use the weekend to celebrate the depth of the local music scene – as well as enhance it with the likes of some major players like Malory Knox, Max Raptor, and The King Blues.
Was it a big success? It was certainly well organised and fun and they managed to get a great selection of bands into a small venue. The audience numbers seemed to be small (except for the headliners), but everyone has to start somewhere…don’t they?
Photography by Jan Blackwell of Pop Punk Pile Up at The Venue in Selby, Yorkshire on 28th April 2018.