There will be no end of thrills, spills and probably a few shocks at the Culture Shocks, Punk Rock Festival at Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th of March. The festival features eleven great bands over the two days and a ticket can be yours for an inflation busting €40. You wouldn’t get a bus ticket to any other festival for that. The event is organised by the RCC in association with Rebellious Jukebox who have been keeping the punk flame alive in Donegal for decades. It is supported by the Arts Council’s Late Night Events initiative and Donegal County Council.
Friday 8th March
Belfast’s punk scene has long been a crucible for rebellious musical expression, and Friday night’s gig features three bands that are iconic representatives of the city’s punk ethos.
The Outcasts, pioneers of the Belfast punk movement in the late 1970s, are known for their raw energy and rebellious spirit. Formed in 1977 by the Cowan brothers and Colin “Getty” Getgood, The Outcasts were originally signed with Terry Hooley’s infamous Good Vibrations record label. Former RCC manager Shaun Hannigan tells the story of trying to book the Outcasts for a gig at the Mount Errigal Hotel in 1979 and their manager Terry Hooley advising against it as they were ‘too dangerous!”
Shame Academy, formed by Brian Young, formerly of Rudi, hails from the same era, bringing a melodic yet edgy sound to the stage. With hits like “Big Time” and “Crimson,” they showcase the diversity within Belfast’s punk evolution. Rudi were the first band to kick start the punk movement in Belfast in the 1970s and their early history and songs feature heavily in the film Good Vibrations, which tells the story of Terri Hooley, Good Vibrations record shop/label and punk in Belfast.
The Defects Formed in 1978, The Defects quickly gained a reputation for their high-energy performances and socially conscious lyrics that reflected the harsh realities of their surroundings, and they have continued to unleash their blistering punk sound to this day, making them a force to be reckoned with on the punk circuit.
Saturday 9th March
Saturday night goes one better with four live acts. It includes Limerick’s wonderfully named 50 Foot Woman, two Dublin bands, The Nilz and Paranoid Visions and the headliner is probably the biggest name of the weekend, the veteran UK punk outfit 999.
999 are an iconic act on the London punk scene, they rose to fame during punk’s first major explosion in 1977 and are one of the most important bands to come out of that era. The current 999 line-up that will play at the RCC, includes original members Nick Cash and Guy Days, Arturo Bassick (The Lurkers) and Stuart Meadows. Interestingly, before forming 999, Nick Cash was once a member of pub rock band Kilburn & The High Roads, whose lead singer Ian Dury has famously strong Donegal connections.
Paranoid Visions Formed in 1981, Paranoid Visions has continued to be at the forefront of independent and DIY music culture in Ireland. The Dublin-based punk band, stands as an enduring icon in the rich tapestry of Ireland’s punk rock scene. Known for their fiercely independent spirit, Paranoid Visions has consistently challenged the status quo with their abrasive yet melodic sound.
The Nilz were formed in Dublin in 2015 and consists of members of infamous punk bands Mongohorn & Septic Pussy. They quickly garnered a reputation for themselves due to their raucous live shows.
50 Foot Woman are a young emerging Limerick punk band. Fusing post and anarcho punk, 50 Foot Woman is, without a doubt, one to watch for the future.
In addition to the two main RCC gigs the festival also has a free afternoon matinee show on Saturday 9th March at The Central Bar, Letterkenny, featuring local punk favourites Dogmandu, celtic folk punk from The Poxmen, Belfast’s Crackhead Control and punk rock duo Hectic Bins and featuring record stalls & distros. Other events including the ‘Downtown Dancer’ archive exhibition, film screenings, talks and late-night DJ sets will take place over the weekend.
Rebellious Jukebox collective have been running gigs, festivals, exhibitions and other events in Donegal since 2007. The ethos of the collective is to create DIY events where local, national and international bands and artists can play pure, stripped down, no bullshit rock ‘n’ roll! Linchpins of the collective, Mary Faughnan & Oisin Roarty were the driving force behind the memorable Drumacanoo Punx Picnics in Churchill in 2008 & 2009 which featured almost 80 bands including The Beat, Sleaford Mods, Abrasive Wheels and Paranoid Visions over four stages..
In 2013, they curated a community exhibition & art project called ‘Downtown Dancers’ which consisted of videos, posters, tickets and photos from the alternative music scene in Letterkenny and Donegal from the 1970’s onwards. Some of this project will feature as part of the Culture Shocks Punk weekend along with many new items and memorabilia from personal collections, and archive unseen footage of Drumacanoo Punx Picnic. Please get in touch if you have anything you’d like to submit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now Rebellious Jukebox is back with a new festival in conjunction with the Regional Cultural Centre. So mark your calendars and prepare to dive into the heart of punk culture at Culture Shocks. Whether you’re a punk rock veteran or a curious newcomer, join us on the 8th and 9th of March for an unforgettable weekend of music, mayhem, and the unbridled energy that defines punk rock culture.
This project has been supported by The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Late-Night Events Pilot Programme).