Top Bands to Watch at Wilkestock Festival 2017

When it is: 1st-3rd September, 2017

Where it is: Stevenage 

For fans of: indie rock, post punk, DIY rock‘n’roll, & the underground rock scene

blackwaters one

A three-day long charity festival held in Hertfordshire, Wilkestock may be one of the most underrated festivals happening this summer, yet definitely one of the most exciting. The lineup so far is blinding, and the variety of bands playing is electric. Just two announcements in, Juicebox owner Luke Hinton has already booked some of the most exciting raucous rock bands in the UK, from well known famous bands to underground smaller ones. The festival works in association with Juicebox Live and The Horn, who are well known in the local area for booking the sickest, most intense exciting new bands. Tickets are only £65 for the entire weekend, and here are your top bands (of those announced so far) to watch at the festival.

Carl Barât and The Jackals

For any fans of post punk and indie rock, The Libertines are one of those quintessential bands, easily one of the best bands to have emerged from the UK underground rock scene in the noughties. The Jackals is the side project of vocalist Carl; rough, raw, gritty rock is what you get with this band. They have a very careless DIY post punk nature and gravely attitude on stage. Carl’s voice is stunning too, very deep and rough with just a touch of edgy gravel to his tone, and as a band, their sheer rock brilliance is blinding.

Top tracks: Glory Days & Victory Gin

Carl Barat and the Jackals, November 2014
Carl Barat and The Jackals


Yak are a really messy, weird force on stage, with a very abrasive confidence and unique power. Their sound is a lot heavier live than on record, with really raw distorted effects used on the guitar and Oliver’s vocal. The band supported The Last Shadow Puppets on tour last year and have a whole host of festival slots coming up this summer; definitely a band to catch live, Yak are one of those brilliantly intense, gritty post punk bands you need to witness on stage. Alternative thrashing rock at its best.

Top tracks: Alas Salvation & Victorious 

October Drift

Definitely one of the best bands I’ve seen live, October Drift literally define the word heavy. Their music is blunt and harsh, full of this authentic punk rock aggression. Frontman Kiran has a really deep dark vocal and the heavy riffs backing him up are filthy raw and loud. They use heavy distorted guitar effects to build up the thrashing messy sound of the band, and this gives them a very uncompromising and unorthodox edge. This frantic punk force they have live really draws you in as an audience, and they deliver everything you could want from a punk band.

Top tracks: Cinnamon Girl & Cherry Red

october drift
October Drift 


MONO 01 are a really great upcoming rock band, one who have been heavily supported by Juicebox and The Horn. The four piece take on classic indie rock with post-punk/ garage influences, and have a really bold solid sound live. The band have been together for a couple years, and now have a new guitarist who lead vocalist Nathan described as ‘keeping with Oasis and The Libertines,’ whose influence you can never really go wrong with, right? MONO 01 create these wonderfully heavy raw riffs, and just give you that edgy rock brilliance in the most effortless, natural way. For such a small band, their EP is outstanding too and Wilkestock will be a well deserved opportunity for the band to showcase this talent.

Top tracks: The Narcissist & Girl on The Other Side of Town

Concrete Caverns

Concrete Caverns are one of my favourite local bands; not only are they literally the loveliest guys, but their music is absolutely mad. Their sound is essentially ‘Britrock,’ with influences of indie rock and post punk to their music. Their riffs are ridiculously catchy and so well written too, with Jenny being a faultless track. They take influences from bands like Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines, but have a very personalised unique sound which sets them apart from a lot of the local bands. The band are an immense force live too, with a brilliantly vibrant energy on stage. Their riffs are played to perfection live, and they always manage to pack out the venues they play and receive a brilliant reaction from the audience.

Top Tracks: Jenny & That’s Why

Concrete Caverns


Full of this crazy energy and fresh punk vibrancy, Black Waters are a hectic indie punk band from Guildford. Their music is raw and chaotic, and they really are one of the best live bands I’ve seen. I’ve caught the band live twice now, and the energy and passion they have on stage is blinding. They have a shit load of fun, and this is backed up by the cocky abrasive attitude from lead vocalist Max which just adds to the raucous rigour and punk authenticity of their music. They remind me a lot of young 70s punk bands, but have a much more exciting youthful edge to them. This bluntness and hardcore ‘no shit’ approach gives BlackWaters an incredible punk bite, and they really embody what DIY indie punk is. Also, the chorus to Fuck Yeah is incredible done live.

Top tracks: So Far Out & Let The Good Times Roll


Shaking up what modern day British alt-rock is, Vant are one of the bands leading a resurgence in gritty rock music. They write lyrics and riffs to perfection, with a lot of their tracks very abrasive social and political commentaries which give them an interesting and engaging bite. Their riffs are unreal, full of blurred distortions and packed with heavy mosh-pit worth energy. The group have a blinding grunge aura to them, and it really is soul shaking. Bold lyrics and harsh vitriolic guitar is what makes Vant the immense force that they are, and having seen them live twice now it’s safe to say their shows this summer will be absolutely killer.

Top tracks: Karma Seeker & Parking Lot


The Wholls

The Wholls have backing from This Feeling, Jack Daniels, and a whole host of huge festivals this year, and the reason behind that is clear; they are fucking immense. My mate and I caught them at Reading 2016 on the BBC Introducing stage and they were honestly one of my highlights from the entire weekend. They have a really brilliant raw rock sound to them, and the grit and rough punk infused gravel to Arturo’s voice is incredible. They’re an explosive force of attitude and energy, and the raw indie grit they have is undeniable. When playing live, you can expect mosh pits, energetic dancing and just a burst of messy raucous fun from these four lads.

Top tracks: Angry Faces & X21


Definitely the most intriguing uniquely captivating band I’ve seen live this year, 485C are a raw, artsy indie band. They take influences from post punk and 80s indie pop music, as well as artistic subculture movements and traditional guitar rock music. Adam’s voice is really raw and bold, and reminiscent of vocalists like Ian Curtis. The band have an incredibly atmospheric aura, and really are captivating live. With up to four guitarists playing at the same time on certain tracks, their music has a brilliantly heavy deep sound, which is meticulously played to perfection live. I’ve seen the band three times this year already, and am yet to see a less than perfect performance from them.

Top tracks: American Walls & In My Cell 


As you can see, the festival is packed full of the best upcoming rock bands in the UK- I already know a few of the unannounced bands playing too and can honestly say the entire lineup will be killer. You don’t wanna miss out on this; you can buy tickets for Wilkestock here

Read my Part 2 here

Listen to my Ultimate Wilkestock Fest 2017 playlist below:

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