Smithdown Road Festival is HUGE this year – Dave McCabe, Space, Craig Charles & more
Smithdown Road is getting in the festive mood again! With just a few weeks to go until the annual free festival, there is no doubting that the program of events has grown considerably this year – and that festival goers are in for a brilliant weekend of music, art, food and dance.
Perhaps the biggest news of all is that due to the overwhelming popularity of last year’s festival, there will be a huge outdoor area on the Saturday and Sunday to be held on Wavertree Playground – aka The Mystery. The Mystery area will feature two massive circus big tops, a dedicated children’s area, plus a great big art, craft and food market.
Over 160 acts will perform across 15 different stages which are as follows:
The Kris Ealey Stage (Main Stage at The Mystery Park), – Saturday & Sunday only
Get Into This Stage (Second Stage at The Mystery Park) – Saturday only
Skeleton Key Records Stage (Second Stage at The Mystery Park) – Sunday only
The Bar Stage (Main Stage at The Mystery Park) – Saturday & Sunday only
There will also be a dedicated kids area at Mystery Park, a pop up cinema at The Gregson Institute, theatre at The Unitarian Church, and Merseyswing Dance Lessons and Social at Wavertree Fellowship.
THE CRAIG CHARLES FUNK & SOUL CLUB
SUNDAY NIGHT – KRIS EALEY STAGE HEADLINER @ THE MYSTERY – 7PM
The BBC 6 Music DJ will be bringing his Trunk Of Funk to the Mystery, for a very special two hour set in the Kris Ealey big top. The artist formerly known as Lister has been entertaining smegheads around the UK for several years now, with his wide and varied collection of classic and contemporary funk and soul records. Absolutely not to be missed!
SATURDAY NIGHT – KRIS EALEY STAGE HEADLINER @ THE MYSTERY – 7PM
With an army of fans spanning two decades, 90’s comeback kings Space will be playing through their impressive discography of catchy hits including Female Of The Species, Neighbourhood, Me and You Vs The World, Avenging Angels and The Ballad Of Tom Jones as well as tunes from their newest album Give Me Your Future.
SUNDAY NIGHT – KELLYS DISPENSARY – 8PM
After guitarist and songwriter Nick McCarthy left Franz Ferdinand in July last year, fans were of course devastated, despite Kapranos and co continuing without him.Fast forward a few months, and having teamed up with his wife Manuela, he’s back with a new and very exciting eponymous project. This is probably the most intimate show you’ll ever catch them at!
SUNDAY NIGHT – KELLYS DISPENSARY – 9PM
20 years ago, The Bluetones were one of the kings of Britpop. With a number one album and a string of top ten singles under their belts, songs such as Slight Returnand Cut Some Rug were mainstays in every indie kid’s record collection. We are delighted to have lead singer Mark Morriss (two Rs, two Ss!) over at Kelly’s Dispensary on Sunday, for what promises to be an unforgettable night of indie rock classics.
SATURDAY NIGHT – GET INTO THIS STAGE @ THE MYSTERY – 5PM
Another local success story! Natalie McCool is an beautifully ethereal singer songwriter that combines pitch perfect vocals with a creepy and enchanting acoustic melody. Having shot to the public eye after winning a national songwriting competition judged by Coldplay’s Chris Martin, it’s easy to see why she keeps getting the plaudits she does.
DAVE MCCABE WITH IAN SKELLY
SATURDAY NIGHT – KRIS EALEY STAGE @ THE MYSTERY – 6PM
When we announced that the main stage at Smithdown Road Festival would be renamed after local musician Kris Ealey, who sadly passed away last May, The Zutons frontman Dave McCabe did not hesitate to agree to play. As long standing friends and bandmates, Ealey and McCabe played together in scouse legends Tramp Attack and jammed together on many, many a hazy fun night at the infamous Bandwagon.
McCabe himself is almost single-handedly responsible for some of the biggest hits of the noughties! Classics such as Don’t Ever Think and You Will You Won’t had indie dancefloors around the country going haywire, while a certain Valerie was (and probably still is) on every millennial’s playlist.
Add in one Ian Skelly – aka The Coral drummer – and you have one incredible collaboration definitely worth catching.
BEANS ON TOAST
SATURDAY NIGHT – CRAFT TAPROOM HEADLINER – 10PM
Back for a second year, Mr On Toast played a riotous set at the church stage here in 2016. With people being turned away at the doors due to his overwhelming popularity, the venue became a veritable church of noise as modern day folk singalongs were the order of the day. The politically charged folkster has had an awful lot to rant and rave about since then so you’re almost guaranteed a funny, witty and rather grumpy take on Beans’ Brexit Britain.
