Macmillan Fest Nottingham

Featuring: Bleed From Within, Cabin Boy Jumped Ship, The Safety Fire, Violet

It was no surprise to see the alternative music fans of Nottingham out in force to support the fifth edition of Macmillan Fest, considering the outstanding line-up and support of an incredibly worthy cause offered by the event. Walking into the courtyard between Rescue Rooms and Stealth, it’s clear to see that everyone is in a pretty chipper mood, with good weather beating down on the variety of welcoming merch stalls and food outlets in sight.

Opening my day in the Rescue Rooms on the main stage were Cabin Boy Jumped Ship, a band who spare no prisoners through their endless onslaught of electronic induced breakdowns. They manage to break the ice in an emphatic fashion, demonstrating their intense, intricate instrumental work and crushing vocals. It’s not like I’ve not heard bands like them before, but to be fair, they do it pretty damn well. 7/10.

Cabin Boy Jumped Ship

Cabin Boy Jumped Ship 

Over at Spanky Van Dykes, Path To Prevail do their best to entertain a handful of fans with their no nonsense brutality and powerful vocal work. Despite their lack of originality, the band deliver a strong performance and gradually gain a worthy audience. There’s potential for these ones, but unless they find a captivating quality about them, they may find themselves pushing against the ceiling for longer than they’d like to. 6/10.

A quick visit to the acoustic bar at Rescue Rooms is greeted by the familiar face of Arthur Walwin (formerly of Paige) who delivers a stunning solo performance. Alone with just an acoustic guitar and his awe inspiring vocal quality, the room is held in a gentle lull to remind us that one man and his guitar can be just as impressive as any punishing breakdown. 8/10.

Back over at Spanky Van Dykes, Shields deliver one of the performances of the festival. Their emphatic quality can’t be faulted as the band put themselves into a league of their own. As they dominate the stage, it’s evidently clear that their online presence is well deserved, as their ability to range between crushing riffs and breakdowns to infectious choruses fuelled by soaring, pitch perfect clean vocals is immaculate. In particular, recent single “I Just Feel Hate” can’t be topped; incredible. 9/10.

My first visit to Stealth during the festival marks a very good first impression, as Lock and Key unleash pure fury upon the busy venue. It’s clear that this bands short time on this earth has been well received, as the buzz around the place is unmistakable. Their performance offers undeniable quality and demonstrates the passion behind their art, as the likes of ‘No Acceptance’ and the rather personal “So Alone” deliver classic quality. There’s few bands who hold as much potential as this one for the future, and the scary thing is, they’re only just getting started. 9/10.

Back over to Rescue Rooms main stage and yet another outstanding performance is added to the day in the form of Continents, a band who I have been longing to see perform live. Luckily, my expectations are smashed out the window, as the band set themselves apart from every performance today. Their delivery remains tight as you can get for the entirety of their performance, with a stage presence that you would expect from a headliner. Their endless energy on-stage and furious breakdowns never cease to amaze as the band are virtually sweating blood for their craft. Their live show is without a doubt a true spectacle. 9/10

Following Continents’ monstrous display, the main room is surprisingly empty for The Safety Fire, which is fairly confusing considering the quality of their performance. Their blend of soaring cleans, highly technical guitar work and sub drop induced breakdowns should be greeted by a full room, but the band still perform with genuine intent despite this. Their atmospheric, apocalyptic and progressive qualities still manage to shine through though as I leave feeling re-energised after yet another outstanding display for the day. 8/10.

The Safety Fire

The Safety Fire 

In order to witness both headliners for the Rescue Rooms and Stealth, I had to move between the stages to witness Bleed From Within and Violet to draw my day to a close. Greeted by an expectant crowd, Violet deliver a worthy headline performance at Stealth through their pulsating rhythm and atmospheric vocal quality. Their fusion of angelic high notes and darker elements offers a distinct twist compared to many of today’s bands, offering some much needed diversity to the line-up. Whilst their display doesn’t set my world on fire, it’s a performance that leaves me longing for their upcoming release, with single ‘The Lust’ shining as a sign that this band are currently producing their best work. The future’s bright, the future’s violet. 8/10.



Bleed From Within show that their headliner status is well deserved as an eerie entrance spawns a captivating presence for the band’s entrance to screams from their army of supporters. It seems that the majority of the festival goers are here for this band, and rightly so, as their perfectly tight, crushing display transforms the venue into a chaotic battleground. Their enormous sound coincides with the blood curdling vocals of front man Scott Kennedy, whose screams would belittle Satan himself. Their display draws the day to a close in style, as the band prove themselves as more than worthy headliners. 9/10.

Bleed From Within
Bleed From Within 

Macmillan Fest was an inspiring day for everyone involved, with the triumphant success of the day being down to a combination of emphatic performances from the bands, a stunning atmosphere and seamless organisation, whilst supporting such an important cause. I can speak on behalf of everyone in attendance when I say “bring on next year!”.


Words by George Fullerton
Contributions by Daniel Mynors-Wallis
Many thanks for the photos taken and supplied by Ash of Ideal Film

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