Former Broken Hill local Shane Stenhouse and his Convict Class bandmates will be flying to the UK next year, having been confirmed to play Rebellion Festival in Blackpool from August 1-4.
The Warrnambool-based punk rock band, who played a gig in Broken Hill earlier this year, applied to be on the lineup for the 2023 edition of what’s dubbed the UK’s largest independent music festival. Unfortunately, the band would just miss out on a coveted slot.
Seeking feedback from the festival organiser to find out what the band was lacking or how they could do better, a month ago, Mr Stenhouse got the eagerly anticipated message asking if they wanted to play.
The thought of playing on the ‘introducing stage’, dedicated to emerging bands from around the world, was more than enough for the four-piece. However, when the official poster came out, it was even better than the band had hoped.
“We’re playing with the big boys which was really, really pleasing [to see]. We were rapt!”, Mr Stenhouse told the Barrier Truth.
“This is the epitome of punk rock. We were as shocked as anyone we got a chance this year but we’re over the moon on the same token. Not in a million years would we have thought we’d be doing what we’re doing.
“For us, it was a big tick to be acknowledged. Our music does stand up with the big boys and we can hold our own.”
Flying the flag for Australia, along with Sydney-based punk rockers, Rust, Mr Stenhouse knows the band’s fanbase is strong in other corners of the world– including the UK – and will be hoping to take advantage of the entire trip by forming meaningful connections and playing additional shows.
“It’s still a pinch myself moment. You go to these things and never in a million-years dream you’ll be playing at it,” he says.
“The flow-on effect is hopefully we can make some good connections with some of those [other] bands and potentially bring them out to Australia at some point and they get to experience it as well. There are some real good benefits not just for us but for everyone.”
Having attended last year’s festival himself, Mr Stenhouse says there are many Australians who travel to experience the event, informing us many within the Silver City have indicated they would be supporting the band by heading to the UK too.
“When you see a 70-year-old punk with a mohawk and walking on his walking frame, going into the festival, it’s quite an eye-opener!”, he says.
“Because it’s all-ages, you’ll see new teenagers that are into punk rock, and then you’ll see your original punk rockers from the late 70s who are in their 70s now, getting along and still enjoying the music and being part of a bigger family, which is great.”
Throughout the next 10 months leading up to the festival, the band will be busy. Looking to record a new seven-inch single in December to releasing their first full LP ready to take overseas, the band won’t be slowing down, keeping the momentum even when returning home with plans for a national tour.
“It’s going to be a great experience; I can’t wait to do it. It’s so exciting,” he said.
“We’ve had so much support from fellow Aussie punk bands wishing us well, and bands I met over in the UK are really stoked for us to come over. It sounds corny and like a throwaway comment, but we are one big family and we do support each other.
“Hopefully we can represent Australia well and get an opportunity to go back again in the future.”