Local punks, Setting Off Sirens are getting ready to play their biggest gig yet after landing a spot on this year's Rebellion festival in Blackpool.
Rebellion takes place in the Winter Gardens will host 240 bands over four days and six stages. Billed as the biggest alternative and independent festival in the world, Rebellion is the highlight in the calendar for thousands of punks and bands alike and it is notoriously difficult to get the gig.
"I could've dropped when I got the call," says lead singer, Kevin Mc Hugh, "We had been in the running for a while but had almost written it off, the deadline was so close. Late last year, our label FOAD Musick found out the organisers were going to be in Dublin for the weekend so we organised a showcase gig in the hope we'd be considered. We met them afterwards, gave them our album and the whole speel but it was just too late as the bands had all been confirmed. They put us on the subs list which meant if anyone pulled out we were up but no such luck unfortunately.
"When applications opened this year we did the whole bit - promo CD, bio, sales pitch, the works but they get hundreds of bands a day looking for a spot so what it really comes down to is recommendations from more established artists. Thankfully we had some good people fighting our corner. We've made a lot of friends over the years by putting on gigs in Enniskillen, welcoming bands from Ireland, England, Scotland, Europe and USA and also from hitting the road ourselves and meeting people along the way. We must have earned a lot of karma points I suppose because some of those very people are responsible for helping us get a place on the bill." When Kevin put the phone down, he did not even have time to start ringing round the rest of the band to tell them the good news before it was announced on facebook. "Within seconds of me officially accepting I saw that the news was out. We couldn't believe the amount of goodwill there was towards us and how much positive feedback we received. You never realise when you've got your heads down writing, recording, playing and driving round the country at ridiculous hours of the night that you pick up friends and fans and they really do have your back when something like this comes along. Our part of the bargain, as always, is to give it welly when the four-count comes in and that's exactly what we'll do in Blackpool." Rebellion headliners this year are Rancid, Public Image Ltd, Social Distortion and the Buzzcocks.
The festival runs from August 2 to 5 and Setting Off Sirens can be found on the New Band Stage on the Thursday at 2.40pm.