This will be my 3rd trip to Butlins Great British Alternative Music Festival.  Click the links to read about my experiences at Skegness October 2018 and Minehead March 2019 to give you some idea of why I keep going back!

By far, the most common comments I get from people when I mention Butlins are references to a certain 80s sitcom set in the 50s.  At the risk of repeating myself, it no more reflects modern day Butlins than “Are you being served?” reflects today’s John Lewis (shame really, Grace Bros looked a lot more fun than JL!)  In any case the music weekends simply use the resorts facilities in winter, which means you get comfy bed, good quality hot sit-down meals, great bands, excellent sound and lighting, and no need to worry about mud or the elements – the perfect festival!

In these 3 part previews I’d like to look at some of the big-name attractions as well as taking a closer look at some of the introducing stage bands who may or may not be less familiar.

I’ve been really impressed by all the introducing stage bands I’ve seen so far, if you think nobody is making decent music any more, think again!  A festival is a great way to discover bands, as you can watch them for a bit, and do something else if they don’t grab you, or stay to the end of the set and buy their merch if they do!

The Stranglers

If Punk/Alternative is your thing, then The Stranglers don’t need any introduction!  Arguably one of the biggest names on this year’s bill.

When they played Glastonbury a few years back, me and my mate were like “well, it’s not really The Stranglers without Hugh Cornwell” but we went along anyway and were pleasantly surprised.

According to Wikipedia (so it must be right!) Hugh Cornwell was with them for 16 years from 1974 – 1990 whilst Baz Warne has been lead singer since 2000, currently 19 years – 3 years longer than Hugh.

Here’s a relatively recent clip of them live – they are still a force to be reckoned with I reckon!


999 formed in London in December 1976, and lead singer Nick Cash (wonder if he’s mates with Rob da Bank? 🙂 ) and his brother Guy Days has been a constant ever since.

Apparently when they placed an ad in Melody Maker for band members, some of those rejected included Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Jon Moss (Culture Club) and Tony James (Generation X).

They put on a superb show in Minehead back in March, so I’m looking fwd to seeing their set at Skegness.

999 Photo by John W. King / Live Music Pix

Here’s a fairly recent video of them performing one of their biggest hits “Homicide”

Bad Manners

Festivals are all about having fun, a break from reality, a chance to have a drink, a dance and a laugh, so a fun loving ska band are just the ticket!

They were superb at Skegness last year, so are bound to be a highlight once again.

Bad Manners Photo – John W. King / Live Music Pix

Here’s a video of them live from 2014

Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies

Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies Photos – John W. King / Live Music Pix

Something of a legend here in Liverpool, Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies never fail to put a smile on your face!  With clever, witty lyrics and fab tunes it’s no wonder they won the daily Introducing stage vote to play the main stage this year.

The White Ribbons

The first band to catch my eye on the Introducing Stage, The White Ribbons are named after the campaign to end violence towards women. Great cause, and on the strength of this tune I’m looking forward to hearing more of them.

Spunk Volcano and the Eruptions

They’ll never get on Saturday morning kids telly with a name like that, then again they no longer have Saturday morning kids telly, so not a problem!

Heard great things about them, so I reckon the Introducing stage won’t know what’s hit it when they are on!

Tokyo Taboo

Liking the sound of this one a lot, from their facebook page “The duo comprise of singer Dolly Daggerz and guitarist Mike, who are joined by a band for their live shows. Dolly takes inspiration from iconic performers from Heart to David Bowie and Karen O and Mike simply loves a good riff. Tokyo Taboo is a perfect amalgamation of Dolly and Mike’s influences; inspired by Manga, Japanese culture, drag and 80s fashion, they are true performers, with an image that equals the intense vibrancy of what you hear on record.”.


Can’t beat a bit of hardcore punk!

Here’s the full lineup:

Get your tickets now before they sell out, here!

Look out for part 2 of my preview, next month.