FESTIVAL PREVIEW: Outbreak Festival 2023
Words: Jacob Schwar

Outbreak Festival 2023 is almost upon us with this year’s line-up is proving to be as uniquely diverse as ever before, taking place at a new venue the Depot Mayfield in the city of Manchester and kicking off on Friday 23rd June till Sunday 26th June, we're in for something truly special to say the least!

Following on from a very successful 10th anniversary edition of Outbreak Festival back in 2022, the organisers have recognised the demand and potential this festival brings making the move to a larger venue plus some big-name headliners to boot, an appropriate tell-tale sign that Outbreak Festival is evolving into something greater. Not to mention having two hip-hop acts as the main-headliners in a predominately hardcore/punk orientated festival shows Outbreak are willing to take chances and 'experiment', pushing the boundaries on what a 'heavy music' festival should be and allowing for more diversity in the roster of performers. This once again proves Outbreak is destined to be a new kind of festival experience perhaps becoming something akin to SlamDunk or something new entirely, only time will tell.

I myself shall be kicking the weekend off on the Friday with cross-over thrashers Pest Control who released their ferocious debut album Don’t Test The Pest back in February of this year, if you’re looking for hard-hitting music with some old school sentiment be sure to check them out. Other bands to see include No Pressure who I can describe as ‘ pure pop-punk but with that gritty hardcore edge’ and straight-edgers One Step Closer with their more melodic and impassioned version of hardcore. The bigger acts to see on the Friday include a recently reunited Bane known for their highly influential take on hardcore punk and last but not least Friday’s main headliner Converge who really need no introduction but after a insane performance at last years Damnation Festival (which also took place in Manchester) they’re one band I won’t be missing!

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

On Saturday and without a doubt the heaviest day of the weekend, I’d recommend catching the set of hardcore outfit Candy who possess a uniquely savage take on the hardcore sound with strong influences from several genres of extreme metal. Fury are another group to see if you’re looking for some good honest hardcore which sounds straight from the 90’s but one band I look forward to seeing again are rising stars Scowl who recently released a fantastic EP titled Psychic Dance Routine, a title so apt I expect to see hardcore fans strutting their stuff in the pit. Some more acts I’ll be catching include alternative ‘grunge-infused’ metal act Narrow Head, radical hardcore punk quartet Soul Glo and of course a band I’ve been wanting to see for many years, Jesus Piece. Though the one band I’m here to see more than any other is Code Orange, who left me terrified when I first saw them back in 2019, whether you're a fan or not I highly recommend catching their performance for a nice dose of adrenaline… and possibly a few bruises!

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

Sunday is looking to be another fun-packed day with Zulu being the first band I aim to see, a unique act with their politically-charged yet soulful approach to power-violence that’ll surely get the pit moving. Trapped Under Ice will also be great to see with their visceral yet boundary-pushing style of hardcore but if you're looking for a slight change in pace I recommend checking out Loathe, a band whose album I Let It in and It Took Everything released back in 2021 blew me away! Another band I’m not too familiar with but aim to see are Turnover who I can only describe as indie rock with an art/pop vibe, I think I’ll be needing something more chilled-out after Saturday’s brutal lineup! Finally ending the day will be American rapper Denzel Curry and though not a huge fan of the hip-hop genre myself, I’m feeling adventurous and willing to experience something new, bring it on!

Photo credits: Tim Finch Photography

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