Macmillan Fest Preview: Including Videos of Our Top Picks


Words By Sophie Maughan

As we hit September, our beloved festival season sadly draws to a close – usually along with what little bloody summer we’ve had along the way. And if gigs are your game and you’re as rabid for live music as we are here at Front, we may have just the solution to fill that gaping hole in your soul.

Yes, get ready to throw those horns and beers aloft because Macmillan Fest is returning to Nottingham on Saturday 2 September. Now in its eighth year, some of the city’s most revered (and infamous) music venues will once again play host to over 69 of the UK’s most talented artists spanning the entire alt, rock and metal spectrum.

There were no stage times available at the time of going to print, so unfortunately we can’t promise there won’t be any pesky clashes. We can however, share some humble and honest recommendations on what bands deserve to be seen / thrashed around to / weep hopelessly like a fanboy or girl to (*delete as appropriate) on the day. Let’s get into it.

The Treatment – Rescue Rooms

The Cambridge five-piece have the enviable task of headlining the Fireball Whisky stage this year, but with high-profile slots supporting the likes of Status Quo and Scorpions already under their studded belts, these rock ‘n’ rollers are certain to bring the night to a riotous climax.

Wearing Scars – Rescue Rooms

A supergroup of sorts boasting ex-members of Mutiny Within and Sacred Mother Tongue; if soaring vocals and heaving syncopated grooves whip you up into a glorious lather then we urge you to secure a place front and centre for these dudes.

Borders – Rescue Rooms


These rising tech-metallers have been melting faces across the festival and gig circuit over the past 12 months tearing up stages alongside the likes of Martyr Defiled and Heritage. Anthemic choruses and filth-laden breakdowns accompanied with a blistering live presence all make for a guaranteed neck-snapper of a set.

Hacktivist – Rock City Basement

Fresh from a ferocious outing at this year’s UK Tech-Metal Fest and poised to join nu-metal behemoths Korn for a two-date run at Brixton Academy, you would be criminally insane to miss grime-djents Hacktivist headlining slot. Brace yourselves for plenty of spit (the rhyming kind that is) and swagger courtesy of vocalists Jot Maxi and J Hurley and the rest of this Milton Keynes wrecking crew. Be warned – they’re likely to reduce the place to rubble.

Napoleon – Rock City Basement

Let’s be honest. What isn’t there to love about a band that terms their signature sound as “melodiposipassiongroove”? Exeter’s Napoleon set the bar for modern hardcore / metalcore pretty bloody high with last album Newborn Mind which harnessed as much emotion as it did shred. We are expecting huge things from this lot in the very near future – as well as a few new cuts dropping during their set.

Our Hollow, Our Home – Rock City Basement

Hartsick was just one of those effortless debut albums that managed to strike the perfect balance between searing melodies and wanton brutality. So, its zero surprise that we’re chomping at the bit to witness these Southmapton metalcorers hit the stage running.

Bury The Traitor – Rock City Basement

Derby quintet Bury The Traitor have been delighting and simultaneously battering eardrums since the release of EP Anchored back in 2016, and made it to the 2017 finals of Bloodstock Festival’s much lauded Metal 2 The Masses this past June. Bring your appetites along with you – because pummelling grooves and low-end grit are on the menu and this lot are serving it up.

Skies In Motion – TotalRock Stage @ Red Rooms

With debut album Life Lessons set to drop the day before Macmillan Fest, local lads Skies In Motion couldn’t possibly need any more incentive to deliver a red-hot performance right on their doorstep.  Expect pits and passion in abundance – this one will undoubtedly provide an ideal warm up opportunity ahead of a UK & European run supporting Aussie deathcore dynamos In Hearts Wake this October.

The Parallax Method – TotalRock Stage @ Red Rooms

Fusing genres as disparate as prog and old-school classic rock only makes these madcap instrumentalists all the more contagious. And trust us, they’re even better live and in dazzling technicolour.

As December Falls – Stealth Stage

Rock ‘n’ pop has never sounded so outrageously loud and proud, but this is Nottingham’s As December Falls that we’re referring to here. Taking cues from the likes of PVRIS and Fall Out Boy, this four-piece are the perfect choice for those seeking a sound that’s more unbridled fun than fury-ridden.

Anti-Clone – Spanky Van Dykes Stage (18+)

This Nu-Apocalyptic metal crew look most likely to secure the “Most Batshit Band of Macmillan” award, but the five-piece will grab you by the scruff and fascinate you with their visceral mix of vicious guitars and nightmarish vocals.

Witch Tripper – Spanky Van Dykes Stage (18+)

Turn in, tune in and cop out with Mansfield trio Witch Tripper who will take you on a sonic trip filled with sludgy grooves and fuzz-heavy melodies.

Liberty Lies – Tap ‘N’ Tumbler Nottingham TNT Stage

It still beggars belief how these West Midlands alt-rockers have remained unsigned, but Shaun Richards et al have never failed to command a stage. You can be sure to expect a set brimming with colossal singalong choruses and riffs packing more meat than your local butcher’s window.

And on top of it all, Help for Cancer Charities

Incredible bands aside, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to support local artists whilst raising money and awareness for an incredible charity, who are always there for people who are often at their lowest, or even worse having to cope alone. It’s likely that many of you reading this have been affected in some way by cancer. Every day 17 people in Notinghamshire  alone hear the devastating news they have it, and eight people will die from this cruel and unforgiving illness. This will see the county’s population of people living with cancer nearly double between 2010 and 2030. It’s a cause that’s incredibly close to the heart of organiser / director of IKE Productions Kris Davis, who discovered that his school tutor had been diagnosed with a brain tumour whilst in class:


“I broke down. I  found out that Macmillan was supporting him and I wanted to raise some money to help continue the work that they do. Since then I have met thousands of people who come to our event to show their support for the charity all with their own personal experiences. Its people coming together that makes you realise how we are all affected and that nobody should face cancer alone.”


Front certainly know where we will be headed on September 2. We’ll see you down the ahem, front.


For more information about the event:


View the crews head shave pre festival here:



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