MONDAY NIGHT – CRAFT TAPROOM HEADLINER – 9PM
We’ve been holding our tongues about this one for some time now. After wowing audiences at the legendary SXSW Festival and getting heavy rotation on BBC 6 and Radio One, it is a huge pleasure to welcome post punk rock quintet Idles to Smithdown Road to headline our Punk Holiday Monday at Craft Taproom.
SATURDAY NIGHT – KELLYS DISPENSARY – 10.30pm
Garage rock outfit Strange Collective are just a snowball that keeps on getting bigger and bigger. With a string of massive recent support slots including The Fall, and with singles such as Frog Eye getting rave reviews, this is sure to be one of the festival highlights.
THE VIPER KINGS
SATURDAY NIGHT – KELLYS DISPENSARY – 11.30pm
High octane Rock’N’Roll tour de force with a bit of soul chucked in as well, a rare hometown appearance guaranteed to get you dancing featuring members of The Coral and ex-Tramp Attack
SKELETON KEY PRESENTS
SUNDAY – SECOND STAGE @ THE MYSTERY– 1pm-8pm
Hand-picked by the ever talented Skelly family, Skeleton Key Records have put together an incredible line up on the second stage over at The Mystery on Sun 30thApril. With a headline set from the cult indie hero Edgar Jones and the New Jones, and support from an eclectic mix of the best upcoming bands from around the UK and further afield –Tree Top Flyers, Rituals, Peach Fuzz, Tourists, Mama Tung and Connah A.
25 YEARS OF AFRICA OYE – DJ SET
SATURDAY – OUTDOOR BAR STAGE – FROM 1PM
Liverpool’s own Africa Oye festival has become something of an annual musical institution for the people of the city over the past 25 years. From a small gathering of likeminded friends back in the 90s to the tens of thousands that turn up year on year, it is a constant reminder of the incredible contribution that Africa has made to the music world – both contemporary and otherwise. As part of their 25 year anniversary celebrations they will be spinning their favourite tunes for the afternoon at the main bar.
PUNK HOLIDAY MONDAY
MONDAY – CRAFT TAPROOM – 1pm-9pm
Dig out your safety pins and Dr Martens and pogo the Bank Holiday away with some of the best in Merseyside punk, as well as an incredible headline set from the brilliant IDLES.
LIVERPOOL IRISH FESTIVAL TAKEOVER
MONDAY – KELLYS DISPENSARY – 3pm-late
Liverpool’s festival dedicated to all things Irish, is coming to Smithdown Road’s Irish home – Kelly’s Dispensary. Expect an afternoon of live music, dancing, singing and a whole lot of craic.
LIVERPOOL FUNK AND SOUL CLUB in collaboration with FIESTA BOMBARDA AGENCY
SAT & SUN @ HANDYMANS
This is one of those unmissable occasions, two of the best local clubs in collaboration taking over the newest pub on Smithdown. Check out as this historic building re-opens it’s doors as a public house and welcomes a carnival atmosphere to Smithdown Road.
Naked Lunch presents… MELLOWTONE RECORDS ARTISTS:
NICK ELLIS AND SEAFOAM GREEN – MORE TBA
SUN @ NAKED LUNCH CAFE FREE ENTRY / DOORS 6PM
This year the wonderful folk at Marmalade Skies, a brilliant child friendly café on Allerton Road, will be curating a dedicated kids area at The Mystery – Saturday and Sunday from 11.30am – close.
There will be a huge program of events, including craft workshops, face painting, balloon models, bubbles, story time, fun french lessons, gingerbread men and cookie decorating, fun science, Usborne books and loads more. Wow. Don’t miss their Teddy Bears Picnic on Sunday – with songs, stories, colouring, themed picnic bags, and pass the parcel! Your kids are going to love it, and you probably will too!
There will also be a free pro-wrestling show from Infinite Promotions on Saturday 29th April at The Kris Ealey Stage at the Mystery! Running from 11.30am-1.30pm expect a lot of fast action, high impact stunts.
For those who have to travel, the bus at Smithdown Road is perfectly located on the 86, 80 and 60 route but the festival have also hooked up with UBER taxis, who are offering a free £15 taxi ride to all festival goers, if they sign up to their app using the code SMITHDOWN.
Once again, this year the festival will be supporting The Whitechapel Centre by raising money in a variety of ways, including nominal suggested donations at the Mystery, and a band merchandise shop that will give profits to the charity. The Whitechapel will also be setting up a temporary store to sell items from its Open Doorshop, normally on Allerton Road. There will also be collection buckets at all the venues and on the Asda Smithdown tills that weekend too.
The festival aims to choose one worthy charity each year to support in this way and hope to raise a lot of money for some very good causes.
Smithdown Road Festival runs from 29th April to 1st May and is an entirely free non-profit community run festival.