Horwich isn’t a place I go looking for bands, I grew up just around the corner from the Bolton borough and never expected to see any exciting new artists playing there anytime soon. But this year Horwich Music Festival caught my eye, with exciting headline artists and a variety of music through the day, I was eager to go and see what it was all about.

The festival took place over three days (although I only attended on the Saturday) and supports new musicians with a Rock It! Youth Stage showcasing younger local bands, a stage at Horwich Community Centre, playing host to local choirs and ensembles and the RMI stage- the one I was most excited about!

Playing the RMI stage, a band that stood out for me were Sky Vally Mistress, I’ve heard of them but hadn’t yet seen them live. The group brought together a raw, rock-infused sound and fronted it with a female vocal, playing their latest single It Won’t Stop, which was only released last month alongside other popular releases, You Got Nothin’ and Wishbone, the band attracted a growing crowd to gather at the stage, each track bringing more energy.

Horwich RMI is a cricket club, it seemed like the least-likely place you’d discover new bands and this was all part of there appeal for me, it was unexpected. People came from all over to Horwich on Saturday, some just to see one band, others to discover new musicians and some to support friends who were playing at the event. 

During the day I wandered between stages, sitting outside in-between sets hoping to catch some sun. I managed to see some of the younger artists at the Rock It! stage and most of the bands who played the main stage that day.

Avalanche Party were another band I was really excited to see. By the time they were on, the large room was reaching its busiest and a crowd gathered. The band played a mixture of new and old releases, including fan favourite I’m So Wet, the distorted, rhythmic tones of the track capturing the room while the powerful vocal fronts the track. Solid Gold prompted a sing-along from the crowd and frontman, Jordan made use of the floorspace, coming forward into the crowd, generating a sense of intensity in the room and connecting the band with the audience. Avalanche Party’s set made you forget you were at a cricket club in Horwich but instead created a much larger atmosphere, worthy of a much larger venue.

The fierce performance of Strange Bones was unforgettable, the four-piece closed the Saturday night and the set began with air raid sirens echoing around the room and creating an eerie atmosphere. Strange Bones capture components of punk and rock, fused with electronic elements, bringing their sound to effortlessly capture any audience. The band performed fan favourites Snakepit and Here Come The Wolves, as well as songs from their latest EP Blitz Part 1. Track God Save the Teen saw a sing-along from the audience, “Na na na na na na….” Frontman Bobby encouraged people to join in and at one point successfully crowd surfed. Again, the audience forgot where they were and the mood in the venue changed and everyone was fully immersed in the music. and Bobby fuelled the venue with energy, he wore a Gas Mask for part of the set, adding to the dark mood and came forward into the crowd, involving the audience at every opportunity of the intimate gig.

Horwich Music Festival was a success, it brought people together and showcased an exciting day of music in the town. The festival is only going to get bigger and I’m already excited for next year!

Liv X

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