Britain’s premier psychobilly festival returns to Northampton’s Roadmender venue on the 15th March for three days of exciting live music.
For those unfamiliar with psychobilly here’s a brief history lesson: Although it originated in the USA in the early ’70s with bands like The Cramps it wasn’t until later in that decade that the genre was given a definite sound and look. British youth, enjoying the energy of punk but despising the politics fused it with American rockabilly. A touch of horror imagery was added along with a healthy dose of humour and psychobilly was born. Originally centred around London’s Klub Foot venue the scene has now spread all over the globe.
From its humble beginnings in small pubs Bedlam Breakout has risen in stature to become a worldwide phenomenon. Held biannually every March and September this festival will be number 27 and boasts 23 bands over the weekend. Peter Dennis spoke to Tobe Wright one of a group of friends who organises the festival. “We’d been putting on gigs in the mid ’90s purely because interest in the scene was in decline at that point.” Tobe explained “It seemed like a festival was the logical progression. It has now grown into the biggest psychobilly festival in the UK purely through hard work and a heartfelt love of the scene.”
Friday evening is preview night and has become an event in itself. With tickets just £15 on the door it’s a great way for the curious to check things out. Friday’s headliners will be classic rockabilly band Reckless. Also appearing will be the risqué Colbert Hamilton and the Bad Breed and Northampton’s very own garage band GoGo Loco will open festivities.
Bedlam now attracts bands and fans from all over the world and Saturday’s headliners will be horror themed psychobilly band Nekromantix. They formed in Copenhagen in 1989 and are now signed to Hellcat Records and have released a string of critically acclaimed albums. Also appearing will be Dutch bands the Milwaukee Wildmen and Tennessee Alien along with Japan’s Gigantix and America’s The Rocketz. Based in Breda, the Netherlands Batmobile will close the festival on Sunday. Now celebrating their 35th anniversary they were the very first international band to appear at the legendary Klub Foot and they still perform with their original line up. Tickets for Friday and Saturday are £30 in advance with some available for £35 on the door.
Bedlam Breakout has a real family friendly vibe and is run on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis with all proceeds ploughed back into the festival. How would Tobe describe Bedlam? “A great atmosphere from start to finish with bands from around the globe playing a variety of psychobilly styles. Most people would have heard of the older bands but we try to push the newer bands in the UK, so it’s a great mixture. We also have stalls selling clothing and jewellery, festival merchandise, CDs and vinyl too.”
Bedlam runs from 15th to 17th March at Northampton’s Roadmender, Lady’s Lane, NN1 3AH
Article by Peter Dennis