‘It’s a release. A chance to scream, sing, shout, jump, push, pogo’

I have just fallen over. Dust is kicking up in my face. Feet trample all around me. The previous cacophonous sound that filled my ears, is now muffled and muted. I plant my hands in the dirt and push my body upwards. A stranger's hands wrap under my arms and hoist me back to my feet. I catch my breath as the world fills again with the sound of guitar, bass, drums and angry, angsty vocals. This won’t be the last time I fall over today. I love this.
In the mosh pitIn the mosh pit
In the mosh pit

I have been attending punk gigs for 30 years now. From tiny, underground local scene shows in the mid 90s to arena shows and festivals attended by thousands. And although this once small scene is now as mainstream as they come it still retains its scrappy, underground vibe and community.

No matter what size the show I go to it has the same effect on me. They are my people. A counter culture that growing up in a small town in Northern Ireland showed me a bigger world existed outside of the stifling narrative of the Province at this time.

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It’s a release. A chance to scream, sing, shout, jump, push, pogo, in a supportive and caring environment. The music may be fast and aggressive, so too might the audience, but we look out for each other. “If you see a friend fall down, pick them back up” is the instruction from the stage during almost every show.

And it challenges you. We are questioning authority and supporting the underdog. We are pleading for equal rights and fairness for all. We are controversial and shocking and inclusive and enlightening. In and among the madness of the shows we are being asked to think about the wider world.

But most of all it’s still fun. The pre-gig excitement and nervous energy is as strong now as it was 30 years ago. I’m 42 now. Married, a dad of two, demanding job, asthmatic, occasional bad back issues, and tired 24 hours a day, but this never fails to inject some much needed energy into me. As you push towards the front of the show, senses fill with the smell of beer, cigarettes, old fusty band T-shirts, and sweat. The noise crescendos and the pound of the bass fills your chest. And a smile spreads across my face. This is what I love. This is my passion.



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